Saturday, 5 October 2013

Guest blogger: Dellani Oakes

What's a part of speech?

Q: What's a part of speech?
A: It's a word.

Q: Are all words parts of speech?
A: Yes.

Q: Are all words the same part of speech?
A: I'm glad you asked that question. No.

Words are words are words. Their functions vary. There are 8 common parts of speech – nouns, pronouns, adjectives, verbs, adverbs, prepositions, conjunctions and interjections. 

It's important to know parts of speech. These are the pieces of the puzzle. The way they are combined creates the full picture. Unless an author knows how to combine these pieces properly, the finished picture will be a chaotic mess. You can't analyze your own work or understand a critique if you don't know what the parts are and how to put them together.

 Below, I've given a simple definition of each part of speech with links to a site that not only goes into more explanation, it has exercises and teaching tools. I wish I'd had a page like this available to me when I was teaching. Life would have been much simpler. 

Even if we teach this to kids in school, few of them retain the knowledge we try so hard to impart. I didn't really learn all this business until I was teaching and had to share it with a bunch of bored ninth and eleventh graders.

Noun – A noun is a person, place, thing or idea. A noun is a something. There are two types of nouns – common and proper

  • A common noun is a general category. Hats, cats, bats, dishes, wishes, hands, feet. You name it, it's a noun. 
  •  A proper noun is someone's name. It is also the title of a book, poem, play, TV show, piece of music, work of art or movie. The Da Vinci Code, The Mona Lisa, Leonardo Da Vinci, these are all proper nouns.

Pronoun – A pronoun is used instead of a noun: I, you, he, she, it, we, them. There are others, these are merely examples. For a complete list of pronouns. 

Adjective – An adjective is a word that is used to describe a noun. Pretty girl. Red wig. Happy dance. This site has a wonderful list of adjectives and how they are used.

Verb – A verb is an action, occurrence or state of being: I kick. It happens. You are. Verbs are our workers. These are the guys with something to do or say. For more on verbs.

Adverb – An adverb is a word that is used to describe a verb. Kicked hard. Ran quickly. Sang sweetly. Adverbs are often characterized by the –ly ending. For more on adverbs. 

Prepositions – These are words used before a noun, often to show relationship between words. For a list of common prepositions. 

Conjunction – Conjunctions are joining words. They are used to combine phrases and clauses to make sentences. For a list of common conjunctions. 

Interjection – And interjection is a word that is added for emphasis, before the sentence. For a list of common interjections.

This original article can be found on Dellani's blog, The Writer's Sanctuary.

Thank you, Dellani, for your insight into parts of speech.

Dellani is the author of The Ninja Tattoo and Under the Western Sky with Tirgearr Publishing.

Click here for excerpt
Click here for excerpt