Online College Courses for Credit

Parts of speech

Parts of speech

Author: Kathy Hanley
  1. Explain what parts of speech are.

  2. Explain what nouns are and how they usually function in a sentence (e.g. as subject or object)

  3. Explain what verbs are and how they usually function in a sentence (e.g. subject-verb agreement)

  4. Explain what adjectives are and where they are usually found in a sentence.

  5. Explain what adverbs are.

  6. Explain what conjunctions are and how they function in a sentence.

This packet should help a learner seeking to understand English grammar and who is confused about the different parts of speech. It will also explain why it is helpful to be able to identify parts of speech.

See More
Fast, Free College Credit

Developing Effective Teams

Let's Ride
*No strings attached. This college course is 100% free and is worth 1 semester credit.

47 Sophia partners guarantee credit transfer.

299 Institutions have accepted or given pre-approval for credit transfer.

* The American Council on Education's College Credit Recommendation Service (ACE Credit®) has evaluated and recommended college credit for 33 of Sophia’s online courses. Many different colleges and universities consider ACE CREDIT recommendations in determining the applicability to their course and degree programs.



A noun is a person, place or thing.  Nouns can be a person's name, a city or country, or any other place.  Nouns are also things.  If you think about it, we give things names all the time, for example, car, house, school, summer. 

In sentences nouns act as subjects or objects. 

As a subject, the noun performs the action of a verb.  In the sentence below, Alyssa is the subject.

                       Alyssa kicked the ball. 

As an object, the noun receives the action of the verb.  In the sentence above, ball is the direct object.


A prounoun is another kind of noun.  We use pronouns to take the place of names.

Pronouns that take the names of subjects include: he, she, we, they, and it.

Pronouns that take the names of objects include: him, her, us, them, and it.


Source: Kathleen Hanley


This song may help you identify what a noun is.


There are 2 kinds of verbs.

Active verbs are words that describe movement or action.  Walk, run, talk, fight, shop are some examples.

State of being verbs are words that show existence.  They are also are sometimes called linking verbs.  Verbs of being include: am, is, are was, were, seem, and appear.

In the sentence below, grabbed, ran, and entered are the active verbs.

Ryan grabbed his books, ran down the hall, and entered the classroom.

In the sentence below, seem is the state of being verb.

You seem unhappy with your purchase.

Source: Kathleen Hanley

Subject and Verb Agreement

Source: Kathleen Hanley


Adjectives are words that describe nouns and pronouns.  Adjectives tell us what someone looks like or what color a flower is or what ice cream tastes like. 

Adjectives only describe nouns and pronouns. 

They answer the questions:

  • Which one?
  • What kind?
  • How many?

Some examples include:  pretty, soft, loud, many, few, harsh, and cold.

In sentences, adjectives will be found before or after nouns.  They also follow verbs of being.



My favorite cuddly sweater is blue and white and is very warm.


Source: Kathleen Hanley


Adverbs are words that describe verbs, adjectives,  or other adverbs.  Adverbs often end in -ly.

Adverbs answer the questions:

  • Where?
  • When?
  • Why?
  • To what extent?
  • How often?

Some adverbs:  frequently, never, often, very, hardly, near, far.

 In sentences, adverbs can be found before and after verbs, adjectives, and other adverbs.


My teacher rarely gives us homework, but we work really hard in math class.


Conjunctions defined and illustrated