Monday, December 02, 2019

Pronouns, Prepositions, Adjectives and Adverbs: Parts of Speech


The English language is comprised of eight different parts.  These parts include pronouns, prepositions, adjectives, and adverbs.  When joined together will make sentences both grammatically correct and readable.

Types of Pronouns

Pronouns are words that substitute nouns in a sentence, and are often used to avoid repetition of the same noun repeatedly. 

Common pronouns are made up of I, me, mine, she, he, it, we, and us.  There are a myriad of different types of pronouns, each with its own purpose.
Personal Pronouns

Personal pronouns are usually used to substitute a person's name, and are either found to be subjective or objective pronouns.  Which means they either operate as the subject or object of a sentence.

As the subject of the sentence, they are:
  • I
  • you
  • he
  • she
  • it
  • we
  • they
Sentence examples:
  • They went to the market.
  • I don't want to move.
  • She runs a great shop in town.
  • you can't leave, either.
As the object of the sentence:
  • me
  • you
  • her
  • him
  • it
  • us
  • them
Sentence examples:
  • Please don't stand beside me.
  • Go talk to him.
  • Alice put the gift under it.
  • Don't stare at them.
Possessive Pronouns

A possessive pronoun shows ownership or control of a noun.  
They are:
  • my
  • our
  • your
  • his
  • her
  • its
  • their
Sentence examples:
  • Is that my wallet?
  • No, that's her book.
  • That's its shelf.
  • I'd like to see their book stands.
There are, however, independent possessive pronouns, referring to a previously named or understood noun.  Usually these pronouns stand alone and aren't followed by another noun.
They are:
  • mine
  • ours
  • yours
  • his
  • hers
  • its
  • theirs
Sentence examples:
  • That's mine.
  • Wrong, it's ours.
  • So, I suppose those shoes are yours?
  • No, it's theirs.
Indefinite Pronouns

As the name suggests indefinite pronouns don't pinpoint any particular nouns.  They're used when an object doesn't need to be specifically identified.
These include:
  • few
  • everyone
  • all
  • some
  • anything
  • nobody
Sentence examples:
  • Most prosperity is held by a select few.
  • Everyone is already ready.
  • I don't have any forks.  Can you bring some?
  • He's nobody.
Relative Pronouns

Relative pronouns connect a clause of phrase to a noun or pronoun.  Usually used when we need to add more information.  
They are:
  • who
  • whom
  • which
  • whoever
  • whomever
  • whichever
  • that
Sentence examples:
  • The bike rider who ran the stop sign was careless.
  • I don't know which pair of sandals you want.
  • No, not that one.
Intensive Pronouns

Intensive pronouns are usually used to intensify, or emphasise, pronouns or nouns.  They can be found after the noun they're intensifying.  Usually ending in -self or -selves. 
 They are:
  • myself
  • himself
  • herself
  • themselves
  • itself
  • yourself
  • yourselves
  • ourselves
Sentence examples:
  • I myself like to explore.
  • He himself is his worst castigator.
  • He approved the marriage himself.
  • We went to hear T. S. Eliot.
Demonstrative Pronouns

Demonstrative pronouns generally take the place of a noun that's already been quoted.  They can be plural or singular, and there are five of them.  
They include:
  • these
  • those
  • this
  • that
  • such
Sentence examples:
  • These are ghastly.
  • Those are lovely.
  • Don't eat this.
  • Such was her appreciation.
Interrogative Pronouns

Interrogative pronouns, do what they say, they pose a question.  
They are:
  • who
  • whom
  • which
  • what
  • whoever
  • whomever
  • whichever
  • whatever
Sentence examples:
  • Who is going to appear first?
  • What are you bringing to the celebration?
  • Which of these do you like better?
  • Whatever do you mean?
Reflexive Pronouns

Similar to intensive pronouns, reflexive pronouns are essential to a sentence's meaning, unlike intensive pronouns that aren't.  They're also used when the subject and the object of a sentence refers to the same person or thing.  These particular pronouns end in -self or -selves.  They are:
  • myself
  • yourself
  • himself
  • herself
  • itself
  • ourselves
  • yourselves
  • themselves
Sentence examples:
  • I told myself not to spend all my money on new sandals.
  • You're going to have to drive yourself to the cafe today.
  • We gave ourselves plenty of extra time.
  • They bought themselves a new car.

Prepositions play an important part in the English language.  They are used to show a relationship between the noun and pronoun in a sentence.  All prepositions must be followed by a noun or pronoun in a sentence, but never by a verb.

Examples of Prepositions

The five different kinds of prepositions:
  1. Simple prepositions
  2. Double prepositions
  3. Compound prepositions
  4. Participle prepositions
  5. Phrase prepositions
Simple Prepositions

Words like at, for, in, off, on, over and under are all simple prepositions.  These commonly used prepositions can be used to describe a location, time or place.

For example:
  • She sat on the chair.
  • There is some juice in the fridge.
  • She was hiding under the table.
  • The mouse jumped off the counter.
  • She drove over the bridge.
  • She lost her bracelet at the beach.
  • The book belongs to Kirsty.
  • They were sitting by the tree.
  • We are walking in the gym today.
  • The sun is above the clouds.
  • He lives near his workplace.
  • He drew the picture with a pencil.
  • She swam at the lake.
  • I ran down the street.
  • We located the key for the lock.
  • The car went through the tunnel.
  • I got a parcel from a friend.
  • I have liked that song since 2010.
  • She put the flowers by the window.
  • The food was placed on the bench.
Double Prepositions

Double prepositions are commonly two simple prepositions used together, generally indicating direction.  Some simple examples of these are into, upon, onto, out of, from within.
  • Once upon a time, there was a handsome prince.
  • The cat climbed onto the table.
  • It is up to us to find the answer.
  • The loud noise came from within the house.
  • He never leaves without his mobile phone.
  • The pigeon sat atop the house.
  • The caterpillar turned into a butterfly.
  • I was unable to get out of the appointment.
Compound Prepositions

Compound prepositions comprise of two or more words, normally a simple preposition and another word, to convey location.  Simple examples are in addition to, on behalf of, and in the middle of.
  • He sat across from Marie.
  • I attended the meeting on behalf of my company.
  • We were in the middle of the storm.
  • She has gym class in addition to her regular classes today.
  • She picked up the penny from beneath the couch.
  • Aside from dancing, she also sings at the bar.
  • My bike was parked in front of the mailbox.
  • The weather will be good this weekend according to Richard.
Participle Prepositions

Participle prepositions usually end in -ed and -ing.  Some examples are words like considering, during, concerning, provided
  • He is interested in anything concerning horses.
  • She works one job during the day and another at night.
  • The cat kept following me home.
  • All the neighbours were there including the new one.
  • The Professor was asking questions regarding his behaviour.
  • Considering her age, she did a great a job.
  • The teacher said no talking during class.
Phrase Prepositions

Phrase prepositions usually include, an object, and the object's modifier.  Simple examples are phrases like on time, at home, before class. and on the floor.
  • I will get to the conference on time.
  • The baseball game was cancelled after the heavy rain.
  • Tom found his homework under the bed.
  • The children loved the gifts from their grandparents.
  • She succeeded with a little help.
  • We met to discuss the project before class.
  • He left muddy footprints on the clean floor.
  • According to her wishes, her funeral will be private.

What Does an Adjective Look Like?

Adjectives are words that describe nouns, by using each of these questions:  Which one is it? How many are there? What kind is it?  Adjectives are usually a single word, clause or phrase.

Take a look at these examples:

Carl decided that the fuzzy green bread would make an unappetising sandwich.

What kind of bread? Fuzzy and green! What kind of sandwich? Unappetising!

A friend with a fat wallet will never want for a weekend shopping partner.

What kind of friend? One with money to spend!

A sock that is still warm from the dryer is more comforting than a hot chocolate.

What kind of sock? One right out of the dryer!

How Many?

Eight hungry space aliens slithered into the diner and ordered chocolate milkshakes.

How many hungry space aliens? Eight!

The students, six freshman and seven sophomores, braved Dr. Ripley's killer calculus exam.

How many students? Thirteen!

The disorganised pile of books, which contained eighteen overdue volumes from the library and six unread class texts, blocked the doorway in Sarah's room.

How many books? Twenty-four!

Which One is It?

The unhealthiest item from the cafeteria is the ham sub, which will slime your hands with grease.

Which item from the cafeteria? Certainly not the one that will help lower your cholesterol!

The fly eyeing your cake has started to fly this way.

Which fly? Not the one flying towards you who wants your cake!

The students who neglected to prepare for Mrs. White's English class hide in the cafeteria rather than risk their teacher's wrath.

Which students? Not the good students but the lazy skivers.

Learn How to Punctuate a Series of Adjectives

Describing a noun fully may require two or more adjectives.  Occasionally a series of adjectives requires commas, but this isn't always the case.  What makes the difference?

When adjectives are coordinate, you must use commas between them.  On the other hand, if the adjectives are non coordinate, no commas are required.  How can you tell the difference?

Coordinate Adjectives

You can test coordinate adjectives with these two tests.  When you (1) reorder the series or (2) insert and between them, they still make sense.

For example:

The tall, creamy, delicious milkshake melted on the counter while the preoccupied waiter flirted with the pretty cashier.

Here's the revision:

The delicious, tall, creamy milkshake melted on the counter while the preoccupied waiter flirted with the pretty cashier.

All of the adjectives make sense, even though the order was changed.

Even when and is inserted between the adjectives, you still have a clear sentence:

The tall and creamy and delicious milkshake melted on the counter while the preoccupied waiter flirted with the pretty cashier.

Non coordinate Adjectives

Non coordinate adjectives make no sense when you add or insert and between them.

For example:

Jeanne's two fat Burmese cats hog the electric blanket on cold winter evenings.

When the order is switched, the sentence becomes incomprehensible.

For example:

Fat Burmese two Jeanne's cats hog the electric blanket on cold winter evenings.

Things will become even more incomprehensible when you switch the order of the adjectives.

Fat Burmese two Jeanne's cats hog the electric blanket on cold winter evenings.

Logic will evaporate when you insert and between the adjectives.

Jeanne's and two and fat and Burmese cats hog the electric blanket on cold winter evenings.

How to Form Comparative and Superlative Adjectives Correctly

To differentiate, you will often need comparative or superlative adjectives. Comparative adjectives are used to discuss two people, places, or things.  Superlative adjectives are used for three or more people, places, or things.

Here are some examples:

Nicola, a suck up who sits in the front row, has a thicker notebook than Carol, who never comes to class.

The thinnest notebook belongs to Steve, a computer geek who scans all notes and handouts and saves them on the hard drive of his PC.

Comparative Adjectives

Comparative adjectives can be formed in two ways.  Er can be added to the end of the adjective, or you can use more or less before it.  However, do not, do both!  The rules of grammar will be violated if you claim that you are more taller, more smarter, or less faster than your older sister Carol.

One-syllable adjectives generally take er at the end, for example:

Because Chester is a smaller cat than Chevron, he loses the fights for tuna fish.

For lunch, we ordered a bigger pizza than usual so that we would have cold leftovers for dinner.

Two-syllable adjectives vary, for example:

Lucy is lazier than an old dog; he is perfectly happy spending an entire Saturday on the couch watching old movies and napping.

The new suit makes Malcolm more handsome than a movie star.

Use more or less before adjectives with three or more syllables:

Films on our new flat-screen television are, thankfully, less colourful; we no longer have to stomach the electric greens and nuclear pinks of the old unit.

Linda is more understanding than anyone I know; she watches where she steps to avoid squashing a poor bug by accident.

Superlative Adjectives

Superlative adjectives can be formed in two ways as well.  By adding est to the end of the adjective, or you can use most or least before it.  However, do not, do both!  Another grammatical rule will be violated if you claim that you are the most brightest, most happiest, or least angriest member of your family.

One-syllable adjectives normally take est at the end.

For example: 

These are the bitterest lemon-roasted squid tentacles that I have ever eaten!

Scott, the tallest member of the class, must sit in the front row because he has bad eyes; the rest of us crane around him for a glimpse of the board.

Two-syllable adjectives can vary. 

For example:

Because John refuses to read directions, he made the crunchiest mashed potatoes ever in the history of instant food.

Because David has a crush on Ms. White, his English teacher, he believes that she is the most beautiful creature to walk the planet.

Most or least can be used before adjectives with three or more syllables:

The most annoying experience of Helena's day was arriving home to discover that the onion rings were missing from her drive-thru order.

The least believable detail of the story was that the space aliens had offered Eli a slice cheese and ham pizza before his release.


What Does an Adverb Look Like?

Adverbs modify the meaning of verbs, adjectives, other adverbs and clauses.

For example:

Our Labrador Goldie sleeps on the living room floor.

Is Goldie a sound sleeper, curled into a tight ball?  Or is he a sporadic sleeper, his paws twitching while he dreams? The addition of an adverb alters the meaning of the verb sleeps so that the reader has a clearer picture.

Our Labrador Goldie sleeps quietly on the living room floor.

Adverbs can be single words, or they can be clauses or phrases.  Adverbs respond to one of these four questions: How? When? Where? and Why?

Some single-word examples:

Vicky rudely grabbed the last white chocolate cookie.

The adverb rudely fine-tunes the verb grabbed.

Michael stumbled in the completely dark kitchen.

The adverb totally fine-tunes the adjective dark.

Mary very happily accepted the ten-point late penalty to work on her research thesis one more day.

The adverb very fine-tunes the adverb happily.

Unusually, the restroom stalls had toilet paper.

The adverb unusually modifies the entire main clause that follows.

There are many single-word adverbs that end in ly.  From the examples above you saw quietly, rudely, completely, happily, and unusually.

Other adverbs ending in ly such as, lively, lonely, and lovely are adjectives and answer these questions, What kind? or Which one?

A lot of single-word adverbs have no specific ending, such as next, not, often, seldom, and then.  If you're not sure if a word is an adverb or not, use a dictionary to decide its part of speech.

Adverbs can also be multi-word phrases and clauses. 

For example:

At 3 a.m., a bird flew through Lucy's open bedroom window.

The prepositional phrase at 3 a.m. shows when the event happened.  The second prepositional phrase, through Lucy's bedroom window, details where the bird travelled.

With a fork, Henry beat the raw eggs until they foamed.

The subordinate clause until they foamed describes how Henry prepared the eggs.

Carol emptied the carton of milk into the sink because the expiration date had long passed.

The subordinate clause because the expiration date had long passed describes why Carol poured out the milk.

Steer Clear of an Adverb When a Single, Stronger Word Will Do

Many bibliophiles think that adverbs make sentences bloated and flabby.  Use a powerful single word, instead of a two-word combination, it will give your sentence more punch!

For example, instead of writing drink quickly when you mean gulp, or walk slowly when you mean saunter, or very hungry when you mean ravenous.

Configure Comparative and Superlative Adverbs Correctly

To make distinctions, you will often need comparative or superlative adverbs.  You use comparative adverbs, more and less, if you are discussing two people, places, or things.  You use superlative adverbs, most and least, if you have three or more people, places, or things.

For example:

Debra loves green vegetables, so she eats broccoli more frequently than her brother Colin.

Among the members of her family, Debra eats cheese and tomato pizza the least often.

Adjectives Shouldn't Be Used When an Adverb is Required

People will often say, "Tony is really smart" or "This fish sauce is really salty."

Adjectives such as smart or salty, cannot be modified by another adjective like real.

Train yourself to add the extra ly syllable when you speak, this way you'll remember when you write, at a time when its absence will likely cost you respect!

Recognise That an Adverb is not Part of the Verb

Certain verbs require up to four words to complete the tense.  Multi-part verbs have a base or main part as well as auxiliary or helping verb with it.

When a short adverb such as also, never, or not intrudes, it is still an adverb, not part of the verb.

For example:

For her birthday, Eleanor would also like a jar of dill pickles.

Would like = verb; also = adverb.

After that dreadful stew you made last night, Sarah will never eat carrots or mince again.

Will eat = verb; never = adverb.

Despite the imminent deadline, Carol-Ann has not started her research thesis.

Has started = verb; not = adverb
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