POLONIUS: What do you read, my lord?   HAMLET: Words, words, words.

When Polonius asks Hamlet what he’s reading, Hamlet responds, “Words, words, words.”

Whether the subject is art, small engine maintenance, or criminal justice, all learning boils down to knowing what to call things.

When it comes to learning language, the student needs to know what to call various kinds of words.

The basic terminology for talking about words is to be found in the PARTS OF SPEECH.

A word is a part of speech when it is used in a sentence. Before that, a word is just a word.

How a word is used in a sentence (its function) is what determines what part of speech it is. For example, the word run can be used as more than one part of speech:

Sammy hit a home run. In this sentence, run is a noun.

You mustn’t run near the swimming pool. In this sentence, run is a verb.

When you have learned the descriptions and definitions of the EIGHT PARTS OF SPEECH, you’ll be ready to proceed to learning how to be a better speaker and writer.

NOUN

PRONOUN

VERB

ADJECTIVE

ADVERB

PREPOSITION

CONJUNCTION

INTERJECTION

3 Responses

  1. Joanna,
    The verb in your sentence is intransitive. The action of an intransitive verb stays with the verb. The action has no receiver. Examples: The man lives. The bird sings. The child laughs.

    The action of a transitive verb goes from the verb to a receiver. Examples: The motorist struck a deer. The batter hit a home run. With a transitive verb, there is always a word that answers the question “what?” “struck what?” “hit what?” The word that answers the question “what?” is the direct object.

    Prepositions also have objects. In your sentence, “house” is the object of the preposition “in”. The prepositional phrase “in the house” modifies the verb “live.” It tells where the man lives. Words that tell “where” are adverbs. Phrases that tell “where” are adverb phrases.

    The sentence parsed:
    The: definite article
    man: noun
    lives: verb
    in: preposition
    the:def. art.
    house:noun

    The sentence analyzed:
    Complete Subject: The man
    Complete Predicate: lives in the house
    Verb: lives
    Extension of the verb: in the house

    You’ll find links to more information about analysis and parsing at the bottom of this post:
    Grammar Mastery Made Easy

  2. Please explain why ‘in the house’ is not the direct object in the sentence ‘The man lives in the house’. Please parse this sentence for me. Why do some verbs not take an object?

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