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Writers' Center

Eastern Washington University

Grammar, Punctuation, and Sentences

Parts of Speech Overview

Sometimes it’s helpful to breakdown the different parts of speech (or elements of a sentence) in order to simplify the sentence. This exercise can help you get to the root of what you’re trying to say. Below are definitions of the different parts of speech.


An article is placed before a noun or an adjective: a, an, the.

Click HERE for a more in-depth look at articles.


noun is a person, place, or thing: Ella, Cheney, eggplant.

Nouns within a sentence:

  • SUBJECT (person, place, or thing that is the doer of the action in a sentence—a.k.a. the star of your sentence): Luiz cooked dinner.
  • DIRECT OBJECT (receiver of the action/verb; the object is having something done to it): Luiz cooked Carmen dinnerNicole lent me jeans.
    • Side Note: To determine the direct object, ask yourself, Luiz cooked what? Nicole lent what?
  • INDIRECT OBJECT (for whom the action/verb was performed): Luiz cooked Carmen dinner. Nicole lent me jeans.


pronoun replaces a noun (and is sometimes called a “personal pronoun”): I, you, we, he, him, she, it, them.

Click HERE to learn more about pronouns and the difference between pronouns within the subjective, objective and possessive cases.


An adjective describes a noun: red, round, translucent.


verb is an action or state: jump, move, lift, write, can.

HERE is more information about verbs.


An adverb describes a verb and often ends in “ly”: carefully, methodically, quietly.


conjunction joins words/clauses/sentences together: and, or, but, when.

Side Note: Conjunctions can fall under several different categories, but the most commonly used are coordinating conjunctions (for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so) and subordinating conjunctions (because, when, while, after… and many more).

Click HERE for ways to correctly use conjunctions to fix run-on sentences and comma splices.


preposition begins a prepositional phrase and shows relationships between other words in a sentence; a preposition often indicates time or place: in, at, on, behind, under.

Click HERE to practice using prepositions.


An interjection is an exclamation: Oh!, Ah!