Parts of Speech in English: Same English Word; Different Jobs
Many English words can function as two or more parts of speech. Sometimes even words with similar meanings can function as different parts of speech. In this posting I talk about how this is possible. I give many example sentences. The download at the end will give you additional practice understanding how the same word can function as different parts of speech. Understanding the parts of speech in a sentence is important. How do we determine the parts of speech of words, and how can the same word be more than one of them?
Here is the free English video lesson I taught on YouTube:
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How do we determine the parts of speech for each word?
In English, to determine the parts of speech of the words in a sentence, we don’t simply look at the words. We don’t even simply look at the words’ meanings. Instead, we look at the job the words do in the sentence.
What are the jobs in a sentence?
- There are several jobs in all sentences. Every sentence must have a subject. Many sentences also have objects (either direct or indirect object, of objects of prepositions). If a word functions as a subject or an object, it does the job of a noun.
Many nouns are preceded by an adjective and/or by a determiner (a, an, the, my, your, his, her, its, our, their).
2. Every sentence must have a verb. If a word shows action, it functions as a verb.
Muslims fast (not eating) during the month of Ramadan. In this case, the word fast shows the action of the sentence, so it is a verb. Note that the fast as a noun or verb have basically the same meaning.
3. If a word describes an noun, it functions as an adjective.
Adjectives come before nous or after linking or state of being verbs.
4. If a word describes a verb, and adjective, or an adverb, it is an adverb.
My brother likes to drive fast (rapidly, with speed). In this case the word fast describes the verb, drive. This makes it an adverb. Note that the word fast as an adjective and adverb have essentially the same meaning.
In these examples we have seen how one word, fast, can function as a noun, verb, adjective, or adverb, depending on the job is has to do in the sentence.
Some common words functioning as different parts of speech.
It is impossible to list every English word that can function as different parts of speech. There are too many of them. Below is a list of 15 common, everyday words that you probably use in you daily life. You will see the word, as well as sentences showing how it can be used as different parts of speech.
c. adjective–The teacher has the answer key.