Parts of Speech


According to Grammar books, there are eight parts of speech in the English language.

  • A Noun is a name of a person, place, thing, or concept.
    A noun may be classified as (a) Proper noun (b) Common noun (c) Collective noun (d) Abstract noun.
  • A Verb usually describes an action or a process.
    A verb may be classified as (a) Transitive verb (b) Intransitive verb.
  • Instead of repeating a noun several times, we may use Pronouns.
    A Pronoun stands for a Noun. Associated with a pronoun is
    (a) Person (First, Second and Third)
    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.
    (b) Number (Singular or Plural)
    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 singular or 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.

In a Grammar class, we had to learn two techniques :

  • Synthesis (combining the parts of speech)
  • Analysis (breaking down into the parts of speech).

Many native speakers read and write fluently without caring much for grammar.

Knowledge of grammar is needed in Formal Languages, Automata Theory, Compilers, Natural Language Understanding, and Translation.


Pali (an ancient language) has only four parts of speech.

  • Noun
  • Pronoun
  • Verb
  • Clitics (which are equivalent to conjunctions and interjections).

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