University English: the blog for ESL students

September 19, 2011

Parts of Speech

Filed under: lessons,parts of speech — richardlstansfield @ 1:22 am

Some words are stressed. Some are not. Which words are stressed? It depends up their part of speech.

When you look up a word in a dictionary, the first thing that it tells you is its part of speech.

What are the parts of speech?


Words that are always stressed are:

* Nouns (e.g. boy, car, building, etc.)

“Every person that you can know, and every place that you can go, and every thing that you can show, you know they’re nouns. You know they’re nouns.”

“A noun’s a person, place, or thing.”

thing –> chair, desk, etc.
–> also includes things that you cannot see or touch, such as feelings or ideas (e.g. love, justice, etc.)

* Adjectives (e.g. big, beautiful, thin, etc.)

Adjectives modify nouns (e.g. a pretty flower, the tallest girl).

Nouns can be changed into adjectives.

boy –> a boyish man

idiot –> an idiotic idea

station –> a stationary train

brain –> brainy
wind –> windy
sun –> sunny
fog –> foggy

* Verbs (e.g. eat, walk, draw, sleep, etc.)

Verbs = action or “to be”

Nouns can be changed into verbs.

e.g. ship –> I will ship a birthday present to my sister.

Verbs tell past, present, or future tense (e.g. I ate. / I am eating. / I will eat.).

English order: Subject, Verb, Object.

Korean order: Subject, Object, Verb.

Verbs can be changed into adjectives.

scare –> scary
frighten –> frightened, frightening
frustrate –> frustrated, frustrating

Main Verbs vs. Auxiliary Verbs (“Helping Verbs”)

I will eat.

eat = main verb. It tells us the action.

will = auxiliary verb. It only tells us that it’s the future.


* Adverbs (e.g. quickly, slowly, diligently, etc.)

Adverbs modify verbs, adjectives, or adverbs.

Adjectives can be changed into adverbs (e.g. diligent –> diligently).

He works diligently.

He works very diligently.

He is tall.

He is very tall.

Adverbs answer the questions “How?”, “Where?”, and “When?”

How? –> diligently, slowly, quickly

Where? –> There.

When? –> Now.

Here are some other parts of speech.

* Conjunctions

e.g. and, but, or

Conjunctions connect words, phrases, and clauses.

phrase = group of words

clause = small sentence inside of a larger sentence.

I will go shopping. I will do my homework. –> I will go shopping and do my homework.

“And” and “or” are not stressed because they show similarity.

“But” is stressed because it shows difference.

e.g. He exercises but he is fat.

* Prepositions

e.g. in school; with a friend; over the rainbow

Prepositions are not stressed.

* Be careful of phrasal verbs (which are also known as two-part verbs).


Turn up the television. = Make the television louder.

Turn on the computer. = Make the computer start to work.

The second part of a phrasal verb (e.g. “up” in “Turn up the television.”) looks like a preposition. However, it is not. It is part of the phrasal verb.

Both parts of a phrasal verb are stressed.

* Pronouns

Pronouns replace nouns.

e.g. Richard is our teacher. Richard He gives us lots of homework. Richard He gives us difficult tests. Richard He is very strict.

e.g. he, him, his, it

“Who”, “what”, and “which” are pronouns for unknown nouns.

Pronouns are not stressed.

* Interjections

Interjections show excitement or emotion.

All languages have interjections. For example, in Korea, the interjection “아이고” is used for almost everything (surprise, shock, aching body, expressions of concern or mourning, etc.).

They’re generally set apart from a sentence by an exclamation point or by a comma when the feeling’s not a strong.

e.g. Ouch! That hurts!

e.g. Ouch, that hurts.

Interjections are stressed.


Let’s practice identifying some of the words in this text.

“Welcome,” said Hagrid, “to Diagon Alley.”
He grinned at Harry’s amazement. They stepped through the archway. Harry looked quickly over his shoulder and saw the archway shrink instantly back into solid wall.
The sun shone brightly on a stack of cauldrons outside the nearest shop. Cauldrons –All Sizes – Copper, Brass, Pewter, Silver–Self-Stirring–Collapsible, said a sign hanging over them.
“Yeah, you’ll be needin’ one,” said Hagrid, “but we gotta get yer money first.”
Harry wished he had about eight more eyes. He turned his head in every direction as they walked up the street, trying to look at everything at once: the shops, the things outside them, the people doing their shopping. A plump woman outside an Apothecary was shaking her head as they passed, saying, “Dragon liver, sixteen Sickles an ounce, they’re mad….”
A low, soft hooting came from a dark shop with a sign saying Eeylops Owl Emporium–Tawny, Screech, Barn, Brown, and Snowy. Several boys of about Harry’s age had their noses pressed against a window with broomsticks in it. “Look,” Harry heard one of them say, “the new Nimbus Two Thousand–fastest ever–” There were shops selling robes, shops selling telescopes and strange silver instruments Harry had never seen before, windows stacked with barrels of bat spleens and eels’ eyes, tottering piles of spell books, quills, and rolls of parchment, potion bottles, globes of the moon….

Do you know where this is from?

– Harry Potter and the Sorceror’s Stone, page 71


October 11, 2010

Videos that explain Parts of Speech

Filed under: parts of speech,vocabulary — richardlstansfield @ 3:13 am

Here are some videos that explain Parts of Speech.









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