What are parts of speech?

Words are organized into different categories. These categories are called parts of speech.  Parts of speech are the building blocks of English.  Some words can be assigned to more than one part of speech. 



The main parts of speech in English are nouns (n.), pronouns (pron.), articles (art.), verbs (v.), adjectives (adj.), adverbs (adv.), prepositions (prep.) and conjunctions (conj.).

What are nouns?

 A noun is a person, place or thing.  There are many ways we use nouns in English.   There are common nouns and proper nouns.  There are plural nouns and possessive nouns.  There are count nouns and non-count nouns.

Common Noun

  1. girl
  2. school
  3. car

Proper Noun

  1. Betty
  2. Ace College
  3. Honda

Possessive Noun

  1. Betty’s
  2. school’s
  3. Honda’s

Singular Noun

  1. 1 boy
  2. a box
  3. my country

Plural Noun

  1. 2 boys
  2. many boxes
  3. our countries

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What are pronouns?

 A pronoun is a word that replaces a noun.  Pronouns are used to avoid repeating nouns.  A subject pronoun can be used to refer to people in a conversation (I, you, we).  An object pronoun can be used to refer to other people or things (itheshethey).  Possessive pronouns like mine refer to nouns you own.  There are even reflexive pronouns like myself that refers to me.


  1. Charles is smart.
  2. I saw Charles play chess.
  3. The chess board is Charles’s.
  4. Charles would like to play Charles.


  1. He is smart.  (subject)
  2. I saw him play chess.  (object)
  3. The chess board is his.  (object)
  4. Charles would like to play himself.  (reflexive)

What are verbs?

Verbs are words used to describe actions.  They tell us what the nouns in the sentence are doing.  The action verbs like run, kiss and laugh clearly describe actions.  Other verbs like be, know, and believe don’t really describe an action.  They are linking or stative verbs that describe a state of being.


  1. Forest runs like the wind.
  2. They kissed for the first time.
  3. We laugh at good jokes.


  1. I am happy.
  2. You know who you are.
  3. We believe in love.

Verbs have different tenses like the present tense and the past tense.  Modal verbs like can and should help the main verb describe things like ability or advice.


  1. I eat every day.  (present simple)
  2. I ate yesterday.  (past simple)
  3. I will eat tomorrow.  (future simple)
  4. I am eating fruit today.  (present continuous)
  5. I was eating cookies yesterday.  (present simple)
  6. I have eaten sushi.  (present perfect)
  7. I had eaten sushi before I ate pizza.  (past perfect)


  1. I can eat a whole pizza.  (ability)
  2. I might eat a whole pizza.  (possibility)
  3. I should eat more vegetables.  (advice)
  4. I must eat food.  (obligation)
  5. May I eat some ice cream.  (permission)
  6. Would you eat your broccoli please?  (request)

What are adjectives?

An adjective is a word that describes a noun.  Adjectives help to express specific information about nouns such as quantity (two), quality (beautiful), size (large), age (old), shape (round), color (red), and origin (American).  Adjectives are easy to identify because they often appear before nouns. Comparative and superlative adjectives are used to compare two or more nouns with respect to one characteristic or trait.  Demonstrative adjectives (such as this/that) are used to show which nouns are being mentioned in a sentence.  Possessive adjectives (such as his/her) are used to show noun possession.


Adjectives describe nouns.

  1. Ricky is smart.
  2. Gina has a pretty dress.
  3. The Lakers are a good basketball team.
  4. Burgers are delicious.


Comparative adjectives compare two nouns.  They show which noun has more of an adjective’s quality.

  1. Ricky is smarter than me.
  2. Gina has a prettier dress than you.
  3. The Lakers are a better team than the Knicks.
  4. Burgers are more delicious than hot dogs.


Superlative adjectives show which noun is the most of an adjective’s quality.

  1. Ricky is the smartest in the class.
  2. Gina has the prettiest dress at the dance.
  3. The Lakers are the best team in the league.
  4. Burgers are the most delicious food.

Basic ESL Workbooks

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Workbook 2
Lessons 16-30 Buy
Workbook 3
Lessons 31-45 Buy