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Parts of Speech

Update : February 29, 2020

In our younger days, we were taught that there are eight parts of speech in the English language.

A noun is a name of a person, place, thing, or concept. Grammar books will give classification such as (a) Proper noun (b) Common noun (c) Collective noun (d) Abstract noun.

A verb usually describes an action or a process. Grammar books will give classification such as (a) Transitive verb (b) Intransitive verb.

Instead of repeating a noun several times, we may use Pronouns. A Pronoun stands for a Noun. Grammar books will give classification such as (a) Person (b) Number of a Pronoun.

When we speak, the “first” person is the one who speaks. The “second” person is the one being spoken two. The “third” person is some other being referenced.

If there is only one person, we say it is singular. If there is more than one, we say it is plural.

In English, the term “You” may be both singular and plural.

There are Modifiers. An Adjective usually modifies a Noun or Pronoun. An Adverb usually modifies a Verb.

There are Connectors. A Conjunction (such as And or But) connects two parts of a Sentence (which is constructed using the parts of speech, and makes “complete sense”.) A Preposition adds information such as position (e.g. in, on, upon, under) and time (e.g. before, after).

There are words to express Mood (e.g. surprise). They are also called Exclamation or an Interjection.

There are two techniques : Synthesis (combining the parts of speech) and Analysis (breaking down into the parts of speech).

I was surprised when I first learned that the Pali language has only four parts of speech.

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