8 Parts of Speech for ESL Learners
You might have heard that learning grammar rules is a hard part of learning English as a second language. We beg to differ! While the rules of English grammar might be confusing at times, they are absolutely critical for understanding and learning the language. We are English language experts here at Excel, so if you run into any difficulties you’ll always have someone on your side to patiently help you along! Remember, practice makes perfect. Keep working at it, and soon you won’t even have to think about it any longer!
The most basic part of grammar in the English language is learning the parts of speech. Do you know all the eight parts of speech? Let’s take a walk down memory lane and see how much you remember from elementary school. You may remember some parts of speech from a song in school as a child or even Sesame Street. If this is the first time you’re hearing about the eight parts of speech, here’s our introduction for you!
First is the noun. I remember the phrase “person, place, or thing” repeated over and over by my grade school teacher. The noun is the easiest to identify and does most of the work in a sentence. It either comes before the verb as a subject or after the verb as an object.
Nouns can be regular in the plural form like apple/apples, nurse/nurses, and mother/mothers or irregular like goose/geese, tooth/teeth, and fish/fish.
Nouns can be common like books or abstract like love, laughter, fear.
Second, is the pronoun. Pronouns are used in the place of a noun and can be “I, you, he, she, it, they, we” as subjects or “me, you, him, her, it, them, us” as objects. Pronouns can be reflexive such as “myself, yourself, herself, etc.” or possessive like “my, your, her, etc.”
Relative pronouns are used with dependent clauses such as “which, that, what, whom, who” and demonstrative pronouns such as “this, that, these, those,” taking the place of a previously named noun.
For example, “The books which I read in college were better than those I read in elementary school.”
The third part of speech is the verb. Without it, the noun can’t do anything. Verbs must agree with the nouns they follow.
A singular noun like apple needs a singular verb. “An apple tastes good.”
However, a plural noun needs a plural verb. “Apples taste good.”
To make things even more complicated, English has a myriad of irregular verbs that change in spelling from the present to the past tense. Examples include: go/went, eat/ate/, lose/lost.
Four is the adjective. You can’t paint an accurate picture with words without adjectives. For example, “The beautiful, calm lake looked serene against the orange and yellow clear sky.”
Adjectives describe nouns with details about the size, color, quality, age, the material of nouns. Try telling a story without this part of speech, and the story will be dull and boring (which are also adjectives!)
If adjectives describe nouns, the fifth part of speech, adverbs, describe how things happen. Adverbs describe the manner with which verbs behave. They usually end in “ly” and answer the question of how something happened. “She sang the song slowly and clearly.”
Number six is prepositions. This word looks like the word position… Prepositions put nouns and pronouns in a place. For example, “The book is on the shelf in the corner of the room.”
The seventh part of speech is conjunctions. I remember the Sesame Street song “conjunction junction, what’s your function?” Coordinating conjunctions link phrases and clauses. These include for, and, nor, but, or, yet, and so.
Subordinating conjunctions join independent and dependent clauses. For example, “I went to the store to buy milk and eggs because I wanted to bake a cake.”
The final part of speech is interjections. Interjections show mood or feelings. “Wow!” “Great!” “Oh, man!” are ways we add feeling or expression to something that was said.
“Phew!” That was not easy.
These are the eight parts of speech. If they are new or unfamiliar to you, work on memorizing these! The eight parts of speech form the foundation of the English language. When you are reading, try to identify a few of the words in the article or book. You’ll get the hang of it in no time!
If you haven’t enrolled in our English Intensive Program yet, what are you waiting for? You’ll learn more than just the parts of speech…we’ll work on reading, speaking, writing, and more. Apply online today or give us a call!