Eight Parts of Speech for ESL Learners

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Words are used to form patterns of English grammar and syntax. Each word falls into one of eight categories referred to as parts of speech. Certain words have further categorization such as: adverbs of frequency: always, sometimes, often, etc. or determiners: this, that, these, those . However, the basic categorization of words in English fall into these eight categories.

Here are the eight commonly recognized parts of speech. Each category has four examples with each part of speech highlighted to help you learn how these words function in sentences. 

The Eight Parts of Speech Noun

A word which is a person, place, thing or idea. Nouns can be countable or uncountable.

Mount Everest, book, horse, strength

Peter Anderson climbed Mount Everest last year.
I bought a book at the store.
Have you ever ridden a horse
How much strength do you have?


A word that is used to take the place of a noun. There are a number of pronouns such as subject pronouns, object pronouns, possessive and demonstrative pronouns.

I, they, she, us

I went to school in New York.
They live in that house.
She drives a fast car.
She told us to hurry up. 


A word that is used to describe a noun or pronoun. There are various types of adjectives which can be studied in more depth on the adjective page. Adjectives come before the nouns which they describe. 

difficult, purple, French, tall

It was a very difficult test.
He drives a purple sports car.
French food is very tasty.
That tall man is very funny. 


A word that indicates an action, being or state or being. There are different types of verbs including modal verbs, helping verbs, active verbs, phrasal verbs, and passive verbs. 

play, run, think, study

I usually play tennis on Saturday.
How fast can you run?
He thinks about her every day.
You should study English. 


A word that is used to describe a verb which tells how, where, or when something is done. Adverbs of frequency come before the verbs they modify. Other adverbs come at the end of a sentence.

carefully, often, slowly, usually

He did his homework very carefully.
Tom often goes out to dinner.
Be careful and drive slowly.
I usually get up at six o'clock.


A word that is used to join words or groups of words. Conjunctions are used to connect two sentences into one more complex sentence.

and, or, because, although

He wants one tomato and one potato.
You can take the red one or the blue one.
She's learning English because she wants to move to Canada.
Although the test was difficult, Peter got an A.


A word used indicating the relationship between a noun or pronoun to another word. There are numerous prepositions in English used in a variety of manners.

in, between, from, along

The sandwich is in the bag.
I sit between Peter and Jerry.
He comes from Japan.
She drove along the street. 


A single word used to express strong emotion.

Wow! Ah! Oh! No!

Wow! That test was easy.
Ah! Now I understand.
Oh! I didn't know you wanted to come.
No! You can't go to the party next week.

Parts of Speech Quiz

Test your understanding with this short quiz. Choose the correct part of speech for the words in italics.

  1. Jennifer got up early and went to school.
  2. Peter bought him a present for his birthday.
  3. I don't understand anything! Oh! Now, I understand!
  4. Do you drive a sports car?
  5. Please put the book on the table over there.
  6. She often visits her friends in Texas. 
  7. I want to go to the party, but I have to work until ten o'clock.
  8. That's a beautiful city.

Quiz Answers

  1. school - noun
  2. him - pronoun
  3. oh! - interjection
  4. drive - verb
  5. on - preposition
  6. often - adverb
  7. but - conjunction
  8. beautiful - adjective

Once you've studied the eight parts of speech you can test your understanding with these two parts of speech quizzes: