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  • Vocabulary


Notes & Activities:

Many of you battle to identify the parts of speech in a sentence.  We need to rectify this because it will ALWAYS come up in exams and nobody can afford to throw away these marks.

So how do we do this?  We think of a rugby team.

The team consists of 15 players, each performing a specific task.  How do you know which player is playing in which position?  Simple.  We watch what he's doing on the field.

If he's jumping in the line-out, then he's the lock. 

If he's throwing the ball into the scrum, then he's the scrum-half.

If he's kicking the ball around the field, then he's the fly-half.

If he's strutting his stuff in a tight skirt and stripper-heels, then he's ... the hooker???

The same is true of the parts of speech. 

You simply look at the sentence and figure out what the particular word is doing in the sentence.  Is it naming a person, place or thing?  Then it's a noun.  Is it linking two phrases or clauses?  Then it's a conjunction. 

And so on.

It's really NOT that hard to figure out!  You just need to know the functions of each of the nine parts of speech off by heart and then THINK.  Apply your knowledge to the sentence and reason it out. 

Now before you start getting all hysterical over actually having to learn nine parts of speech ~ heaven forbid ~ consider how many songs you know off by heart ... or how many sports stars or celebrities you can name ... etc, etc, etc.  If you can recall all that, you can SURELY remember nine tiny parts of speech, for goodness sake!!!

So, study the notes below and memorise them off by heart, then tackle the exercises.  You'll get it in no time, I promise you.


Nouns provides labels or names for people, places, things or ideas:

  • Person ... e.g. teacher, Mrs Claassen
  • Place ... e.g. suburb, Milnerton
  • Thing ... e.g. book, poem
  • Idea ... e.g. knowledge, inspiration

All nouns are either common (i.e. non-specific) or proper (i.e. specific) nouns:

  • Common Nouns ... e.g. school
  • Proper Nouns ... e.g. Milnerton High School

Other types of nouns include:

  • Collective Nouns ... e.g. gang of boys, fleet of cars
  • Compound Nouns ... e.g. physical education
  • Abstract Nouns ... e.g. love (emotion), democracy (concept), poverty (state of being)


A pronoun is a word that is used to replace a noun. 

Without pronouns, we would sound ridiculous = John wanted to go to the shop because John thought that John might need something for John's cold.  So John hopped into John's car and went. 

It sounds way less clumsy to replace the noun with a pronoun = John wanted to go to the shop because he thought that he might need something for his cold.  So he hopped into his car and went.

There are seven types of pronouns:

  • Personal Pronouns ... e.g. I, you, he, she, it, we, us, they, them
  • Possessive Pronouns ... e.g. his, hers, ours, mine, its
  • Relative Pronouns ... e.g. who, whose, whom, which, that
  • Reflexive Pronouns ... e.g. himself, herself, themselves, itself
  • Interrogative Pronouns ... e.g. what? who? whose?
  • Indefinite Pronouns ... e.g. Someone, anyone, no one
  • Demonstrative Pronouns ... e.g. this, these, those


Adjectives define, describe, illustrate, or in some way give more information about nouns (or pronouns) to which they are always attached.  We call this 'qualifying' the noun.

  • John is watching a funny movie.
  • A recent movie review told him it would be good.
  • John went with his two friends.
  • They spent much time at the movies.

If you want to identify an adjective in a sentence, first identify the noun and then ask yourself if the word adds to your understanding of it.  If so, then it's an adjective.

Word Search - Adjectives


Verbs aren't easy to deal with because there's a whole lot more to them than I'm going to describe here, but basically, verbs express action or behaviour.  They tell us what an object does (or did, or will do).

There are three types of verbs:

  • The action verb tells us what action a subject has performed in the past / is performing now / will perform in the future ... e.g. he ran, his is running, he will run.
  • The linking verb connects (or links) a subject to a noun / adjective.  The most common linking verb is the verb "to be".  Different forms of the verb "to be" = is, are, was, were, been, being, am ... e.g. It is Friday.  I am Mrs Claassen.  It was a Toyota. 
  • The helping verb assists the main verb in a sentence ... e.g. am, is, are, was, were, be, been, being, has, had, have, do, does, did, may, might, must, can, could, shall, should, will, would

Word Search - Verbs


Just as adjectives 'qualify' the noun, adverbs 'modify' verbs, adjectives or other adverbs.  In other words, they tell us the time, place or manner in which the action happened, or the extent to which it happened: 

  • Adverbs modify verbs ... e.g. John ate quickly. (= Manner)
  • Adverbs modify other adverbs ... e.g. John ate too quickly. (= Manner)
  • Adverbs modify adjectives ... e.g. The food was very delicious. (= Extent)

Word Search - Adverbs


Prepositions show the relationships between a noun (or pronoun) and another noun (or pronoun) ... e.g. What is the relationship between the dog and the table?  The dog (noun) is under the table (noun).

  • Examples of common prepositions include ... aboard, about, above, across, after, against, along, among, around, as, at, before, behind, below, beneath, beside, besides, between, beyond, but, by, concerning, despite, down, during, except, for, from, in, inside, into, like, near, of, off, on, onto, opposite, out, outside, over, past, since, through, throughout, till, to, toward, under, underneath, until, up, upon, with, within, without
  • Examples of compound-word prepositions ... as regards, up to, near to, because of, with regard to, as far as, as well as, on behalf of, in accordance with


Conjunctions connect words, phrases, or clauses ... e.g. The boys and girls walked to class.  I would like to help but I am too busy.

There are three types of conjunctions:

  • Co-ordinating Conjunctions join two words, phrases or clauses of equal weight ... e.g. for, and, nor, but, or, yet
  • Correlative Conjunctions functions in the same way as a co-ordinating conjunction, only it consists of a pair of words ... e.g. both/and, either/or, neither/nor, only/but also, whether/or
  • Sub-ordinating Conjunctions join a main clause with a less important clause that provides extra information about the main clause ... e.g. after, although, as, because, before, even though, if, in order, since, so that, that, though, unless, until, where, whether, while


There are three articles:  a, an, the.


Interjections express emotions such as anger, pain or surprise ... e.g. Ahh!  Bravo!  Damn!  Eek!  Gosh!  Hallelujah!  Hey!  Hurray!  Mmm!  Oh!  Oh no!  Oops!  Ouch!  Really!  Well!  Whoa!  Wow!  Yeh!  Yes!  Yippee!

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Activity 1:

Let me show you what I mean by reasoning things out:


  • I am currently sitting comfortably on the couch in my country-style lounge with my high-tech computer on my lap.  I am working diligently on the "Parts of Speech" notes for my beloved learners. 


  • I (stands in for Mrs C = pronoun) am sitting (helping verb + action verb) comfortably (describes the way I am doing the verb, i.e. sitting = an adverb) on (describes the relationship between my butt and the couch = a preposition) the (article) couch (an object = a noun) in (shows the relationship between the couch and my lounge = a preposition) my (stands in for Mrs C = pronoun) country-style (describes my lounge = adjective) lounge (a place = a noun) with my (stands in for Mrs C = a pronoun) high-tech (describes the noun, i.e. my computer = an adjective) computer (an object = a noun) on (describes the relationship of my PC to my lap = a preposition) my (stands in for Mrs C = a pronoun) lap (a part of a person = a noun)I (stands in for Mrs C = a pronoun) am working (helping verb + action verb) diligently (describes the way that I am doing the verb = an adverb) on (shows the relationship between my actions and what I'm doing the action on = a preposition) the (article) "Parts of Speech" (describes the noun, i.e. notes = an adjective) notes (an object = a noun) for (shows the relationship between what I'm doing and who I'm doing it for = preposition) my (stands in for Mrs C = a pronoun) beloved (describes the noun = an adjective) learners (people = noun).

Now you do the same.  Identify each of the following words by figuring out their function in the sentence:

  • I enjoy watching The Cake Boss on the Discovery Channel.  I think they are so talented and I would love to make delicious, beautifully decorated cakes like they do.



You will never be able to master a subject if you don't have the vocabulary to support it.  So, please learn the following words (contained in these notes).  You will be examined on them.

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