English - Parts of Speech

Example

For each highlighted word, choose the correct part of speech.

Then a bizarre thing happened. The shed started to lift slowly off the ground. Taahir felt that he should be doing something, probably running in the opposite direction, but he stood, transfixed.

bizarre a) verb b) adverb c) adjective d) noun
slowly a) noun b) adjective c) adverb d) preposition
Taahir a) proper noun b) common noun c) collective noun d) abstract noun
stood a) pronoun b) verb c) noun d) article

This is the sort of question that your child may have encountered in literacy lessons - those of us of a certain age will remember the way that grammar was hardly taught in our primary school days but now it's back on the curriculum in a strong way. Your child should be familiar with nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs and connectives (or conjunctions - at this level the two are interchangeable). If not, use the checklist at the end. They should have heard reference to determiners (or articles) and possibly know about different types of nouns.

To do these questions, the only advice is to practise assiduously. The more you do them, the more they become second nature. Don't teach that certain words are a particular part of speech - we can all think of many words that are different depending on the context they are used in. Teach that every word does a job in a sentence and your child's job is to work out the job.

Noun A place, person, concept or thing, e.g. ‘table’, ‘darkness’, ‘England’.
Verb An action or state of being. A ‘doing word’ as it’s rather simply put but there are plenty of verbs which don’t involve any ‘doing’ or action, e.g. ‘I like’.
Adjective Describes a noun, e.g. ‘long’.
Adverb A word which modifies the verb. Often ends in 'ly' to show how something is done.
Pronoun A word which stands in place of a noun, e.g. ‘he’.
Preposition A word which shows the position of something in relation to another, e.g. ‘above’.
Conjunction A word which links together two shorter sentences or clauses, e.g. ‘but’.
Determiner Words which explain the reference of a noun, e.g. 'a', 'all', 'his'. Within this group, 'the' is known as the definite article and 'a' / 'an' are indefinite articles.

Within the nouns category there are several sub-categories. Normal nouns - objects - are called COMMON nouns while a name of a person, place or brand is a PROPER noun. Something which cannot be physically seen or touched is an ABSTRACT noun (for instance, 'childhood' or 'hardship') and something which cannot be counted (therefore has no plural) is known as a MASS noun. An example could be 'petrol'.

Armed with all this information, we can look at our sample questions.

The job of 'bizarre' in the sentence is to describe a noun, so it is an ADJECTIVE.

The word 'slowly' is a word which shows how something is done; it is therefore an ADVERB.

'Taahir' is a name - be aware that children in schools with very little ethnic diversity will often look bemused by some of the names used in test papers, which reflect the diversity of the country as a whole. Make sure they know that a capitalised word like this is very likely to be someone's name and at least a PROPER NOUN.

Finally, 'stood' follows a pronoun and is the action that is carried out. It is therefore a VERB.

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