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Word Classes: Part 1


Often, in our Commonly Confused Words and Word for Wednesday blog posts, we use word classes to describe the way a word functions within a sentence. Over the next couple of weeks, we’re going back to the drawing board. What are the main word classes? What are their functions?

There are nine main word classes: adjective, adverb, conjunction, determiner, exclamation, noun, pronoun, preposition, and verb. While this list might look daunting, it is very likely that you are already using words within each of these classes instinctively and correctly. Knowing the names of the word classes is useful for describing what a word is doing in a sentence and for helping you tell apart commonly confused words.

Let’s take a look at nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs!

Noun

A noun is a word that identifies. Nouns are sometimes described as ‘naming’ words. Nouns are used to identify people, places, things, ideas, emotions, qualities, etc. In English, the term ‘proper noun’ or ‘proper name’ is used to describe the names of people, places, and organisations. Proper nouns should be capitalised. Here are some examples of nouns functioning in sentences:

  • Sarah threw the ball to Thomas.
  • Henry struggled to hide his disappointment.
  • My dream is to go to Australia and see the kangaroos.

Verb

A verb is a word that describes what happens or what a person or thing does. Verbs are sometimes described as ‘doing words’. A verb might be used to describe an action, a change, an event, a situation, etc.

Here are some examples of verbs functioning in sentences:

  • Sarah threw the ball to Thomas. Thomas dropped it.
  • It rained so the teachers cancelled the picnic. Henry struggled to hide his disappointment.
  • My dream is to go to Australia and see the kangaroos, but first I need to conquer my fear of flying.

Adjective

An adjective adds extra information to a sentence by describing a noun. Adjectives are sometimes called ‘describing words’.

Here are some examples of adjectives functioning in sentences:

  • Sarah threw her green ball to Thomas.
  • Heavy rain was predicted so the teachers cancelled the weekly picnic.
  • My dream is to go to sunny Australia and see all the kangaroos in their natural habitat.

Adverb

An adverb adds extra information to a sentence by describing a verb, an adjective, or another adverb. Adverbs often end in ‘ly’.

Here are some examples of adverbs functioning in sentences:

  • Sarah gently threw the ball to Thomas. Thomas dropped it clumsily.
  • It rained heavily so the teachers cancelled the picnic.
  • The girl bravely conquered her truly terrible fear of flying so she could fulfil her dream of visiting kangaroos in Australia.

Next week we’ll take a look at conjunctions, determiners, exclamations, prepositions, and pronouns.

Stay tuned!


20 Feb 2017
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