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The 8 Essentials: Parts of Speech

When your child looks at a sentence, do they see the variety and function of the words, phrases, and clauses that form it? This skill is what grammar is all about—learning the way language works. A solid foundation in grammar will help your child:

  • root out errors in his speech and writing
  • take apart sentences and passages and put them back together in more powerful ways
  • craft sentences that perfectly and clearly capture her desired meaning
  • develop a unique voice, or style of expression
  • excel in conversation, academics, and the workforce

To begin with, explicitly teach your child the names and definitions of the eight parts of speech, the building blocks of every sentence.

Try using these simplified definitions and examples.

  1. Noun – a person, place, thing, or idea (Examples: lifeguard, beach, sand, beauty)
  2. Verb – an action word (Examples: swim, race, observe)
  3. Adjective – a word that describes a noun or pronoun  (Examples: windy, sapphire-blue, calm)
  4. Adverb – a word that describes a verb; it tells how, when, where, how often, to what extent (Examples: quickly, powerfully, carefully)
  5. Preposition – a word that shows the relationship between two words or clauses; it often tells when or where (Examples: in, over, through, on, before, until)
  6. Pronoun – a word that takes the place of a noun (Examples: it, he, her, himself, this, some, mine)
  7. Conjunction – a word that connects words or word phrases (Examples: and, but, so, because, where, while)
  8. Interjection – a word that expresses emotions and can stand alone (Example: wow, huh, yes, oh, oops)

To help your child memorize their parts of speech make flashcards. Have your child create a flashcard for each term. On one side of the card, write the term. On the backside of the card, write the definition across the top. Divide the bottom of the card's backside into two columns. On the left side have your child list examples. In the right column, have him write a sentence and highlight, circle, or underline the nouns he uses.


  • Cluster and learn related parts of together, such as noun and adjective or verb and adverb.
  • When introducing each part of speech, use age-appropriate examples that are meaningful to your child (e.g., places/things in your home, activities he/she enjoys).
  • Ensure your child masters the part(s) of speech you’re focusing on before moving on to a new one.

In our next grammar post: More activities that will help your child remember and identify the eight essential parts of speech.