What we call the “Parts of Speech” can often be confusing and overlooked. I struggled as a child because I could not, for the life of me, remember them all and what they were for. For the most part, I just didn’t care. I mean really, the Parts of Speech are pretty boring. Kudos to whoever gets butterflies when they see a noun, but for the rest of us lesser mortals, here is a list with descriptions for each one:
Noun: describes a person, place, or thing.
EXAMPLES: unicorn, inmate, bonzai, poison, ghoul, Barak Obama, Egpyt, hamburger, onion rings, submarine, Hell, serial killer, whale, volcano, spider, light bulb, key, raindrop.
Pronouns: words that replace nouns to make writing and speaking from sounding too ridiculous. For instance, you could say, “Johnny went to church, but johnny forgot johnny’s pants.” By adding pronouns, that sentence sounds a hundred times better. “Johnny went to church, but he forgot his pants.” The best way to remember pronouns is by noticing that it has the words “noun” in it. Now that you know it has something to do with nouns, it’s easy to recall that pronouns simply replace nouns.
EXAMPLES: I, me, he, she, it, they, you, them, his, hers, theirs, its, my, your, we, us.
Verbs: words that show action, or WHAT is being done in a sentence.
EXAMPLES: spitting, throwing, vomiting, catching, bombing, sneezing, itching, praying, ordering me a pizza (just kidding…. but really), sweating, blogging, mining, pms-ing, gaming, painting, smoking, mating.
Adverbs: describe HOW the action is being done. For example, one might say “Regan vomits violently on the exorcist.” In this case, “violently” acts as the adverb because it describes the manner in which she is vomiting. Adverbs usually end in “ly,” making them easy to recognize.
EXAMPLES: angrily, happily, maniacally, spontaneously, joyously, tastefully, colorfully, recently.
Adjectives: words that describe the actual noun.
EXAMPLES: smelly, blue, fluffy, piratey, orange, expensive, beautiful, intelligent, holy, tiny, scrawny, wood, metal, ghostly.
Prepositions: these words link other parts of the sentence together, often showing relationships. Some teachers describe it as “anything a rabbit can do to a box.”
EXAMPLES: through, for, against, without, around, out, by, in, with, after, from, to, on, behind, before, near, over, under.
Conjunctions: link two parts of a sentence, or clauses, together.
EXAMPLES: and, but, or, since, when, while, because, though, that, until, although, whether, yet, unless, neither, nor, now.
Interjections: these can be words or phrases that express emotion, but do not necessarily have grammatical relevancy to the sentence. For instance, if one was to say, “Brr! This nuclear winter is very cold!” the interjection would be “brr.”
EXAMPLES: dear God, oh Lord, brrr, yay, wow, yuck, aha, alas, oh dear, oh well, oops, ouch, shh, thanks, yikes, yo, gee whiz, golly, damn, jinkies.
You’re probably thinking, “well, this is interesting, but what do I do with it?” It sometimes feels like having a solid knowledge of the eight Parts of Speech has little use outside of an English classroom. In reality, it can be one of the most powerful tools in a writers toolbox. One can turn boring, unimportant sentences into beautiful works of literary art.