Chapter 2
Parts of Speech

Words are classified into parts of speech depending upon their function in a sentence. There are eight parts of speech.

  1. Noun.
  2. Pronoun.
  3. Adjective.
  4. Verb.
  5. Adverb.
  6. Preposition.
  7. Conjunction.
  8. Interjection.

Note:

As we go further in this book, we will understand that only by noticing how a word is used that we can tell what part of speech it is. This aspect is explained in a greater detail with examples in chapter 11.

Noun

Definition

A noun is a naming word. It names a person, animal, place or thing.

Examples

  • Radha is a beautiful girl.
  • The tiger is a ferocious animal.
  • Paris is a beautiful city.
  • This table is made of wood.

Explanation

Radha is the name of a girl; Tiger is an animal; Paris is a place; and Table is a thing. We call all of them nouns.

Pronoun

Definition

A pronoun is a word used instead of a noun.

Example

Hari is intelligent; he got the first rank.

Explanation

In the above sentence Hari is a noun. The word he is used in the place of the word Hari. He, therefore, is a Pronoun.

Adjective

Definition

An adjective is a word that describes a Noun or a Pronoun.

Examples

  • Ramesh is a mischievous boy.
  • Sachi is a sweet girl.

Explanation

The first sentence speaks of Ramesh. The word mischievous describes the boy namely Ramesh. In the second sentence the word sweet says what kind of girl Sachi is. These describing words are called Adjectives.

Verb

Definition

A verb is a word that describes an action or state.

Examples

  • The hunter killed a lion.
  • The boy is lazy.

Explanation

The word killed says what the hunter did. We call it a verb, because it says something about the hunter. Similarly the word is describes the state of the boy being lazy and is therefore a verb.

Adverb

Definition

An adverb modifies a verb, an adjective or another adverb.

Examples

  • The horse runs.
  • The horse runs fast.

Explanation

The first sentence states what the horse does. By adding the word fast, we have framed another sentence- The horse runs fast. The word fast describes how the horse runs. It has made the meaning of the verb runs clearer. In other words, fast modifies the verb runs. So we call it an adverb.

Sometimes an adverb modifies an adjective.

Example

  • The rose is a very beautiful flower.
  • The word beautiful is an adjective because it describes the noun flower. The word very tells us to what extent the flower is beautiful. The word very modifies the adjective beautiful. So very is an adverb and it adds to the meaning of the adjective beautiful.

  • The horse runs very fast.

In this sentence fast describes runs. So fast is an adverb modifying the verb runs; very tells us the degree of fastness. So the word very modifies the adverb fast; very, is therefore, also an adverb.

Preposition

Definition

A preposition is a word that shows the relationship between two things.

Examples

  • The river flows under the bridge.
  • The bird is in the cage.
  • The girl sat with her friend.
  • The dog ran after the cat.

Explanation

In the first sentence the word under shows the relationship of flows with the bridge. Similarly the word in in the second sentence indicates the relationship of the bird is to the cage and so on. These words that indicate relationship of some kind are called prepositions.

Note:

The noun or pronoun that follows the preposition is called its object. Thus in the above examples the noun bridge is the object of the preposition under, cage of the preposition in; friend of the preposition with and so on. We may also say that the noun bridge is governed by the preposition under, the noun cage is governed by the preposition in and so on.

Conjunction

Definition

A conjunction is a word that joins two words or groups of words.

Examples

  • Rama and Lakshman were brothers.
  • He is poor but he is contended.
  • You must run or you will miss the train.

Explanation

In the first sentence and joins two nouns Rama and Lakshman. In the second sentence but joins He is poor and He is contended. In the third sentence or joins you must run and You will miss the train. These joining words are called conjunctions. They may join two words as in the first sentence or two groups of words as in the second and the third.

Interjection

Definition

An interjection is a word that is used to express sudden feeling or emotion.

Examples

  • Alas! Gandhiji was shot dead.
  • Ah! It was marvellous.
  • Hurrah! We have won.

Explanation

The first word in each of the above sentences indicates a sudden feeling or emotion. It may be a feeling of sorrow, joy or wonder. Such a word is called an interjection.

Note:

An interjection is not connected, as other words, with the remaining words, in the sentence. It is just thrown into the sentence to express a sudden feeling. It stands by itself.