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Nouns, Verbs, Adjectives, Adverbs, and Pronouns

Nouns, Verbs, Adjectives, Adverbs, and Pronouns

Author: Gavin McCall

This lesson teaches parts of speech, specifically nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, and pronouns.

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Welcome to English Composition. I'm Gavin McCall. Thanks for joining me.

What are we going to learn today? Today we'll be learning about parts of speech. These are the different jobs that words do in a sentence. We'll be looking at five different parts of speech-- nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, and pronouns. It may seem basic, but learning to use and recognize the parts of speech correctly is an important basis for learning to use and recognize more complicated aspects of grammar. These are the building blocks with which everything else is made. So let's begin.

The first parts of speech we'll focus on are nouns. Nouns are words that define a person, place, thing, or idea. They are critical to sentence construction, because not only are they often the central focus of the sentence, they're the subject and often the object of actions or verbs. There are two kinds of nouns, proper and improper. For example, a house is a common or improper noun, while the White House is a proper noun. And as such, it's always capitalized when written.

Next we'll look at verbs, which are words that define actions or indicate the state of being. They provide sentences with not only actions, but purpose. After all, it's impossible to make a statement about a thing, a noun, without saying something about it, an action or a state of being. For example, a house can sit or it can burn down, but just saying "the house" doesn't say anything.

Most verbs have both subjects and objects, people, places, or things performing actions, and having actions performed on them. The boy kicked the ball, for example. And remember that in English, verbs must match the subject, the actor to which they're connected. This is referred to as subject-verb agreement. When combined with at least a subject, verbs can create basic sentences.

The other parts of speech are, while not extraneous, at least a little less critical than verbs and nouns. Adjectives come next. These parts of speech are describing words. They modify nouns or describe their qualities. With adjectives, sentences can grow more complex, specific, and informative, as well as subjective or opinionated, as in, "The fat boy kicked the red ball," or "The old house is still standing."

Similar to, but a little more complicated to use than adjectives, are adverbs. Adverbs are words that modify other words, usually a verb or adjective. They frequently and in L-Y, as in beautifully. Like adjectives, adverbs allow us to develop more complicated sentences by describing the qualities of verbs and adjectives.

For example, "The boy kicked the ball angrily," or "The very old house burned down." Adverbs are useful, but when overused, they can slow down a text, as adverbs are generally considered to be telling language rather than showing language. So use them sparingly.

The last part of speech we'll look at are pronouns. These are words that take place of nouns in sentences. We use them primarily for convenience.

It's easier, for example, to say, "He kicked the ball," instead of "The boy kicked the ball," provided we all know which boy the pronoun refers to. Keep in mind that just like nouns, when pronouns are the subject of a verb, the verb must agree with it. Hence "He kick the ball," is incorrect, but "He kicks the ball," is fine.

Now let's look at a couple sentences. Make sure we can identify the nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, and pronouns that make them up. First, look at this sentence. I'll give you a minute, but can you spot the noun? There's one verb, see it? How about adjectives? And are there any adverbs or pronouns? Not here, but then, it's a pretty simple sentence. So let's look at another.

Where are the nouns here? And the verbs? There are two, right? And are there any adjectives? Not this time. But how but adverbs? See any? And finally, we've got a pronoun here, right, standing in for "the boy."

So what did we learn today? We learned about the basic parts of speech-- nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, and pronouns. We learned what they do and how to recognize them. Thanks for joining me. I'm Gavin McCall.

Terms to Know

A describing word.


A word that modifies another word, most commonly a verb or adjective; frequently end in “-ly” as in “beautifully.”


A word that defines a person, place, thing, or idea.


A word that takes the place of noun in a sentence.


A word that defines actions or indicates a state of being.