They are words used to modify/describe a noun or a pronoun.
1. what kind
2. which one
3. how many
1. What Kind?
eg. (blue, fast) – blue car, fast car
2. Which One?
eg. (first, second, this, that) – this bird, that cat
3. How Many?
eg. (fifty, plenty, more) – fifty rats, more cats
NOTE: As a rule, although not always, an adjective comes before a noun or pronoun.
eg. The nasty and mean man stopped to give the small dog some water.
NOTE: An example of when an adjective follows the noun they modify.
eg. The man, nasty and mean, stopped to give the small dog some water.
Because adjectives add richness and texture to their prose (all writing other than poetry), they are one of the greatest tools a writer has at their disposal.
With modifying adjectives, simply written nouns become even more. Eg. a pool. Using adjectives, that pool becomes, a crystal, clear pool; or, a blue, warm pool.
HOWEVER! Overuse can destroy a well-written piece. OOOey and Gooey I call these pieces.
A crystal, clear, blue, warm, inviting, deep, pool….. ick!
1. Use modifying adjectives only when necessary and one can add to the description positively.
2. Never use more than what’s needed. Any more than three modifiers (well-chosen), is too many.
3. Choose your modifiers well. One really good one, can have better results than four weak ones put together.
Verbs are action words.
Verbs express state of being, eg., I am tired.
There are two types of verbs:
Transitive: directed toward a person or thing (called the object) that is named in the sentence.
eg. The cat chased the mouse.
mouse is the object
chased is the verb
Transitive: the object receives the action:
eg. Peggy played the piano
piano is the object
played is the verb
Intransitive: expresses action, but it does not pass that action on to an object noun or pronoun.
eg. John ate early.
early is NOT a person or thing, but rather an adverb (we’ll get to them)
ate is the verb
The most important lesson any author can learn, is how to use verbs to beef up their writing giving it a high impact, but not in excess becoming ooey gooey. Using action, or power verbs does this. If not, you risk ending up with passive writing.
Power verbs are usually the shortest form of the verb. Weak verbs are the longest form.
eg. Put, sat, called, cut – notice how commanding these words are: power verbs
eg. was calling, would you put, were sitting, was cutting – notice the past tense: weak verbs
All the auxiliary verbs: were, was and would rob the action of its impact. Longer verb forms are considered using the passive voice form of the verbs.
As the name implies, these are just the opposite of active. They distance the noun from the action.
It is preferred that the author uses their active voice/action verbs when writing. Learning this right pushes them a gigantic leap forward in improving their writing.
This doesn’t mean avoid longer verbs entirely. Sometimes, the writing demands them. Just keep in mind, that the vast majority of verbs will be power/action verbs. If you do this, then your writing will jump off the page.
Adverbs modify a verb, an adjective, or another adverb. It answers the questions:
1. Where? (outdoors, there)
2. When? (tomorrow, later, now)
3. How? (carefully, slowly, calmly)
4. To What Extent? (greatly, rather)
If unsure which word is an adverb, simply ask yourself which word does it modify? Adverbs can become a writer’s worst enemy. They are tedious pests that need to be done away with, or they will clutter up your work.
Prepositions show the relationship of a noun/pronoun to some other word in the sentence (such as a verb).
List of Prepositions:
eg. The girls played on the swing. “On the swing” is called a prepositional phrase. It begins with ‘on’. Since a phrase is a word group, and on is the preposition, the phrase describes where the girls played. Here the prepositional phrase is the adverbs because they tell “the where” something was dne.
I will walk with care. “How will I walk”
She stood by the policeman. “Where she stood”
Clara went before Mary. “When Clara went.”
Conjunctions join groups of words together. Coordinating conjunctions: for, an, nor, but, yet, and since, are used the most and are the common type of conjunctions.
There are two ways to use connective words. 1. Use them in a series of words, such as Mike, Larry, and Trevor; 2. The second way to use them is to link independent clauses together. Eg., Trina paid for the gum, and we found a place to rest. Use a comma before the conjunction.
This outline just scratches the surface of parts of speech. I highly recommend that you seek out other resources and read up on it further.