Noun = a person (author), a place (ocean), thing (toy), or idea (war)
- How can you tell it’s a noun? If you can use the words a, an, or the in front of the word and it sounds right, it’s being used as a noun.
- It’s a proper noun if it names the person (Rick Riordan), place (Pacific Ocean), thing (Play Dough) or idea (Civil War). In these cases, the noun must be capitalized. Usually the a/an/the trick doesn’t work with proper nouns.
- It’s a common noun if it doesn’t name the person (guy), place (ocean), thing (toy) or idea (war). In that case, it’s not capitalized.
- Collective nouns are usually one word that doesn’t end with an S, but they indicate a collection of stuff. For example, you might have a bunch of Play Dough. Bunch is a collective noun.
- Plural nouns are simply more than one. For example, there are seven oceans. Because you’re talking about more than one, the word oceans is plural.
Verb = an action word
- How can you tell it’s a verb? Try putting an –ing on the end of it. If you can, it’s probably a verb. For example, “to swim” is a verb, because you can go “swimming.”
- Some verbs can also be nouns at the same time. For example, you caught the fish when you went fishing. So “fish” is both a noun and a verb, depending on how you use it in a sentence.
- Helping verbs add meaning to other verbs. Some common helping verbs are “to be” and “to have”. Here’s how they can be used as helping verbs: I have been fishing with Scott Martin. The words “have” and “been” are helping the word “fishing”. Other helping verbs include must, can, is, are, were, was, might, and should.
Adjective = a word that describes a noun
- How can you tell it’s an adjective? If it’s an adjective, it helps you add details to the person, place, thing, or idea in your mind.
- Some examples are in bold here: funny author, wet ocean, sticky Play Dough, bloody war. Do you see how these words (funny, wet, sticky, and bloody) help you imagine the nouns better? That’s what adjectives do. They help you imagine details about nouns.
- Be careful, sometimes we use other nouns to describe nouns too, like The author with the gray hair has sloppy handwriting. In this sentence gray and sloppy are adjectives, but hair is a noun because it’s a thing, like toy is a thing in the noun example. Nouns can often be held in your hand, but adjectives can’t. You can’t hold a gray or sloppy, but you can hold hair.
Adverb = a word that describes a verb; it describes how you do something
- How can you tell it’s an adverb? A lot of adverbs end in the suffix –ly. Some examples are lazily, wisely, courageously, obnoxiously, and slowly.
- It’s possible to turn a lot of adjectives into adverbs by simply adding –ly. For example, the adjective busy becomes the adverb busily; the adjective interesting becomes interestingly, but this doesn’t always work. There’s no word favoritely, for example, but favorite is a good adjective to describe an author.
- Some adverbs don’t end in –ly. These ones are tricky to spot, but ask yourself, “Does this word explain how something is done?” For example, how did she walk through the door? She walked through it backwards. If that answers how, then backwards is an adverb.
Conjunction = a connecting word; it glues stuff together
- Common conjunctions include the following: and, but, or, nor, for, yet, so, since, because. There are others, but these ones are the most common.
- Conjunctions can stick two sentences together: I watched iCarly because there wasn’t anything better on TV. Here the sentence I watched iCarly is joined to the sentence There wasn’t anything better on TV by using the word because as a conjunction.
- Conjunctions can also stick two objects together: My two favorite shows are America’s Got Talent and Spongebob Squarepants. Here the conjunction and connects two proper nouns, not two complete sentences.
- Remember that the use of a conjunction doesn’t always require the use of a comma. Usually only coordinating conjunctions (and, but, nor, for, yet, or, so) require the use of a comma when they connect two sentences. Connecting two objects doesn’t usually require the use of a comma either.
Pronoun = a word that represents a noun
- How annoying would it be, if we had to say someone’s name over and over again? We’d sound like this: When Spiderman leaves Spiderman’s friend’s apartment, Spiderman has to make sure Spiderman is wearing Spiderman’s suit. Pronouns make it sound better: When he leaves your apartment, he has to make sure he is wearing it.
- Some examples of pronouns include the following: he, him, himself, I, me, myself, you, your, yours, mine, ours, our, they, them, us, we, it, itself, etc…
- Oddly, when you look up possessive pronouns in a dictionary, it may say they are adjectives. That’s because the word your in your apartment describes who the apartment belongs to; therefore, your is both a pronoun and an adjective in that sense.
Preposition = a word that indicates a position in time or space
- The definition is in the word itself: it’s a preposition.
- A position in space can be words like above, under, beneath, upon, behind, beside, through, etc… The guitarist is seated on a stool.
- A position in time can include words like before, after, since, if, when, once, previously, etc… I finished playing my guitar before noon.
- A prepositional phrase is usually a preposition, the noun that goes with it, and any descriptive words that accompany the noun. Mom told me to put away my guitar after lunch. In this example, the bold-print words are the prepositional phrase starting with after.
- An introductory prepositional phrase is a prepositional phrase that starts a sentence. Introductory prepositional phrases usually end in a comma. For example: If you want to go see The Hobbit, I bet Taylor will go with you. The bold print words are the introductory prepositional phrase.
Interjection = a word that expresses emotion
- Some examples of interjections include the following: darn, hooray, oh, and ouch.
- In a sentence, an interjection is usually followed by a comma or exclamation point, depending upon the intensity of the emotion.