Published: Nov 28, 2023 | By: Lucas Weaver
Are you struggling to understand English grammar? Finding it hard to create proper sentences or communicate your more advanced ideas clearly and easily?
One of the most important building blocks for unlocking fluent communication in English is learning the parts of speech.
We often gloss over the parts of speech in school, not realizing how essential they are as English language skills.
But understanding nouns, verbs, adjectives, and more, forms the foundation for everything from sentence structure to punctuation to writing style.
In this blog post, I’ll cover what exactly the parts of speech are, why you need to learn them to master English, common challenges English learners face, and how my online course can help fill in any gaps in your knowledge.
The main parts of speech in English are:
People, places, things, and ideas. For example: teacher, Miami, pencil, education. Comprised of proper nouns and common nouns. Nouns can also be used in a noun phrase which can serve as the subject of a sentence.
Words used in place of nouns. For example: she, we, them. These can be either a personal pronoun, possessive pronoun, reflexive pronoun, indefinite pronoun, or relative pronoun.
Action words, linking words, and auxiliary verbs (helping verbs). For example: run, speak, read, is.
Words that describe or modify nouns. For example: tall, boring, expensive.
Words that describe verbs, adjectives or other adverbs. Some examples of an adverb are: quickly, very, politely.
Words that link nouns to other words in a sentence. For example: on, by, with, into. Commonly used in a prepositional phrase. A preposition is commonly known as "anywhere a rabbit can go."
Words that join phrases, clauses, and sentences together. For example: and, but, so, because. These are broken down into coordinating conjunctions, correlative conjunctions, subordinating conjunctions, and others.
Short exclamations to express emotion. For example: ouch, wow, uh-oh.
These building blocks allow us to construct sentences and communicate complete ideas. Without them, we would just have disorganized words and sounds with no meaning.
Each part of speech plays a specific role. Once you understand the role of every word in a sentence, you can use grammar correctly, avoid mistakes, and understand how ideas fit together.
Learning the parts of speech also unlocks more advanced grammar and writing concepts.
For instance, as we move into a little bit more advanced English lessons about sentence structure, we will start to discuss the different types of sentences, like complex sentences, simple sentences, and compound sentences.
We'll also discuss how to identify the direct object and indirect object of a sentence. Then we'll talk about the difference between an independent clause and a dependent clause.
You'll also need to know the difference between a main verb and a helping verb when we learn things like English word order.
This might all seem like boring grammar topics now, but learning all of these building blocks will make your life so much easier when you try to speak and write fluently in English.
The order words appear in a sentence depends on their part of speech. Knowing if a word is a noun, verb, adjective, etc. allows you to structure sentences properly.
For example, English sentences often follow a subject-verb-object order. The subject is usually a noun or pronoun, the verb is an action word, and the object receives the action. Parts of speech tell you which words play those roles.
Using the right sentence structure makes your writing clear, coherent, and easy to understand.
Punctuation like periods, commas, and semicolons belong in certain places around parts of speech.
For instance, commas go between items in a list of adjectives. Periods indicate the end of a sentence containing a subject and predicate. Knowing parts of speech guides you to use punctuation correctly.
Proper punctuation makes writing flow smoothly and conveys ideas clearly.
Relying too much on one part of speech makes writing boring. Overusing nouns and verbs leads to a repetitive, unsophisticated style.
Varying your parts of speech adds flavor to your writing. Well-placed adjectives and adverbs add vivid description. A strategically used interjection can grab the reader’s attention.
Understanding parts of speech unlocks your ability to craft more engaging prose.
When reading, identifying the role each word plays as a part of speech helps you analyze the text critically.
Seeing how the author uses nouns, verbs, adjectives, and other parts of speech provides deeper insight into the meaning. It allows you to discern subtleties and patterns that create a richer reading experience.
In short, parts of speech provide the essential nuts and bolts of language. Mastering them is key to improving English skills. Keep reading to learn about common challenges and how my course can help.
Here are some common problems English learners often have with parts of speech:
Some parts of speech are easily mixed up, like adjectives and adverbs. For example, learners often struggle to know when to use "quick" or "quickly." Using the wrong one changes the sentence's meaning.
Without knowing parts of speech, it's easy to use grammar the wrong way and make sentences sound awkward. You might use adjectives instead of adverbs, or put verbs in the wrong form, or mix up prepositions. This grammar confusion makes writing hard to understand.
Understanding how parts of speech connect in a sentence can be tricky. If you don't know the role each one plays, it's hard to make sentences that flow well. Knowing definitions isn't enough - you need to see how nouns, verbs, and adjectives fit together.
Many grammar rules for parts of speech must be memorized. It's not intuitive for learners when to use "a" or "an" based on the next word's sound. Or why verbs change form for third-person. Or irregular plural nouns. Learning these quirks takes repetition.
Even when you know parts of speech, some errors keep happening in speech and writing. Each language has tricky spots. Spanish speakers may mess up verb tenses, while Chinese speakers mix up prepositions. These mistakes continue until noticed and fixed.
These problems can hide your bigger ideas. That's why truly understanding parts of speech is so important for clear English communication.
Studies in language acquisition and learning show the importance of understanding the parts of speech.
For example, a 2016 study published in the Journal of Writing Research looked at writing samples from both native English speakers and English language learners (Crossley & McNamara, 2016).
The researchers found that ELL students often lacked grammatical cohesion in their writing compared to native speakers.
Their essays tended to jump around randomly between ideas without proper transitions.
The authors concluded from the study that understanding how the parts of speech work together in a sentence is key to improving overall cohesion and writing quality.
Their instruction focused specifically on how conjunctions and transition words can help English learners properly connect ideas and write more smoothly flowing texts.
This study clearly shows the value of really understanding the parts of speech for English learners.
A deeper knowledge, not just of definitions and rules, but of how parts of speech function together to create coherent and readable sentences is a huge benefit when you want to speak and write fluent English.
Learning a new language involves developing new connections in the brain. At first, it takes a lot of effort for English learners to understand and use grammar properly.
Parts of speech like nouns, verbs, and adjectives provide an easy framework to organize words and sentences. With practice, these categories become automatic patterns the brain can access more smoothly.
For example, recognizing “book” as a noun quickly tells the brain it needs a verb to make a sentence. This basic knowledge allows the brain to search through the category of verbs when looking for a word, which then frees up energy for more complex writing tasks.
In this way, mastering the fundamentals of parts of speech makes using English more fluent and natural. The brain can rely on these building blocks to comprehend and communicate ideas better.
When you start to express longer and more advanced ideas in your writing, your brain will be able to think in patterns. Rather than just staring at a blank page, it can think in terms of subjects, verbs, and objects, rather than creating from scratch over and over.
These patterns help the brain create more easily with less effort.
So learning parts of speech helps create stronger pathways in the brain for understanding English. They provide beginner scaffolds that, with time, support fluency and confidence using the language.
My online English course about the parts of speech breaks down parts of speech into bite-sized lessons so you can master English grammar. Here’s what the course provides:
Video lessons with explanations on each part of speech: I explain the role of each one and how to use them properly.
Plenty of relevant examples: You’ll see parts of speech used in different sentences and scenarios that are relevant to your real life so you can understand them more easily.
Purposefully designed exercises and quizzes: I’ve personally designed a “Guided Practice” and a “Free Practice” exercise at the end of the lesson to help you actually absorb and learn the information.
It’s one thing to just watch a video lesson in a course. It’s another thing to actually process the information so you can use it later. That’s what these exercises do.
End of lesson quiz: After you’ve completed both of the practice exercises, you’ll take a quiz to make sure you’ve mastered all the information before moving on to the next lesson. The goal is always for you to actually learn the information, not just see it once in a video.
The course curriculum is designed to help both intermediate and advanced English learners fill in any gaps in their grammar knowledge.
By the end, you’ll have a solid grasp of English parts of speech and the confidence to speak and write accurately.
Parts of speech are the building blocks that allow us to use language. Without them, we can’t construct proper sentences or communicate ideas effectively.
If you feel unsure about parts of speech, it will hold back your English abilities. Use my course to master nouns, verbs, adjectives, and more, unlocking the door to writing, reading, and speaking English confidently.
Check out the course today and take your grammar knowledge to the next level.
Lucas Weaver founded The Weaver School in 2016. He's passionate about using the latest learnings in neuroscience and education to create the best language learning experience possible for our students, so they can quickly build effective language learning habits that will last for years. Lucas is a graduate of Texas A&M University and after 7 years of living in the Netherlands, he is currently traveling through Southeast Asia while learning their languages along the way.