September 11, 2013

Why the Parts of Speech Give You Infinite Grammar Power


Hi everyone!
Today and tomorrow there is a guest blogger here at Fun To Teach.  One of my favorite blogs is English Grammar Revolution by Elizabeth O’Brien. 
She blogs about all things grammar and keeps the wealth of information that she shares at a fun level that is easy to understand.  Drum roll please…she will be a guest blogger on Fun To Teach ESL Blog  today and tomorrow .  Don't forget to visit her blog!  Let's get started.

Why the Parts of Speech Give You Infinite Grammar Power

 English Grammar Revolution by Elizabeth O’Brien

Fact: We can organize all of the words that we use into just eight groups based on their form and function. Isn't that amazing? Every single word that we use can be categorized into one of eight groups. The formal name for these eight groups is the parts of speech.

(The eight parts of speech are nouns, pronouns, adjectives, verbs, adverbs, prepositions, conjunctions, and interjections.)

A solid grasp of the parts of speech is the most basic and beneficial thing that you can know about grammar. Understanding these simple eight categories will give you and your students the tools to understand more abstract concepts like phrases, dependent clauses, infinitives, gerunds, participles, and more. Isn't that crazy? 

The catch is that you have to make sure that you and your students really understand the eight parts of speech before you move on to the higher-level concepts. If you move on too early, everything is a bust. Your students glaze over with a stare made up of half boredom and half hatred. That doesn't help anyone. 

So, don't even think about teaching the more abstract concepts until you've taught the parts of speech.

Let's go over each of these eight categories, and then I'll show you how they connect with those higher-level concepts. 

Keep in mind that this is an overview. There is no way I can show you in a few short paragraphs all of the beneficial things to know about each part of speech. Use this as a guide and an inspiration to learn more! I would also suggest learning these parts of speech with the help of sentence diagrams. Sentence diagrams make everything visual, and that makes it easier for people - especially non-native English speakers - to understand the material.



1. Nouns are words that name people, places, things or ideas. (Mary, kitchen, pencil, freedom




Nouns are naming words. If you can't think of any noun examples as you are teaching nouns, just look around you. Anything that you see, you can name. Those names are nouns. 



Nouns can perform many different jobs in sentences. (Mary walked the dog to the park.)



2. Pronouns are words that take the place of nouns. (she, it, they, ourselves)




Since these guys take the place of nouns, they can do anything that nouns can do. That means that pronouns can also perform many different jobs in sentences. 



We use different kinds of pronouns to take the place of different kinds of nouns. 



3. Adjectives describe (or "modify") nouns and pronouns. (yellow dog, furry dog, seven dogs, Joe's dog)




Life would be boring if we had no describing words. Thank goodness for adjectives! They tell us more about nouns and pronouns. They can tell us about color, smell, feel, sound, and other neat things. 



Adjectives answer certain questions called the adjective questions. If a word answers one of these questions, it is an adjective. Which one? (yellow dog) What kind? (furry dog) How many? (seven dogs) Whose? (Joe's dog)



4. Verbs are words that show actions or states of being. (kicked, thought, was, felt)




As you can see from the definition, the two main categories of verbs are action verbs and state-of-being verbs (or "linking verbs"). Action verbs show action (Isn't that crazy?) and state-of-being verbs link the subject with another word that renames the subject or describes the subject. 



Verbs are an essential part of every sentence. If a group of words doesn't have a verb, it can't be a sentence. 



I should also mention that there is a third category of verbs that is less important than the other two that I mentioned. Helping verbs are those little verbs that we use that help shape the meaning of the verb. They are always used with at least one main verb. (I will be happy after the play.)





5. Adverbs describe (or "modify") verbs, adjectives, and other adverbs. (very quickly ran, extremely happy)




Adverbs are kind of like the sibling of adjectives. Both modify other words. 



Adverbs answer certain questions called the adverb questions. If something answers one of these questions, it is an adverb. How? (happily read) When? (Read now.) Where? (Read there.) To what extent? (very quickly) 



6. Prepositions show the relationship between a noun and some other word or element in the rest of the sentence. Think of them as noun hooks. (above the trees, into the field, from the doctor)




Prepositions have the worst definition ever, don't they? It sounds so confusing. That's why it's a good idea to teach these with a lot of examples and not worry about the formal definition too much.



Prepositions are ALWAYS in prepositional phrases. A prepositional phrase consists of at least one preposition and a noun or pronoun. That makes sense because they act as noun hooks. They need to be near the noun that they are hooking to the rest of the sentence!  



7. Conjunctions connect two or more words, phrases, or clauses. (red and blue, past the barn or through the field)




If you don't know the song Conjunction Junction, you should check it out. Google it, watch it, show it to your students, and you will all be singing Conjunction Junction all day long. 



Think of conjunctions as connecting words. There are a couple different kinds of conjunctions, but they do the same thing. They link things together. 



8. Interjections show emotion. They are not grammatically related to the rest of the sentence. (wow, yippee, yes) 




These are lonely little parts of speech. They don't interact with any of the other parts of speech. They don't modify anything, they don't link anything, and they aren't an essential part of the sentence. They just do their own thing and that's it. 




If you see how they are diagrammed, it's really clear that interjections are not grammatically related to the rest of the sentence. They sit on a line that floats above all of the other words! Poor little guys. Although, a lot of the time, they express positive emotions, so we shouldn't feel too bad for them.


I hope you enjoyed the lesson! Feel free to stop by www.English-Grammar-Revolution.com for more tips!
  English Grammar Revolution by Elizabeth O’Brien.

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