The Four Basic Parts of Speech in English – Grammar Lesson

happy-english-grammar-parts-of-speechAs you study English, I think it’s a good idea to know some of the basic terms that your English teacher may use in the class. As in any language, there are different types words in a sentence, and each word has a certain function or purpose in the sentence. These are called “parts of speech.” For today’s free English lesson, I would like to show you four basic parts of speech in English.

Nouns are words that show people, places and things. Nouns often do or receive actions. Some examples of nouns are:

  • People: Jack, teacher, sister, friend, etc.
  • Places: New York, park, garden, town, city, etc.
  • Things: Desk, iPhone, pen, house, door, etc

Adjectives describe nouns. They usually come before the noun and tell us what kind of noun it is. There are many categories, but I will put just a few here:

  • Colors: blue, green, red, purple, etc
  • Appearance: beautiful, strange, ugly, nice, etc.
  • Size: small, large, round, square, tall, etc.
  • Others: tired, excited, interesting, amusing, good, bad, etc

So, based on this, we can combine adjectives and nouns like this:

  • blue pen, large house, interesting teacher, good friend, beautiful garden.

Verbs show action and existence. Some examples of verbs are:

  • be (used to show existence)
  • Actions: run, walk, jump, talk, say, imagine, want, can, etc.

Adverbs describe verbs. They usually come after the verb (except for some frequency adverbs) and tell us how the action was done. Many, but not all, adverbs in English end in ly:

  • quickly, slowly, carefully, suddenly, gently

So, based on this, we can combine adverbs and verbs like this:

  • run quickly, speak slowly, walk carefully, play gently.

It’s possible then to take all four parts of speech and make some basic sentences:

  • Jim speaks slowly. noun – verb – adverb
  • Small oranges are inexpensive. adjectivenoun – verb – adjective
  • New York has tall buildings. noun – verb – adjective – noun

Knowing this vocabulary (noun, verb, adjective, & adverb) will help you understand how your teacher speaks. I hope you find this useful.

If you know anyone who has trouble with this English language point, why not help them out! Just share this lesson with them. Thanks for studying today!

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Conjunction Combinations – Both/And, Either/Or, Neither/Nor, Not Only/But Also

I like both vanilla and chocolate ice cream.

I like both vanilla and chocolate ice cream.

<p>There are a few different English exams, but for American English, both TOEIC and TOEFL are the most common. I think either TOEIC or TOEFL can give you a fair assessment of your English skill, but TOEFL not only tests reading and listening, but also writing and speaking. Neither luck nor your good looks will help you get a good score on these exams. For that, you need to study.

For today’s English lesson, we’re going to look at four common conjunction patterns that often get tested on English exams like TOEFL & TOEIC. Have a look once more at the paragraph above, and then check today’s lesson.

The combination both/and indicates that the two items are equally presented and included. The grammar is both A and B:

  • I like both chocolate and vanilla ice cream.
  • Both Greg and his wife are big Yankee fans.
  • We have a lot of time today, so we can both visit the museum and see a movie.

The combination either/or indicates that there is a choice between the two choices, and only one can be selected:

  • You can have either ice cream or cheesecake for dessert, so please chose one.
  • Either Jack or Jim will go to the meeting next week.
  • We don’t have a lot of time today, so we can either visit the museum or see a movie.

The combination neither/nor indicates that neither of the two choices can be selected. In other words, neither choice is available:

  • You can have neither chocolate nor vanilla ice cream. We have just strawberry left.
  • Neither Greg nor his wife are hockey fans.
  • We have no free time today, so we can neither visit the museum nor see a movie.

The combination not only/but also is similar to both/and because it shows that both items presented are included. However, the item after not only is normally something we expect the speaker to say, whereas the item after but also is often something unexpected:

  • I not only like to eat cake and cookies, but I also enjoy baking.
  • Greg and his wife are not only big Yankee fans, but they also route for the Rangers.
  • Not only is it raining, but it is also supposed to snow later tonight.

Study these sentences, and try to memorize the patterns.
If you know anyone who has trouble with this English language point, why not help them out! Just share this lesson with them. Thanks for studying today!

Do you want to learn 365 American English Idioms? Get my book. You can download it here (a pdf) or get it for your mobile device or in paperback

 



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Learn The Difference Between When & While – TOEIC Grammar Study

When I was a kid, I used to love looking at my dad's tape recorder.

When I was a kid, I used to love looking at my dad’s tape recorder.

When I was a kid, I was very curious about electronic equipment. My dad had an old reel to reel tape recorder, and the back of it was open, so you could see the components. While he was playing music, I used to love to look at the back of the recorder and watch the moving parts. I got excited when he taught me how to use the machine, too. These days the old recorder just sits in the attic. While I was writing this lesson, I wondered if it still works. When I get home from work tonight, I think I’ll find out!

For today’s English lesson, let’s have a look at the difference between when and while. This comes up on the TOEIC exam sometimes, and even if you are not studying for TOEIC, I think it’s good to know. Both when and while are used to show two things happen at the same time:

  • When Jack gets to the office, we will begin the meeting.
  • While I was cooking dinner, the smoke alarm went off.

However, there are a few differences between these words.

We usually use while when we talk about two actions that are continuous, or actions that continue for a long period of time:

  • While I was working on the report, Jack was fixing the printer.
  • Jim is always listening to the radio while he is driving.
  • While I was sleeping, my neighbor was playing loud music.

We usually use when when we talk about two situations that happen at the same time:

  • When I got home I took off my suit and relaxed.
  • I got nervous when the boss called me into his office.
  • When I woke up I noticed it was raining.

We also us when, not while, when we talk about different points in our life:

  • When I was a kid, I was very curious about electronic equipment.
  • Jack played basketball when he was in high school.
  • When my parents got married they lived in the suburbs.

If you know anyone who has trouble with this English language point, why not help them out! Just share this lesson with them. Thanks for studying today!
 
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