This is the essential guide to parts of speech for the English language in 2021.
So if you want to:
Then this new guide is for you!
It’s time to begin.
In this chapter, we’re going to cover the fundamentals of nouns.
(This includes what they are, different types of nouns, and why they’re important.)
It will also show you how to make plurals, when to capitalize nouns, and where to place the apostrophe for possessive nouns.
Nouns are defined as words that name people, places, things, or ideas.
Here are some examples:
1. Which word in the sentence is a noun that names an idea?
People in the global world make progress through inventions.
2. How many nouns are found in this sentence?
The pilot delayed the departure because of the snow on the runway.
1. c. “Progress” is an idea. The other answers are also nouns but they are classified as people, places, or things.
2. d. “Four” nouns are in this sentence: pilot, departure, snow, runway.
Nouns can be singular (meaning one person, place, thing, or idea) or plural (meaning more than one).
aircraft, hovercraft, spacecraft, and other “-craft” vehicles; animals such as bison, deer, elk, moose, sheep, shrimp, swine; types of fish (cod, trout, pike, salmon, etc.); and the word “offspring.”
To determine if the noun is singular or plural, you need to use the context clues in the sentence.
For example, I saw several deer in the field (plural because of the word “several”).
The baby sheep was just born this morning (singular because of the verb “was”).
1. Which sentence has plural nouns correctly formed with “es”?
a. The dishs and glasses need to be washed.
b. The houses have large porchs with bushes around them.
c. The women wore dresses with ruffles and patchs of lace.
d. The bosses insisted on giving passes to the interns.
2. Which sentence has the correct plural form of the word that ends in “y”?
a. The apartment complex has many balconys.
b. I think that every large city needs several libraries.
c. On the Fourth of July, there are many partys to watch the
d. During our vacation, it was amazing that the skys were sunny
3. How many plural words are found in this sentence?
The architects build several new restaurants with outdoor cafes for people to eat their meals outside.
4. Which sentence has all of the nouns written in plural form?
a. The aircraft are landing on the tops of the naval ships.
b. Her tooth were so bad that she had four cavities!
c. My feet were swollen from walking on the many trail for so many days.
d. The key to catching the salmons are to look for their offspring and to fish early in the morning.
1. d. Bosses, passes, and interns are all correct plurals formed with “es.” The other answer choices have incorrect plural forms: a. dishs (dishes), b. porchs (porces), c. patchs (patches).
2. b. Libraries is the correct plural. The other answer choices have incorrect plural forms: a. balconys (balconies), c. partys (parties), d. skys (skies).
3. c. There are five plurals in this sentence: architects, restaurants, cafes, people, meals.
4. a. The plurals are written correctly: aircraft (with the verb “are”), tops, ships. The other answer choices have some nouns written in their singular form instead of the plural form: b. tooth (teeth), c. trail (trails), d. key (keys) and also the plural salmons is incorrect (salmon).
Nouns are classified as common or proper. A common noun names any person, place, thing, or idea. It does not begin with a capital letter.
However, a proper noun begins with a capital letter. It names a specific person, place, thing, or idea.
1. Which sentence has incorrect capitalization?
a. The courthouse is on Tenth Street.
b. The National Archives hold Immigration documents.
c. The Declaration of Independence was written in the year 1776.
d. Washington, D.C. is the capital of the United States.
2. Which sentence has incorrect capitalization?
a. I heard that the temperature of the oceans is rising.
b. The Olympics are always exciting to watch in the summer and
c. There are nine justices appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court.
d. The white house is where the U.S. president lives.
3. Which statements about common and proper nouns are true?
a. A common noun names a specific person, place, thing, or idea.
b. A proper noun names a specific person, place, thing, or idea.
c. A proper noun names any person, place, thing, or idea.
d. A common noun names any person, place, thing, or idea.
1. b. In this sentence, “Immigration” is a common noun and should not be capitalized.
2. d. In this sentence, “white house” is a proper noun and should be capitalized.
3. b., d. A proper noun names a specific person, place, thing, or idea. A common noun names any person, place, thing, or idea.
Nouns can also be possessive. This means that the noun shows ownership or possession.
1. Choose the correct plural possessive for “country.”
2. Choose the correct possessive noun to complete the sentence.
A _____ outcome is always better with everyone’s participation.
3. Which sentence has singular and plural possessive nouns?
a. The day’s schedule was planned with many meetings.
b. The assistant’s duty was to do research for the department’s chairmen.
c. The director’s decision determined the actors’ roles.
d. The authors’ characters showed many distinct personalities.
1. c. The answer “countries’” is the correct plural possessive of “country.” The other answers are incorrect: a. is singular possessive; b. and d. have the plural of country misspelled. The plural is countries. The apostrophe is placed after the plural form.
2. b. The answer “team’s” is correct because we know that the subject must be singular because of the article “A” that begins the sentence. The other answers are incorrect: a. and c. are plural possessives; d. is the incorrect spelling of the plural possessive (tasks’).
3. c. The singular possessive noun is “director’s” and the plural possessive noun is “actors’.” The other answers are incorrect: a. has a singular possessive noun “day’s” but no plural possessive noun, b. has two singular possessive nouns “assistant’s” and “department’s,” and d. has one possessive plural noun “authors’” and no singular possessive plural nouns.
In this chapter, we’re going to cover the fundamentals of verbs.
(This includes what they are, different types of verbs, and why they’re important.)
It will also show you how to make linking verbs, distinguish verb tenses, determine active and passive voice, and explain the concept of subject and verb agreement.
Verbs are defined as words that express action or a state of being.
Action verbs can be seen or heard or the actions are unseen and not heard. They tell what the subject of the sentence does.
A state of being verb is the same thing as a linking verb. This verb links the subject to the rest of the sentence (a noun or an adjective). The most common linking verb is the form of “to be” (e.g., am, are, is, was, were, be, being, been).
Joanna is my colleague (“is” links the subject Joanna to the noun colleague).
The staff meetings are interesting (“are” links the subject meetings to the adjective interesting)
Other common linking verbs include appear, become, feel, grow, look, grow, remain, seem, sound, taste, prove, stay, smell, turn.
1. In which sentence is the verb underlined?
a. The passengers bought their tickets and got on the train.
b. It was important for the accountant’s yearly records.
c. There were so many applications for one job.
d. His passport needed to be renewed.
2. Which sentence uses an action verb?
a. The soccer game ended in a tie.
b. Finally, the weather looked warm enough.
c. It is a really interesting news show.
d. Yesterday was the first day of the computer class.
3. Which sentence uses a linking verb?
a. She wrote the day’s schedule on the calendar
b. The assistant’s duty was helping the department’s chairmen.
c. The directors decided the actors’ roles.
d. The characters dressed in many distinct costumes.
4. Which sentences use a linking verb that links the subject of the sentence to a noun?
a. Fred became my best friend.
b. The pet dog looks happy out in the yard.
c. The company picnic sounds fun!
d. Her new boyfriend seems nice.
1. d. This sentence is the only one where the verb is underlined. The other verbs that are not underlined include a. bought, b. was, c. were.
2. a. This sentence is the only one that uses an action verb (“ended”). The other sentences use linking verbs: b. looked, c. is, d. was.
3. b. This sentence is the only one that uses a linking verb (“was”). The linking verb is used with the action verb “helping.” The other sentences use action verbs: a. wrote, c. decided, d. dressed.
4. a. “Became” is the linking verb that links the subject “Fred” to the noun “friend.” The other sentences have linking verbs but they link the subject to an adjective: b. “looks” links dog to happy, c. “sounds” links picnic to fun, d. “seems” links boyfriend to nice.
A verb tense tells when the action takes place. The action can be taking place now or regularly (the present tense), in the future (the future tense), or it has already happened and it is over (the past tense).
Irregular verbs have special tense forms.
However, there are no particular rules for forming the past tense of these irregular verbs.
(Present Tense) They are at the meeting.
(Past Tense) They were at the meeting.
(Present Tense) I go upstairs to my office.
(Past Tense) I went upstairs to my office.
It’s important to use the same verb tense in your sentences whether you are speaking or writing English unless there is a good reason to change the tenses.
(incorrect) The lecturer talked (past tense) about computer viruses. She was mentioning(present tense) different kinds.
(correct) The lecturer talked (past tense) about computer viruses. She mentioned (past tense) different kinds.
1. Which sentence is written using a past tense verb?
a. The business school is offering several night classes.
b. Sometimes, a business meeting lasts longer than an hour.
c. Mr. Johnson was assigned as the new supervisor.
d. The opening night of the concert will probably be on Sunday.
2. Which sentence is written using a present tense verb?
a. My grandparents were medical doctors for over 40 years.
b. The scholarship applications are due today.
c. I will buy that new camera soon.
d. Yesterday was the first day of the computer class.
3. Which sentence is written using a future tense verb?
a. She is writing the day’s schedule on the calendar.
b. The assistant helps research for the department head.
c. The director decided the actors’ roles.
d. The characters will dress in many distinct costumes.
4. Which irregular verb form is written correctly?
a. She typed the report as quickly as possible.
b. My friend planned to meet me at the café after work.
c. The new employee chose to work four days a week but longer
d. Margie was hired as a public relations consultant.
5. Which sentence is written with correct parallel verb tenses?
a. The president gave the report and everyone is clapping.
b. This holiday, I am hiking and kayaked each day.
c. She had torn open the envelope and looked at the letter.
d. That student will work hard on each assignment and completed
them with high marks.
1. c. This sentence uses a past tense verb “was assigned.” The other sentences use different tense verbs: a. is offering – present tense; b. lasts – present tense; d. will be – future tense.
2. b. This sentence uses the present tense verb “are due.” The other sentences use different tense verbs: a. were – past tense; c. will buy – future tense; d. was – past tense.
3. d. This sentence uses a future tense verb “will dress.” The other sentences use different tense verbs: a. is writing – present tense; b. helps research – present tense; c. decided – past tense.
4. c. This sentence uses the irregular verb form “choose, chose, chosen.” The other sentences use regular verb tenses.
5. c. This sentence uses correct parallel tenses: both of the verbs are in the past tense: had torn, looked. The other sentences do not have correct parallel tenses: a. gave (past), is clapping (present); b. am hiking (present), kayaked (past); d. will work (future), completed (past).
When the subject does the action, the verb is in the active voice.
The team members wear a uniform.
The corporate office sent the letter.
When the subject does not do the action, the verb is in the passive voice.
A uniform is worn by the team members.
The letter was sent by the corporate office.
1. Which two sentences are in the active voice?
a. All of the information was verified for accuracy.
b. The journal notes were written by the linguistic professor.
c. The medical examiner reviewed the findings.
d. A red shirt was worn by the team leader.
2. Which sentence is in the passive voice?
a. Her trip to Canada was postponed.
b. Finally, the young couple could afford to purchase their own home.
c. The flowers were given by my father to me for my birthday.
d. On Monday, the judge ruled in his favor.
3. Which sentence is the best revision from passive to active voice?
An old car is being serviced by the dealership with a flat tire.
a. The car with a flat tire is being serviced by the dealership.
b. The dealership services the car with a flat tire.
c. The car serviced by the dealership has a flat tire.
d. A flat tire on the car is serviced by the dealership.
1. a., c. These two sentences are written in the active voice because the subject does the action (a. information was verified, c. examiner reviewed). In sentences b. and d., the subject is not doing the action and the verb used is a being verb (b. were written, d. was worn).
2. c. This sentence is in the passive voice because the subject does not do the action and the verb used is a form of the verb to be – were given. The other sentences are written in the active voice because the subject does the action.
3. b. This sentence is the best revision from passive to active voice because it puts the subject first (“dealership”) followed by the verb (“services”), then the object (“the car”) and the description of the car (“with a flat tire”).
A subject and a verb should agree in number.
1. In which two sentences do the verbs agree with their subjects?
a. The marketing department outperforms the competitor’s firm.
b. The marketing department outperform the competitor’s firm.
c. The marketing department are outperforming the competitor’s firm.
d. The marketing department is outperforming the competitor’s firm.
2. In which two sentences do the verbs agree with their subjects?
a. The instructions to complete the project was difficult to understand.
b. The instructions to complete the project were difficult to understand.
c. The instruction to complete the project was difficult to understand.
d. The instruction to complete the project were difficult to understand.
1. a., d. The singular subject – department – agrees with the singular verb in a. outperforms, and d. is performing.
2. b., c. The plural subject – instructions – agrees with the plural verb in b. were; the singular subject – instruction – agrees with the singular verb in c. was.
In this chapter, we’re going to cover the fundamentals of pronouns.
(This includes what they are, different types of pronouns, and why they’re important.)
It will also show you how to make antecedents and subject/object forms.
Pronouns are defined as words that take the place of nouns. They can be singular or plural. Common pronouns include I, you, he, she, it, they, we, me, him, her, them, us. They are used to avoid repeating the same names or words in a sentence.
1. Which sentence states a correct rule for using pronouns?
a. Use pronouns to make shorter sentences.
b. Pronouns always replace adjectives.
c. Use pronouns to avoid repeating names in a sentence.
d. When talking directly to someone, always use a pronoun instead of their name.
2. Choose the correct pronoun to complete this sentence.
The telephone rang several times and _____ woke Mom up.
3. Choose the correct pronoun to complete this sentence.
The taxi driver took Michael and his family to the airport so ____ could catch the 9:00 a.m. flight.
4. How many pronouns are in this sentence?
She wanted to invite them to visit her at the company headquarters to discuss it.
1. c. Pronouns are used to avoid repetition in sentences. The other answers are incorrect: a. The purpose of using pronouns is not to make the sentences shorter; in some cases when you use a pronoun, the sentences may be shorter by a few letters but that is not their purpose; b. Pronouns take the place of nouns, not adjectives; d. You can use a pronoun when you are talking about someone and you can use the subject pronouns “you” and “we” when you are talking directly to someone but, in other cases, you should use the person’s name and never address them directly with “he,” “she,” “they,” “him,” “her,” “them,” “us.”
2. c. The telephone rang and woke Mom up; telephone is a thing so using the pronoun “it” is correct.
3. a. Michael and his family go to the airport and “they” are going to take the 9:00 flight.
4. c. There are four pronouns used in the sentence: she, them, her, it.
The antecedent of a pronoun is the noun/nouns that the pronoun refers to or replaces. The antecedent can be in the same sentence or a different sentence. Note that the pronoun agrees with the antecedent in gender (male or female).
Marianna gave a speech this morning, and she did an outstanding job (in the same sentence - female).
David presented his marketing plan. He received great reviews (in a different sentence - male).
It is important to make sure that the pronoun agrees with the antecedent in number as well (singular or plural).
My boss wants to hear the original presentations. They need to be very detailed, positive, and creative. (“presentations” is plural; “they” is plural)
My boss wants to hear the original presentation. It needs to be very detailed, positive, and creative. (“presentation” is singular; “it” is singular)
The antecedent is the noun/nouns that the pronoun refers to or replaces. If it is unclear what the pronoun is referring to, then rephrase the sentence when speaking or rewrite the sentence so the sentence is clear.
(an unclear example) The librarians are coding the books. They are everywhere in the library.
What’s unclear? Does the word “they” refer to “librarians” or to “books”?
(a clear example rewritten) There are books everywhere in the library. The librarians are coding them. (“them” clearly refers to the books in this revised sentence)
1. Which sentences are examples of a pronoun agreeing with the antecedent in gender?
a. The HR Department reviewed the applications and found so many of them to be outstanding.
b. If Jane doesn’t study enough, she will be disappointed by her final grade.
c. When you see my father, wish him a happy retirement!
d. My son Nathan wants to go into politics; he finds it very interesting.
2. Which answer choice is not an example of a pronoun agreeing with the antecedent in number?
a. Nicole wrote the three New Year’s resolutions in a journal and thought about them.
b. Does the photograph really look like her?
c. I needed to pick out some birthday cards. They were for three best friends who have birthdays in July.
d. The nutritionist served a healthy snack. It was very nutritious and also delicious.
3. Which sentence should be rephrased because it is unclear what the pronoun is referring to?
a. Katie left Sally’s book on her desk.
b. Mr. Sinclair got the idea for his book from a movie.
c. This is how the printer works. It should be simple enough to run.
d. As part of the new merger, Mrs. Jones will inform the staff members. They will undoubtedly be surprised!
1. b., c., d. The answer choices are examples of pronouns agreeing with the antecedent in gender (b. Jane, she, her; c. father, him; d. son Nathan, he). Sentence a. is an example of a pronoun agreeing with the antecedent in number (applications, them).
2. b. The answer choice is an example of a pronoun agreeing with the antecedent in gender (photograph, her) and not in number. The other answer choices are examples of pronouns agreeing with the antecedent in number: a. resolutions, them; c. cards, they; d. snack, it.
3. a. The sentence is unclear and should be rephrased. It is unclear if it is Katie’s or Sally’s desk (where the book was left). The other answer choices are clearly written.
Singular personal pronouns take the place of one person, place, thing, or idea. Singular personal pronouns include I, he, she, you, it, me, him, her.
I applied for a new job. Mr. Johnson took my application. He (Mr. Johnson) said it (the application) looked great.
Mrs. Kohler called me for an interview. She (Mrs. Kohler) asked if I could come at 2:00 on Tuesday. She (Mrs. Kohler) said, “You need to report to room 2-A.”
I was nervous on Tuesday for the interview. It (the interview) had to go well. The secretary introduced me to Mr. Johnson. I wanted to make a good impression on him (Mr. Johnson)so I wore a new suit.
Maybe Mrs. Kohler was impressed, too. I saw her (Mrs. Kohler) when I left the room. She(Mrs. Kohler) was smiling.
There are plural personal pronouns that take the place of two or more people, places, things, or ideas. Plural personal pronouns include they, we, them, us, you.
Note that the word “you” can be singular or plural depending on if the word refers to one person, place, thing, or idea OR if it relates to more than one.
My friends and I enrolled in a night course to learn more about computers.
We liked that the class was taught by a computer expert.
The emails need to be printed out for the meeting.
Everyone will get a copy of them.
Jacky and I sat at the far table.
Tommy sat between us.
The manager told everyone, “You must always be on time.”
1. What type of pronouns are used in the sentence?
The computer store had a sale on the language programs. It ends on Saturday so you should go with me to the store.
a. singular personal pronouns
b. plural personal pronouns
2. What type of pronouns are used in the sentence?
Grandparents like to spoil grandchildren. They certainly spend time with them whenever possible.
a. singular personal pronouns
b. plural personal pronouns
3. Choose the correct personal pronoun to complete the sentence.
Our friends are having a surprise party and need the rest of ____ to keep it a secret.
1. a. The pronouns in the sentence are singular personal pronouns. Besides the pronouns “it,” “you,” and “me,” the other singular personal pronouns include “I,” “he,” “she,” “him,” “her.”
2. b. The pronouns in the sentence are plural personal pronouns. Besides the pronouns “they” and “them,” the other plural personal pronouns include “we,” “us,” “you.”
3. d. us (This is the only answer choice that makes sense in the context of the sentence. The pronoun needs to be plural because of the words “rest of ____.” The other answer choices are incorrect because they are singular.
A subject pronoun takes the place of a subject of a sentence. These include the pronouns: I, you, he, she, it, we, they.
An object pronoun follows a preposition (words such as with, to, of, at, for, about) or an action verb. These include the pronouns: me, them, him, you, her, it, us.
1. Which subject pronoun replaces the underlined words?
The waiting room at the hospital is filled with patients.
2. Which object pronoun replaces the underlined words?
Mrs. Anderson will select the project for Joni and Steven to work on.
3. Which object pronoun replaces the underlined words?
Please give the finalized report to each of the team members.
1. c. The waiting room is singular so answer choices a. and d. would not be correct. Answer choice b. is a possessive pronoun and does not fit in this sentence.
2. c. Joni and Steven are plural objects in this sentence. Answer a. is singular; answers b. and d. are plural subject pronouns.
3. c. The singular subject “report” needs a singular pronoun “it.” Answer a. is possessive, b. is plural, d. is not a pronoun.
Possessive pronouns show ownership. These pronouns do not need an apostrophe. Sometimes, the possessive pronoun serves as an adjective and it is used before a noun to describe it. These include the pronouns: her, his, its, my, our, their, your.
Margie has her assignment already completed.
Peter turned his work in on Friday.
Each type of computer has its own operating system.
I am certainly busy this time of year at my job.
The downtown bank has our money invested.
Give the project to their team to review.
The boss went over your proposal and made verbal comments.
Some possessive pronouns don’t need a noun (they stand-alone). These include his, hers, mine, yours, ours, theirs.
The customer said that the return on the counter was his.
Nora noted that the idea for the newsletter was hers.
I wanted to know if that blue pen was mine.
The director stated that the entire project was yours.
That building architecture looks similar to ours.
The lawyer took theirs first and then would deal with the other testimonials.
1. Are these statements true or false?
a. Possessive pronouns show ownership.
b. Some possessive pronouns are used before a noun and serve as
c. Some possessive pronouns can stand-alone.
2. Choose the correct possessive pronoun to complete the sentence.
Joanna needs to attend night school to get _____ diploma in coding.
3. Choose the possessive pronoun that can stand-alone in the sentence.
My mother thinks that Trigger is her horse, but it is actually ours.
1. a. T; b. F (they serve as adjectives, not verbs); c. T.
2. b. her (Joanna is singular and female)
3. c. ours (the other answer choices are possessive pronouns that are used before a noun – a. my (mother); b. her (horse).
When a pronoun does not name the word that it replaces, it is known as an indefinite pronoun. There are many indefinite pronouns in the English language: all, another, anybody, anyone, anything, both, each, everybody, everyone, everything, few, many, most, none, no one, nothing, one, other, several, some, somebody, something, such.
Most should be turned in by midnight.
Somebody must take over the company.
Everything was done extremely well.
Interrogative pronouns are used to ask a question. They include the words: who, what, which, whose, whom.
Who is going to join the team at the retreat?
What happened when the agency showed the design plan?
Which competitor should we consult with?
Whose job is to assign this week’s workload?
With whom should I discuss my concerns?
Some pronouns refer back to the subject. These pronouns are called reflexive pronouns. Some reflexive pronouns include herself, himself, itself, myself, ourselves, themselves, yourself, yourselves.
I completed the city planning design by myself. (The pronoun “myself” refers back to the subject “I.”)
The student had the library all to herself today. (The pronoun “herself” refers back to the subject “student.”)
The soccer players found themselves without enough time to practice because it had been raining all month! (The pronoun “themselves” refers back to the subject “students.”)
1. Which indefinite pronoun completes the sentence?
_____ have signed up to help with writing the new mission statement for the company.
2. Which interrogative pronoun completes the sentence?
_____ will we do if the train is late this morning?
3. Choose the correct reflexive pronoun to complete the sentence.
Michael and Stephanie want to put a team together _____.
1. b. Several (using the context clues, the subject is plural)
2. d. What (using the context clues, the correct answer is detected)
3. b. themselves (the pronoun refers back to the subject Michael and
In this chapter, we’re going to cover the fundamentals of adjectives.
(This includes what they are, different types of adjectives, and why they’re important.)
It will also show you how to use adjectives to compare, when to capitalize pronouns, and which articles to use.
Adjectives are words that describe or modify nouns or pronouns. They are words that make your speech and writing more exciting. Some adjectives describe the quantity or the qualityof the nouns and pronouns.
Quantity adjectives tell how many: There are a dozen people on the communication team. More people want to join.
Quality adjectives tell what kind: The team has new employees as well as older ones, too.
Other adjectives describe how the noun or pronoun looks, sounds, smells, feels, or tastes.
The company handbook was attractive.
The printer made a funny noise and then it stopped working.
The fire alarm went off and we could smell the gas fumes.
The textile used for the rugs was smooth and soft.
No one could deny that the company made delicious chocolate.
1. How many adjectives are in this sentence?
The new house was built three months ago by the construction company in the neighboring town.
2. Complete the sentence with an adjective that describes quantity.
Some salesmen have sold ____ magazine subscriptions.
3. Complete the sentence with an adjective that describes quality.
The judge states that there were _____ reasons that the man was guilty.
4. Complete the sentence with a sensory adjective.
We enjoyed the _____ fire on such a cold winter night.
1. c. four (new, three, construction, neighboring)
2. c. numerous (this is the only answer choice that describes how many)
3. d. convincing (this is the only answer choice that describes what kind)
4. b. crackling (this is the only answer choice that describes a sense – you can hear a crackling fire)
Some adjectives compare two people, places, things, or ideas. These words are called comparative adjectives. They typically end in “er.” Some adjectives with two or more syllables use more or less.
Example: The staff meeting was shorter this month than last month.
Some adjectives compare three or more people, places, things, or ideas. These words are called superlative adjectives. They typically end in “est.” Some adjectives with two or more syllables use most or least.
Example: That company has the friendliest office workers.
Oh, no! Not again. Some of the adjectives that are used to compare have irregular forms. These are some of the most common ones:
That accountant did a better job than I could do.
Of all of the bankers, she was by far the best!
The weather could not have been worse for the production team.
It was the worst winter on record.
Their bid was more expensive than ours.
Our bid was less expensive than theirs.
The new staff members were the most ambitious.
The older staff members seemed to be the least ambitious.
1. Complete the sentence with the correct form of the adjective.
That big-screen television is the _____ that we can afford to buy.
a. more expensive
b. less expensive
c. most expensive
2. Which sentence has both a comparative adjective and a superlative adjective?
a. There are more workers in the transportation division because there is more work to be done.
b. The best solution is to enlarge the room and make it bigger.
c. The newest employee seems to have the oldest computer.
d. A good idea would be to give everyone a day off to vote in the election.
3. Which adjective could be used to compare three universities?
c. less competitive
d. more expansive
4. Which adjective completes the sentence?
The competing company is always _____ than its opponent.
a. least focused
b. most strategic
c. more dedicated
d. best competitive
5. Which statement about adjectives is correct?
a. Most adjectives have two or more syllables.
b. Irregular adjectives only compare irregular nouns.
c. Adjectives must follow a noun.
d. Adjectives that make comparisons can end in “er.”
1. c. This answer “most expensive” compares one television to all of the other available televisions. It is a superlative adjective used to compare three or more nouns. Answer choices b. and c. are comparative adjectives that are used to compare two nouns. Answer choice d. is not correct in English.
2. b. The adjective “best” is a superlative adjective; the adjective “bigger” is a comparative adjective. Answer a. uses the comparative adjective “more” two times. Answer c. uses two superlative adjectives: newest, oldest. Answer d. uses only one adjective: good.
3. b. The adjective “largest” is the only answer choice that can be used to compare three or more people, places, things, or ideas. Answer choices a., c., d. are comparative adjectives used to compare two people, places, things, or ideas.
4. c. The adjective “more” is a comparative adjective and the only answer choice that is correct. The other answer choices are superlative adjectives: a. least, b. most, d. best.
5. d. The answer choice is correct because adjectives that make comparisons can end in “er.” Answer choice a. is incorrect because adjectives can have any number of syllables; b. is incorrect as irregular adjectives can compare “regular” nouns; c. is incorrect as adjectives can precede nouns (and pronouns) or stand-alone.
Some proper adjectives can be made from proper nouns and are capitalized. There are thousands of proper adjectives in the English language.
1. What word is the correct proper adjective for Mexico?
2. Which pair is not correct?
a. Venezuela, Venezuelan
b. Columbia, Columbian
c. Cuba, Cubian
d. Brazil, Brazilian
3. Which pronoun is not a proper adjective? It should not automatically be capitalized.
1. c. is the correct answer. The other answer choices are misspelled.
2. c. is incorrect; the correct pairing should be Cuba, Cuban. The other
answer choices are correct.
3. a. is not a proper adjective and should not automatically be capitalized. The other answer choices are correct.
The adjectives “a,” “an,” and “the” are articles used more often in the English language.
These words go in front of nouns or adjectives to describe them.
Use “a” before singular nouns and other adjectives that start with a consonant or a long vowel sound (“a” unicorn).
Use “an” before singular nouns and other adjectives that start with a vowel or a short vowel sound if the consonant is silent (“an honor”).
Use “the” in front of singular or plural adjectives that are specific.
My co-worker gave me a book to read. (refers to a non-specific noun that starts with a consonant)
It was an agreement between both parties. (used before a noun beginning with a vowel or vowel sound)
The project started on Monday. (refers to a specific noun)
1. Which sentence is written with the most adjectives?
a. A technician arrived at the hotel to fix the elevator that stopped.
b. An older gentleman tipped the waitress with a ten-dollar bill.
c. The community band had a band concert at the pavilion.
d. The radio announcer interrupted the evening with an unusual report about a burglar who got locked in an attic.
2. Which sentence does not use the articles correctly?
a. The musician gave a performance at the children’s center.
b. The movie theater showed a double feature.
c. She found an pair of pearl earrings to wear at the wedding.
d. The carpenter measured the wood and the measurements were an inch off.
1. d. The answer choice is written with five adjectives: the, the, an, a, an. Answer choice a. has three articles: a, the, the; answer choice b. has three articles: an, the a; answer choice c. has three articles: the, a, the.
2. c. The article “an” is incorrect to describe “pair of pearl earrings.” The correct article is “a”: She found a pair of pearl earrings to wear at the wedding.
The adjectives “this,” “that,” “these,” and “those” are demonstrative adjectives. They point out specific nouns. Use “this” and “that” in front of singular nouns. Use “these” and “those” in front of plural nouns.
This fax machine is in working order.
That computer needs to be fixed.
These reports must be typed.
Those people need to be assigned to a committee.
1. Which sentence does not correctly use demonstrative adjectives?
a. That detective was able to solve the crime.
b. These zoo housed many endangered species.
c. Those language classes are interesting!
d. I didn’t know who lost this key.
2. Which demonstrative adjectives are used in front of singular nouns?
3. How many total demonstrative adjectives are used in these two sentences?
These animals need to have this food. Those animal trainers will make sure to get that direction.
1. b. This answer choice is incorrect. It should be written: “This” zoo housed many endangered species.
2. a., c. “This” and “That” are the demonstrative adjectives used in front of singular nouns.
3. c. There are four total demonstrative adjectives used in the two sentences: these, this, those, that.
In this chapter, we’re going to cover the fundamentals of adverbs.
(This includes what they are, different types of adverbs, and why they’re important.)
It will also show you how to make plurals, when to capitalize nouns, and where to place the apostrophe for possessives.
Adverbs can describe verbs, adjectives, or other adverbs. They are used to make everyday speech and writing more detailed and interesting. There are many adverbs in the English language that end with “ly.” These adverbs typically tell “how” or “in what way.”
My boss proudly expressed his gratitude for our hard work. (“proudly” describes the verb expressed)
Tessa worked diligently on her English paper. (“diligently” describes the verb worked)
The bookkeeper repeatedly calculated the numbers for the report. (“repeatedly” describes the verb calculated)
The room was too cold to work in so I turned up the heat. (“too” describes the adjective cold)
The temperature warmed up very quickly. (“very” describes the adverb quickly)
Find the adverb in each sentence.
1. She eagerly greeted the customers at the store.
2. John sleepily walked to the refrigerator to get the coffee.
3. The programmer constantly adjusted his screen.
4. The puppy excitedly jumped into the little boy’s lap.
5. The opera singer loudly sang her solo.
6. When Margie fell, she hurriedly drove to the emergency.
7. The instructor encouragingly taught yoga to the students.
8. The report was terribly written and needed to be rewritten
Some adverbs don’t end in the suffix -ly. These adverbs usually tell “where,” “when,” and “to what extent.”
We drove to the city and called the office when we got there. (“where”)
Tomorrow, the auditor’s report is due in the president’s office. (“when”)
The client was very pleased with the end product. (“to what extent”)
1. Which underlined adverb tells where?
a. My brother often cooks for the whole family.
b. Sadly, it rained the day of their outdoor wedding.
c. Her father liked to bike slowly around the block.
d. Please put the newspaper here.
2. Which underlined adverb tells when?
a. The judge urgently called for a new trial.
b. Yesterday, we ran a few miles before breakfast.
c. The fresh water was rapidly disappearing.
d. The choir sang wonderfully at the concert.
3. Which underlined adverb tells to what extent?
a. The parents were so happy for their son when he graduated.
b. Tomorrow, they are going camping at the lake.
c. We looked everywhere for the business contract.
d. The committee will vote later.
1. d. The adverb “here” tells where to put the newspaper.
2. b. The adverb “yesterday” tells when they ran.
3. a. The adverb “so” tells to what extent the parents were happy.
When you compare two things, you use “more” or “less” with the adverb.
My spouse works late more often than I do.
I work late less often than my spouse.
When you compare three or more things, you use “the most” or “the least” with an adverb.
Of my three sisters, Margo uses English the most often.
My youngest sister uses English the least often out of all of us.
Some adverbs have irregular forms for comparisons.
The history majors performed well this quarter.
They performed better than they did last year.
The students hope to perform the best they have ever performed next year.
The stock market did badly this month.
It did worse than last month.
This month was the worst that the stock market did in years.
1. Which sentence is written correctly?
a. No one works more harder than Jon.
b. Mary completed the work the most quicker of anyone.
c. Of the three stores, the largest one performed the better.
d. In his graduating class, Richard was the highest performing student.
2. Which sentence is written correctly?
a. The chairman’s work was more detailed than mine.
b. She performed good in the mock interview.
c. The report was best than last year’s report.
d. After the stock market crash, the stocks performed bad.
3. Which sentence is written correctly?
a. The decision to merge was the worse decision of any.
b. The bank statement was issued timely.
c. It was the worst day of his life when he was fired!
d. The salary was most than I thought.
1. d. Richard is compared to the students in the class (there are probably three or more) so “highest” is correct as an adverb.
2. a. The chairman’s work is compared to one other person (me). “More detailed” is correct.
3. c. The day he got fired was the “worst” day of his life is correct because that one day is compared to all of the other days in his life.
Negative words are words that mean “not” or “no.” They are considered adverbs.
My boss asked me not to turn in the cost analysis until the end of the year.
The creative team had never been unprepared.
I looked for the file but it was nowhere on my computer.
1. Complete each sentence with a negative (adverb).
a. My younger sister is _____ the type of person to cause any trouble.
b. Despite going fishing over a dozen times, he ____ caught a fish!
c. The GPS directed me to the hotel but it was ____ to be found.
d. This morning, Mr. Anderson could _____ find the newspaper.
e. The dog buried his bone but it was _____ in the yard.
f. Mrs. Jackson has traveled to every country in Europe but she has ____ traveled to Italy.
a. not (or never)
c. nowhere (this is the best answer as it indicates a place)
e. nowhere (or not)
f. not (or never)
In this chapter, we’re going to cover the fundamentals of conjunctions.
(This includes what they are, different types of conjunctions, and why they’re important.)
It will also show you the proper use of conjunctions to join words, phrases, and parts of sentences (clauses).
Conjunctions are some of the most important little words in a sentence. Their purpose is to join together words, phrases, or parts of sentences. “And,” “but,” and “or” are the three most commonly used conjunctions.
Without conjunctions, our English would be short and choppy. Conjunctions help us to combine ideas and to vary the sentence patterns for interest and detail.
Joining together words: The business manager and the department secretary will organize the symposium.
Joining together phrases: The new company will build over by the river or near the downtown area.
Joining together parts of sentences (clauses): The meeting started late, but the presenter was not prepared.
1. Which conjunction best fits in this sentence? Use and, or, but.
It was decided to host the stakeholders on either Friday this week _____ Friday of next week.
2. Which conjunction best fits in this sentence? Use and, or, but.
The business manager balanced the books _____ informed the company of the profits.
3. Which conjunction best fits in this sentence? Use and, or, but.
I outlined the chapter, _____ it didn’t really help me understand the material very well.
1. or (the event will happen this week or next week; joins phrases)
2. and (the business manager is in charge of both tasks; joins words)
3. but (despite outlining the chapter, the person didn’t really benefit from it; joins parts of sentences that show contrast)
Besides the conjunctions “and,” “but,” and “or,” there are other coordinating conjunctions that join words, phrases, and parts of sentences (clauses). These include “for,” “nor,” “yet,” and “so.”
She studied several hours each night. She wanted a better life for everyone.
I didn’t want to take on the new job nor the responsibilities.
Leo worked long hours and did commendable work, yet he was not offered a raise this year.
Traveling abroad boosted his English skills so he was much more proficient in the language.
1. How many conjunctions are in the sentence?
Hillary and Hank completed their master’s degrees but they needed to officially graduate so they could be hired by the company.
2. Fill in the blank with the correct coordinating conjunction.
It wasn’t morning ____, but Jackson didn’t want to miss the chance to swim before his doctor’s appointment.
3. Fill in the blank with the correct coordinating conjunction.
The weather was warm enough _____ planting the vegetable garden.
4. Fill in the blank with the correct coordinating conjunction.
It was decided that I would get a raise _____ I was really happy!
5. Fill in the blank with the correct coordinating conjunction.
My manager _____ his boss could attend the conference.
1. c. There are three conjunctions in the sentence: and, but, so.
2. a. yet
3. b. for
4. d. so
5. c. nor
Subordinating conjunctions join parts of the sentence with other parts. Common examples include “although,” “because,” “if,” “since,” “unless,” “until,” “while.”
The company had a mission statement, although it seldom followed it.
My vote is for Nancy as chairman because she is dependable, smart, and communicative.
I can stay and work later tonight if my husband can watch the children.
The business expanded since it was bought out.
The merger is expected to go through unless something unforeseen happens
The new job postings will be circulated until the positions are filled.
It’s difficult to complete my homework at home while the loud music is blaring.
Correlative conjunctions are used in pairs (“either/or,” “neither/nor,” “not only/but also”) to join alternatives or equal elements.
It was either take the world history class or the American history class.
The company was sold neither to the highest bidder nor the lowest bidder.
Not only did the company provide child care, but also it gave tuition reimbursement for graduate classes.
1. What’s the main difference between subordinate conjunctions and correlative conjunctions?
a. Subordinate conjunctions are used in pairs.
b. Correlative conjunctions are used in pairs.
2. Fill in the blank with the correct conjunction. Use although, because, if, since.
It was important to renew my license, _____ it was very expensive.
3. Fill in the blank with the correct conjunction. Use unless, until, while, because.
My wife was finishing her degree _____ I was completing mine.
4. Fill in the blank with the correct conjunction. Use either/or, neither/nor, not only/but also.
_____ did he study in Europe, _____ he studied in the United States.
5. Fill in the blank with the correct conjunction
It is important to _____ do the research online _____ to go to the library.
1. b. Correlative conjunctions are used in pairs.
3. while or because
4. Not only, but also
5. either, or
In this chapter, we’re going to cover the fundamentals of prepositions.
(This includes what they are, different types of prepositions, and why they’re important.)
It will also show you how to make prepositional phrases and to determine the differences between prepositional phrases as adjectives or adverbs.
A preposition is a word that is used to show the relationship of a noun or pronoun to another word. Prepositions have many functions. They can show direction, position, and other relationships.
These are some common prepositions: above, across, after, around, at, before, behind, below, beside, between, during, for, from, inside, off, on, through, to, toward, under, with.
The science lab is around the corner from the biology room.
We were given instructions after the lecture.
Before we boarded the train, we had to buy the tickets.
I liked to play music during lunchtime.
It is always good to work toward a goal.
Your English skills will improve with effort and hard work!
1. How many prepositions are in the sentence?
Before the lecture began, the professor handed out some notes to the students with detailed images.
2. Fill in the blanks with the correct prepositions.
That scooter was made _____ the factory _____ California.
a. at, at
b. inside, on
c. for, beneath
d. inside, in
3. Which word is the preposition in the sentence?
There was vacant office space between the two offices.
1. c. three (before, to, with)
2. d. inside, in
3. c. between
Every prepositional phrase begins with a preposition. The phrase ends with an object (the noun or pronoun that follows the preposition). There may be other words in between the preposition and the object.
Let’s use the same sample sentences that were used earlier. Can you find the prepositional phrases?
The science lab is around the corner from the biology room. (around the corner; from the biology room)
We were given instructions after the lecture. (after the lecture)
Before we boarded the train, we had to buy the tickets. (before we boarded the train)
I liked to play music during lunchtime. (during lunchtime)
It is always good to work toward a goal. (toward a goal)
Your English skills will improve with effort and hard work! (with effort and hard work)
1. Identify the prepositional phrase in the sentence.
The snow in the mountains seemed to accumulate overnight.
a. the snow in
b. in the mountains
c. seemed to accumulate
d. accumulate overnight
2. How many prepositional phrases are in the sentence?
There were thunderstorms in the evening, and then the sky cleared for several hours before darkening once more.
3. Which statement is not true about prepositional phrases?
a. Prepositional phrases always begin with a preposition.
b. Prepositional phrases end with an object (the noun that follows the preposition).
c. There may be other words between the preposition and the object.
1. b. in the mountains (“in” is the preposition)
2. c. three (in the evening, for several hours, before darkening)
3. b. This statement is not true because prepositional phrases can end with an object that is a pronoun (as well as a noun).
Some prepositional phrases are used as adjectives to describe nouns or pronouns. Other prepositional phrases are used as adverbs to tell where, when, and how.
Look at the first sample sentence: The science lab is around the corner from the biology room.
In this sentence, the first prepositional phrase around the corner acts like an adverb and tells where the science lab is.
The second prepositional phrase from the biology room acts as an adjective to describe the corner.
1. Find the object of the preposition in this sentence.
The metal bridge needed repair as the structures were corroding under the main stretch.
2. Which sentence has a prepositional phrase that serves as an adjective?
a. The house with the swimming pool was just built.
b. Let’s go get some coffee in the café.
c. Sometimes, I have a headache in the morning.
d. She wanted to write the report by herself.
1. d. stretch The prepositional phrase “under the main stretch” is made up of the preposition “under” that shows where the structures were corroding: The structures were corroding under the main stretch.
2. a. The prepositional phrase “with the swimming pool” describes the house and serves as an adjective. The other answer choices use prepositional phrases that serve as an adverb: b. in the new café (where they will go get coffee); c. in the morning (when the person has a headache); d. by herself (how she wants to write the report).
In this chapter, we’re going to cover the fundamentals of interjections.
(This includes what they are, different types of interjections, and why they’re important.)
It will also show you how to use different forms of punctuation with interjections and explain the informal and formal use of interjections.
Interjections are exclamatory or parenthetical words that often are used at the beginning of a sentence or clause. These words are used to express a feeling like surprise, excitement, or dismay. (In some cases, they may act as a different part of speech, but if they are used to express a feeling, then they are interjections.)
Example: good, my goodness, gosh, great, hah, hello, here, hey, huh, hurrah, hush, indeed, now, oh, oh well, oops, ouch, so, there, ugh, well, what, whoa, whoopee, whoops, why, wow, ya, yay, yes, yo.
1. How many interjections are in the dialogue?
“Wow! That was a great job you did,” the professor told me.
“Yes! I can’t believe it was finished a week early! Hurrah! Hurrah! Hurrah!” I replied.
2. Which of the following cannot be used as an interjection?
3. What is the main purpose of an interjection?
a. to use slang
b. to use short words
c. to express feelings
1. d. five (wow, yes, hurrah, hurrah, hurrah)
2. c. too The other answer choices can all be used as interjections.
3. c. Interjections are used to express feelings.
Interjections are set off by an exclamation point to show deep emotions.
Yes! Ouch! Wow!
Yes! I got an A on my project.
Ouch! I hurt my knee on the desk drawer.
Wow! I can’t believe the raise my boss offered me.
They may be followed by a question mark if they precede wondering about something.
Huh? Did I hear that announcement correctly? Were we to report to the cafeteria?
What? That can’t be true. Mr. Leonard is leaving the company?
And they might be set off by a comma if they begin the sentence.
Now, Here, Oh,…
Now, it’s almost time for the conference call to start. Are you ready?
Here, please use my phone. I can see that you are charging yours.
Oh, I really don’t understand why that product line was discontinued. It seemed to be doing well.
If the interjection is within the sentence, it may be set off by commas on each side or dashes on both sides.
I decided to take the new job, oh well, it could only be a step up from this job.
She has transferred to a different department–hush–don’t tell anyone yet.
1. What part of speech is usually used to set off an interjection at the beginning of the sentence?
2. When an interjection is in the middle of a sentence, it is set off by _____ or _____.
a. commas on each side; dashes on both sides
b. periods on each side; commas on both sides
c. exclamation marks on each side; dashes on both sides
d. dashes on each side; periods on both sides
3. Identify the interjection that is written the sentence.
It is three months until summer vacation and, my goodness, I don’t know if I can wait that long!
b. my goodness
c. don’t know
d. that long
1. b. comma A comma is often used to set off an interjection at the beginning of a sentence. (Exclamation points can also be used as well as question marks.) The other answer choices are incorrect.
2. a. Interjections in the middle of a sentence are set off by commas on each side and dashes on both sides.
3. b. my goodness The interjection “my goodness” is set off by commas in the middle of the sentence.
Another purpose to use interjections is to make a smooth transition to the speaker’s or writer’s next point(s). Some common examples include well, um, duh.
Well, I wonder what the work schedule will be like this week?
Um, it’s hard to tell if my boss read the email or not.
Duh, why wasn’t that included in the budget?
Still, another reason to use interjections is just to add some pizazz to the language. It’s a way to use description in a quick, fun way.
Interjections are probably best used in everyday speech, with your friends, and in informal casual situations opposed to more formal situations.
Some interjections are not suitable for formal writing like in business writing or in formal speeches. For example, the use of duh, gosh, hah, hey, huh, hush, oops, ouch, ugh, um, whoa, whoopee, whoops, ya, yay, yo should be avoided in more formal situations. If you are unsure whether to use a certain interjection, it is best to avoid the interjection.
1. Besides expressing your feelings, interjections have other purposes in your speech and writing. What are two of these?
a. the words are easy for everyone to pronounce
b. the words can be easily understood by all
c. the words make a smooth transition to the next point(s)
d. the words add pizazz to your language
2. When are interjections typically used?
a. in professional settings
b. in informal situations
c. among your friends
d. in formal speeches
1. c., d. Interjections are used to make a smooth transition to the next point(s) in written or oral speech. They are also used to add some pizzazz (interest/personality) to your language.
2. b., c. Interjections are typically used in informal situations and among friends. Some interjections are too casual to be used in formal and professional situations.
That concludes this overview on parts of speech. Hopefully, it helped you gain some new understanding of the English language. It can also serve as a guidebook when you have English-related questions.
Oh, wow! Now, it’s time for you to practice your English.
Find situations for you to use the language both in speaking and writing.
Bit by bit, you will gain more and more proficiency (and confidence!) What are you waiting for?
Now I would like to hear from you. What parts of speech are the most interesting to you? What is the most challenging? Do you have any tips to help others learn parts of speech?
Let me know by leaving a comment below.