Verbal Wednesday: Let’s Learn the Parts of Speech

One of the key skills that we aim for children to develop is their Verbal Reasoning. Good communication – both verbal and written – is essential to excel in life and maintain clarity in our everyday dealings with other people. In order to have good Verbal Reasoning Skills, one must have a good grasp of the language they are dealing with. English, being the lingua franca of the modern world, must be mastered. A good grasp of English Grammar and sentence structure will help one identify the exact meaning of a sentence and use words in the correct manner as intended.

To start with, let’s take a look at the building blocks of every statement. The various Parts of Speech are basically groups of words which behave in a certain manner or perform a specific function. Certain words can be used as multiple parts of speech. Knowing the form in which they are used helps in determining the correct contextual meaning of the word. Currently, we will look at the following 9 parts of speech and what they mean:

1. Noun
Words which are Names of people (Arjun/Jennifer/Priya), Place (Mumbai/Spain/Great Wall of China), Animal (Dog/Cat/Elephant), Thing (Necklace/Tie/Pen) or represent an Idea or concept (Yash’s drawing/Ankita’s poem) are nouns. They often form the subject and object in a sentence. They are the simplest element in speech and take multiple forms – singular/plural, proper/common noun, concrete/abstract, possessive, etc.
Example: Riya is riding a bicycleHere, Riya – the name of a person and Bicycle – a thing, are both nouns.

2. Pronoun
Pronouns are words which are used in place of a noun. I, He, She, It, His, Her, They, Them are all types of pronouns.
Example: Riya is riding a bicycle. She loves cycling. Here, ‘She’ is being used to replace ‘Riya’ in the second sentence and is the pronoun.

3. Adjective
Also called ‘Describing Words’, these are words that describe a noun or pronoun and offer more information about it. Adjectives can specify the quality, the size, and the number of nouns or pronouns. Often ‘a/an/the’ are also used as adjectives when denoting the quantity of an object.
Example: Riya is riding a pretty cycle. Here, pretty describes the cycle and acts as an adjective.

4. Verb
Also called the ‘Action Words’, verbs are the most important part of speech. They denote an act being performed – physical or mental – or the state of being of the subject. Verbs can be of various types – Main verb or Helping verb. They must agree with the subject in number.
1. Riya rides pretty cycles. 
Here, Rides – the action that Riya is performing, is the main verb.
2. Riya is riding a pretty cycle. Here, ‘is rising’ refers to the action being performed and forms the verb. ‘Riding’ is the main verb and ‘Is’ the helping verb.

5. Adverb
Adverb = Ad + Verb = Adding information to a verb.
Just like adjectives give extra information and modify a noun or pronoun, the adverbs give information about the verb. They usually refer to the when, where, how, why, under what conditions, or to what degree. Adverbs often end in -ly. They are of various types depending on the question they refer to. 
Example: Riya rides her bicycle regularly. Here, Regularly describes how often or when the action of ‘riding’ is performed.

6. Prepositions
At the most basic, prepositions tell you the ‘Position’ of something in terms of physical position or position in time. They usually precede a noun or a pronoun. Some commonly used prepositions are – In, At, On, Of, Under, Above, etc.
Example: Riya rides her bicycle on the street. Here, ‘on’ is the preposition which is demonstrating the relative position of the bicycle. Where is the bicycle? On the road.

7. Conjunction
Also called the “Joining Words”, conjunctions are found between clauses. They connect clauses or sentences together showing a relationship between them. These relationships can be in the form of cause-and-effect, a contrast, a complimentary statement, etc. They are found as standalone words or a pair of coordinating words. Words like And and But are standalone conjunctions while Not Only…But Also, Neither…Nor, Either…Or are coordinating conjunctions which are used together to link the various parts of the sentence to each other.
Example: Riya not only cycles but also swims. Here, ‘Not only…but also’ is the conjunction which is linking two separate thoughts – Riya’s ability to cycle and her ability to swim together in one sentence.

8. Interjection
An interjection is a word which is used to convey a strong feeling or emotion. These words express emotions such as surprise, shock, disgust, excitement, enthusiasm and others. They are not grammatically related to the other parts of the sentence but they add emphasis to the tone and emotion which has to be shared. They are not very important parts of a sentence and can be ignored in written communication; however, they are used in oral communication frequently.
Example: Hurray! Riya has won the competition. Here, hurray is the interjection adding the emotion of excitement to the statement.

9. Determiners
A determiner, also called determinative, is a word, phrase, or affix that is placed in front of a noun or noun phrase to explain what that noun refers to. A determiner modifies a noun. Through determiners, we know what specific item is being referred to, its quantity, and state of possession.  Articles – a, an, the – are the most common types of determiners. We also use words such as this, that, these, those, all, each, my, our, etc as determiners. 
Example: This cycle belongs to Riya. Here, this is used to refer to a particular, specific cycle and share that it belongs to Riya.

These are the 9 important parts of speech which we use in almost every statement! We will share detailed information about each of the 9 parts of speech in our future posts. Let us know if you would like any practise exercises! 

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