Parts of Speech

Punctuation helps the reader to make sense of what has been written. When we speak, we use not only words but also body language, voice tone and emphasis, and pauses to convey our message. When we write, on the other hand, we need to use punctuation marks to help the reader understand our meaning.

This resource will consider the following writing skills:



Nouns are “name” words. [show | hide]

They can be names for:


For example:







Periods of time:

day, month, year
morning, afternoon, evening





Nouns can be countable or uncountable,
i.e., some nouns you can count, e.g., one book or two books.
Others you cannot count, e.g., music. You cannot say musics.



A pronoun is used in place of a noun or nouns. [show | hide]

Type of Pronoun



Subjective Pronouns


A subjective pronoun acts as the subject of the sentence; they are:
I, we, you, he, she, it and they.

I have lost my keys.
He spends a lot of time on the computer.
They were late for the concert.

Objective Pronouns



An objective pronoun acts as the object of a sentence; they are:
her, him, it, me, them, us and you.

Sophie gave me a gift voucher.
I showed them my ipad.

Posessive Pronouns


A possessive pronoun tells you who owns something; they are: hers, his, its, mine, ours, theirs and yours.

Mine is on the desk.
His was the best exhibit.
This book is yours.
Their flowers are as good as ours.

Demonstrative Pronouns



A demonstrative pronoun points out a noun; they are: that, these, this and those.

That is a good idea.
These books belong to Jan.
This is the meat I bought from the supermarket.

Interrogative Pronouns


An interrogative pronoun is used in a question; they are: what, which, who, whom, whatever, whichever, whoever and whomever.
The interrogative pronoun may look like an interrogative adjective, but it is used differently in a sentence. It acts as a pronoun, taking the place of a noun.

Who left the door open?
What are you doing?
Where are you going?
Who told you to do that?

Indefinite Pronouns


An indefinite pronoun refers to an indefinite, or general, person or thing; they include: all, any, both, each, everyone, few, many, neither, none, nothing, several, some, something and somebody.
An indefinite pronoun may look like an indefinite adjective.

Something smells good.
Many like salad with their dinner.
Somebody must have seen the accident.

Relative Pronouns


A relative pronoun introduces a clause, or part of a sentence that describes a noun; they are: that, which, who and whom.

The girl, who likes swimming, competed at the Commonwealth Games.
You should buy the car that you love most.
Hector is a photographer who does great work.

Reflexive Pronouns


A reflective pronoun refers back to the subject of the sentence; they are: herself, himself, itself, myself, ourselves, themselves, and yourselves.

I learned a lot about myself at summer camp.
They should divide the chocolates among themselves.
John made the cake himself.

Intensive Pronouns


An intensive pronoun emphasizes its antecedent
(the noun that comes before it); they are:
herself, himself, itself, myself, ourselves, themselves, and yourselves.
Unlike reflexive pronouns, intensive pronouns are not essential to the basic meaning of a sentence.

I myself do not play sport.
The chef herself came to our table.






These describe/modify/give more information about a noun. [show | hide]

Examples: Big, green, beautiful, old, crazy, hungry, noisy



These are action words/doing words.
These words tell what the noun is doing. [show | hide]




I write a lot


They dance well


We talk about the news.


Do you remember that?


I love learning


The hammer hits the nail



These words describe/modify/give more information about verbs, other adverbs and adjectives.
These words often (but do not always) end in “y” or “ly”. [show | hide]

Examples: Happily, loudly, slowly, neatly, very, fast, hard



These link words, or parts of sentences. [show | hide]

Examples: and, but, because, if, although, or, until, since



These link nouns/pronouns to other words in a sentence.
Prepositions go before the noun or pronoun. [show | hide]

Examples: to, with, near, of, at, from, under, during, through



The 3 articles in English are a, an and the. [show | hide]

Before singular countable nouns you can use a/an and the.

Instead of an article, uncountable nouns can be preceded by a determiner such as some/any/much/this/his etc.

Nouns can be countable or uncountable nouns.

  • Some nouns you can count, e.g., one book or two books

  • Others you cannot count, e.g., music. You cannot say musics

Many nouns can be used as countable or as uncountable nouns.


I bought a paper (= a newspaper - countable)
I bought some paper (= material for writing – uncountable)

Some nouns are uncountable in English but are often countable in other languages.
For example:
advice       furniture       weather       information       traffic       news       bread      behaviour



These are words of exclamation and are usually followed by an exclamation mark. [show | hide]

Examples: Wow! Hey! Ugh! Oops! Ouch!
NB. Interjections are not used in academic writing except in transcription of speech.




“Name” words


Used in place of nouns


Describe/modify nouns


Tell what the noun is doing


Describe/modify: verbs, adjectives, other adverbs


Link words/ joining together words


Used before a noun or pronoun to link it to another part of the sentence







Murphy, R. (1985). English grammar in use: A self-study reference and practice book for intermediate students. Cambridge, England: Campbridge University Press.

Pronouns. (2008). Retrieved from

Shorebottom, P. (2012). A guide to learning English. Retrieved from