UNDERSTANDING THE PARTS OF SPEECH
It is remarkable that words of the English language are so many, but their many uses are so few. All the words in the English language are arranged within eight classes
called Parts of Speech
This simple arrangement makes English grammar possible. To be good writers and grammarians, we do not need to know what to do with 400,000-600,000 English wordswe only need to know what to do with eight classes of words.
like all music, falls into octaves. We might represent each part of speech by a letter of the musical scale, such as: A
- Noun B
- Pronoun C
- Adjective D
- Verb E
- Adverb F
- Preposition G
- Conjunction H
Now we can represent any sentence by an arrangement of these letters, just as composers use an arrangement of letters of the musical scale to write music. Let us represent by letters, as above, this little sentence: "Time is fleeting." A
We may put any noun
in the place of A
, any verb
in the place of D
, and any adjective
in the place of C
. We may change the meaning of the sentence in many ways, and yet use only the same three parts of speech: noun, verb, adjective
. The sentences we make might contradict in meaning, but grammatically they will be all alike, as long as we use only these three parts of speech: noun, verb, adjective
. For example
The above seven statements, so different in meaning
, are alike grammatically. Each statement consists of a noun
, and adjective
These seven statements contain twenty-one words, but grammatically they contain only three parts of speech: noun, verb, adjective
. To know the grammar of these seven sentences with their twenty-one words, we only need to know the grammar of the three parts of speech.
We could go on and make long sentences containing all the Parts of Speech
. Still, to know the grammar of those long sentences, we do not need to know the hundreds of words they might contain, but only the eight parts of speech.
English grammarwith its eight parts of speech is easy to learn. We have only eight things to learn. When we know all about a noun
, and interjection
, we know all about grammar! When we have mastered the eight parts of
speech, we can understand sentence structure.