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Building Blocks of Language: The Eight Parts of Speech
Building Blocks of Language: The Eight Parts of Speech

Building Blocks of Language: The Eight Parts of Speech

Author: Nancy Heilman

This learning packet will...

  • explain what the term "parts of speech" means
  • give a brief description of what each is and how each functions (there are eight)
  • explain why it is helpful to be able to identify parts of speech

If you find yourself confused about what "PARTS OF SPEECH" means, this packet will help to make the English/grammer term clearer in your mind.  In addition, you will walk away with a basic knowledge of each of the eight parts of speech.

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What Does "PARTS OF SPEECH" Mean?

PARTS OF SPEECH simply refers to all words in the English language and how they can be grouped into eight different categories, depending upon their function.  So, each word that a person comes across can be placed into one of the eight groups.  Without parts of speech, there would be no sentences and no language.  That is why parts of speech are called the BUILDING BLOCKS OF LANGUAGE!

Source: Nancy Heilman

Parts of Speech Rap/Rhyme!

This is a fun and catchy parts of speech one-minute rhyme with correlating movements! Made by Gail Weinhold's English 9 class at Hopkins West Jr. High in Minnesota.

Source: YouTube

Description and Function of Each Part of Speech

Brief explanations, as well as examples, are given for each of the eight PARTS OF SPEECH.

Source: Nancy Heilman

Why is it Helpful to be Able to Identify PARTS OF SPEECH?

1. It is always helpful to be able to place items in categories in order to MAKE SENSE OF WHAT YOU ARE STUDYING. 

We place foods in categories (fruits, vegetables, grains, etc.).  We place sports in categories (individual or team sports, contact or non-contact sports, etc.).  We place subject matter in categories (math, science, language arts, etc.).  In fact, almost anything you come upon belongs in a category.  That's how we humans make sense of our world!  Language is no different.  Words need to be placed into categories so they are less random and more purposeful.  Like items go together.


2. Being able to place words into their parts of speech helps you to BECOME A BETTER READER.

Readers who want to fully understand what they are reading need to have some grasp of the different words they come upon.  For example, let's imagine that a person learned a second language - French.  If he was at the point of being able to read simple sentences or short paragraphs in his second language, yet did not know the meaning or purpose/function of any of the words he was reading, it could be a disaster.  He would not know how to raise or lower his voice (inflection), when to pause, or how to get through the material.  It would be a blind reading act of some random words.  While the meaning of the words would be key, the parts of speech that the words were would be important, too.  Again, that is why PARTS OF SPEECH are often referred to as the BUILDING BLOCKS OF LANGUAGE.


3. Being able to place words into their parts of speech helps you to BECOME A BETTER WRITER.

A person who is a good reader (for their age or grade level) will generally be primed to be a better writer, partly because reading gives learners exposure to a wide variety of both vocabulary and sentence structure.  Case in point: If as a writer I am trying to tell my readers HOW I walked into a room, and I know that "cautiously" is an adverb, I might then be able to choose another adverb, such as "carefully" or "watchfully," in my written description.  Having a general knowledge of PARTS OF SPEECH definitely ties into being able to locate synonyms (or antonyms) for words as a writer.

In a recent online blog/discussion about whether or not it is important to know parts of speech, one participant remarked, "Knowing how English grammar worked help me improve my writing, not to mention my ability to pick out errors in what others have written."


4. Being able to place words into their parts of speech helps when LEARNING A FOREIGN LANGUAGE.

In this same blog/discussion group, a responder stated the following:

"Just the analysis skills involved make it (learning parts of speech) worthwhile, not to mention provide great help in learning a second language -- I have yet to come across material for second language learning that does not, at the higher levels, emphasize grammar."

It is a fact that when learning a second language, the level of knowledge of one's first language has a direct effect on how well the second language is absorbed.  Much of this has to do with knowledge of the structure and grammar of one's first language.


Source: Nancy Heilman

Finding the Parts of Speech Activity


Answers to Find the Parts of Speech Activity