StyleManual:Parts of Speech By Ana Ramirez



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Chapter 1: Parts of speech











What is a noun? A noun is a person, a place, a thing, or an idea. It's any word used to refer to anything that falls into one of those categories.

Some examples are:

  • Names (Tom, Betty, Phil)
  • Animals (bugs, insects, praying mantis, ladybug, today, etc.)
  • Concepts (time, dreams, idealism, corruption)

You can usually tell if a word is a noun because they're usually used with an article or a pronoun, but we'll get into more detail with those later.

Types of Nouns:

Proper nouns are used to refer to one specific thing or item, and the first letter is always capitalized.

"Yesterday, I saw a moth at the park." vs. "Yesterday, I saw a moth at the Yosemite National Park."

Other Type of examples include:

  • Names of people or other entities (Jim, Phil, Coco)
  • Names of organizations or companies (Apple, Walmart, Samsung)
  • Buildings of organizations, monuments and memorials (Library of Congress, Washington Monument, The Guggenheim Museum)
  • Cities, counties, geographical locations, and nationality (New York, Mexico, Yosemite, Russian)
  • Months, days of the week, and holidays (April, Tuesday, Halloween)
  • Historical events and time periods (Great Depression, War World II, The Industrial Revolution)
  • Titles of books and names of important documents or text (The Constitution, Harry Potter, Hammurabi's Code)
  • Brand Names and titles (Ford, Mona Lisa, Vanns)
  • Etc.

Common nouns refer to an item in general, not to one specific thing; it's the opposite of a proper noun.

  • Ex: library vs. Library of Congress
  • museum vs. Guggenheim Museum
  • cell phone vs. iPhone 6

Compound nouns are two words put together to make a noun. These nouns are sometimes connected together, separated by a hyphen, or appear as to separate words

  • Ex: lady + bug = ladybug
  • rhino + beetle = rhino beetle
  • fire + flies = fireflies
  • check + in = check-in

Types of Nouns CON't:

Singular nouns refer to when there's only one of that thing; it's the opposite of a plural noun.

Plural nouns refer to nouns when there are more than one. These nouns usually have a "s" added to the end of them to indicate that they're plural.

  • Ex: bug vs. bugs
  • moth vs. moths
  • bird vs. birds

It's important to note that when you use plural nouns, you need to makes sure other part of the sentence agree.

  • The moth is a nocturnal creature.
  • Moths are a group of insects that are related to butterflies.

Collective nouns are singular nouns that refer to a group of something. The word itself is singular, but it refers to a multitude of it.

Words such as: colony, swarm, army, group, team, pair, and so on are examples of collective nouns.


What are pronouns? Pronouns are words or phrases that can replace other words, so you don't have to keep repeating the same word over again and again, making our speech less repetitive.

Type of Pronouns:

Personal pronouns are used to represent a specific person or thing They're used to tell who or what, the gender of the speaker or item, and the number of the items or people.

  • 1st person pronouns are I, me, my, mine, we, us our, and ours. They describe the 1st person perspective.
  • 2nd person pronouns are you, your, and yours. They're pronouns that describe the 2nd person perspective.
  • 3rd person pronouns are he, his, him, she, her, hers, they, them, their, theirs, it, its, who, whom, and whose. They describe the 3rd person perspective.

Indefinite pronouns are used to refer to non-specific noun. These are words like anyone, any, either, neither, some, someone, nobody, all, both, several, and so on.

Objective pronouns, or object pronouns, are when pronouns take the place of the object of a sentence. The object of a sentence is word that receives the action of the verb.

  • For example, in the sentence "I caught the ball.", ball would be the object of the sentence because it's the thing that being caught, so it's receiving the action of the verb.
  • An object pronoun replaces the object of the sentence, so it would be "I caught it."

Subjective pronouns, or subject pronouns, are when pronouns take the place of the subject of a sentence. The subject of a sentence is what the sentence is talking about.

  • For example, "the dog ran.", the word "dog" is the subject of the sentence because the sentence is about the dog running.
  • A subject pronoun would be if you replaced that subject with a pronoun. So, "The dog ran." would be "It ran."

Reflective pronouns describe the word before it. Instead of being placed before the word, it's place after it. These are words such as myself, yourself, itself, ourselves, her, him, and so on.

  • The spider couldn't escape the slippery tub by itself.

Relative pronouns are used to refer to a noun that was previously mentioned and can be used to connect sentences together. These are words like that, who, which, whom, whomever, and so on.

  • The ladybug that landed on my hand left a funny yellow liquid.
  • The spider, which was poisonous, bit my friend.


What is a verb? A verb describes an action or state of being and is a necessary part to having a complete sentence.

Types of VERbs:

Action Verbs can describe either a physical action or a mental action.

  • A physical action would be something you can actually, physical do. Run, jump, and touch are examples of physical action.
  • Mental actions are things you can do, but are not physical actions. Think, know, and believe are examples of this.

State of being verbs, or linking verbs, described existing conditions or states. They're not really actions because they don't describe performance, but "being".

  • So, "I am cold." would be an example of how a linking verb is used. The word, "am" doesn't describe an action, but the state of being cold.

Helping verbs give addition meaning to the main verb, usually to create a negative or a question. Some common examples are do, have, and be.

  • The beetle is crawling away from the tree.

Subject agreement:

Verbs need to agree, or match, with their subject. So that means, if the subject is plural, the verb needs to be in its plural form.

  • When it rains, the beetle hides under the patio chair.

So if we want the make the subject, the beetle, plural, then the verb would change from hides to hid.

  • When it rains, the beatles hid under the patio chair.

Verb Tense:

There are several different tense: past, present, past perfect, present progressive.

Past tense is used to refer to a event or action that has already occurred.

  • "Yesterday, I stepped on an ant."

Present tense refers or describes an event or action that is currently happening.

  • "I step on ants because they are tiny."

Perfect past tense also refers to a event or action that has already occurred, but it uses a helping verb.

  • "I had stepped on an ant, which made me feel sad."

Present progressive tense refers or describes an event or action that is currently happening but also with helping verbs.

  • "I am stepping an ant."

Verbs can be made negative by adding not after the verb.

"I do not step on ants."


What are Adjectives? Adjectives describe or modify another word, usually nouns or pronouns. They give additional information about a noun.

Words such as: small, little, light, breezy, tiny, red, and so on are all examples of adjectives.

Type of Adjectives:

Demonstrative adjectives are used to show specific nouns. These, those, this, and that are examples of these kind of adjectives.

Coordinate adjectives are multiple adjectives that describe the same word and are separated by either a comma or the word "and".

  • For example, "As I left my house, I realized it was such a bright, sunny day."

Both "bright" and "sunny" are describing the word, "day", so they are coordinating adjectives.

Interrogative adjectives modify nouns to form a question about that item. There are three interrogative adjectives, which, whose, and what.

Indefinite adjectives are used to describe to non-specific objects. They're words such as any, many, few, and several.


What's an adverb? Adverbs are used to describe verbs, adjectives, or another adverb. These words usually end with a "-ly", but not always. Adverbs tell when, how, where, in what way, and to what extent.

I promptly left room infested with spiders.

The butterfly had really beautiful blue wings.

The caterpillar moved quite slowly.


What is a preposition? Prepositions are used to connect other words together and describe location, time, and place. By themselves, they don't have any particular meaning as a word. They're used to make the relationship between words clearer and are followed by a noun.

  • Upon entering the shower, I encountered a spider in the bathtub.

In tells us the placement of the spider in relation to the bathtub.

  • After promptly removing the spider from the tub, I placed it inside a cup.

These are words such as: in, on, before, after, of, above, with, down, up, through and so on.


What is a conjunction? Conjunctions are words that connects parts of a sentence. There are three main types of conjunctions, adverbial, coordinating and subordinating.


Coordinating Conjunctions connect two independent clauses together. A independent clause is a complete thought and sentence that can stand on its own. This will be discussed in more detail later.

  • The spider wanted to live in my room, but it didn't want to pay rent.

For, and, but, nor, or, yet, so, are all coordinating conjunctions. A good way to remember them is knowing the acronym, FANBOYS: For, And, Nor, But, Or, Yet, So.

Subordinating Conjunctions introduce a dependent clause and connect it to the independent clause. A dependent clause is the opposite of an independent clause. It's not a complete thought and cannot stand on its own, which, again, will be discussed later on in more detail.

Some common examples of theses are: after, as, though, even if, unless, how, and so on.

  • Though the spider was persistent, it could not convince me to let it stay.

Adverbial Conjunction is when two independent clause are connected together by an adverb. These are words such as additionally, further, next, henceforth, thus, moreover, equally, and so on.

  • The spider can't stay in my room; however, it can live outside on the patio.


What's an interjection? An interjection is a word that's an exclamation. It's used to show an expression of some kind of emotion. An interjection has no grammatical meaning or connection to a sentence and often end with an exclamation mark.

Interjections are words such as oh, ah, alas, dear, hey, ouch, eh, and so on. They're more common in speech than in writing.

Ouch! A mosquito bite me.

Huh? There's a spider where?


What are articles? Articles are a type of adjective that describes a noun as being specific or general (indefinite or definite) and are placed before the noun. There are two articles, "a/an" and "the".

"The" is used to describe definite, or specific, nouns and refers a specific item. It can describe either plural or singular nouns.

  • On the way home from school, I stopped at the bakery across the street.

The way refers to a specific way or set path to go home, compared to a way home, which could be any path or set of directions to get home. The same applies to the bakery.

"A/an" is used to describe indefinite, or general, nouns and refers to a non-specific item. It usually used when we don't know anything about the object.

  • On the way home from school, a dog approached me.

A dog refer to any dog, compared to the neighbor's dog or another specific dog.


Created with images by Sharon Mollerus - "Beatle" • amslerPIX - "Black Rhino" • siamesepuppy - "Ladybugs" • Oldiefan - "animal insect honey bee" • aldenchadwick - "Bee 1" • audreyjm529 - "Ladybug" • Pezibear - "ladybug small beetle" • Black_Claw - "Baby Bush Criket" • Ben124. - "Butterfly" • ElinaElena - "ladybug flight beetle" • MoNyKa - "dragonfly wing nature close" • pdbreen - "Luna Moth" • macle - "Grasshopper" • miniformat65 - "spider network nature" • spakattacks - "Cacoon" • Chrisbkes - "Butterfly" • DerSilent - "ladybug coccinellidae insect" • zdenet - "colorado potato beetle pest beetle" • A.Davey - "Living Jewel" • tanakawho - "A green beetle" • hasheem5 - "praying mantis insect green" • Dan Zen - "Caterpillar" • Frank Boston - "Roll E Pole E" • Soorelis - "butterfly insect colorful" • brenkee - "mushroom ladybug ladybird" • edbuscher - "spider rain web"

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