Kid's Guide to Speech

 

 

We use the power of speech to communicate and make sense of the world around us. Parts of speech are the building blocks of the languages that we use every day. Learning the correct usage of the parts of speech enables us to not only communicate with others, but to influence, inspire, and motivate people, and make things happen.
This article revolves around the building blocks of speech. Throughout history, the English language has helped shape and has been shaped by social, geographical, and historical events. Therefore, variations from the methods and syntax described here may be found in different dialects of English.
History of the English Language: Here’s a brief summary of the history of how English grammar developed over the years.
Darling’s Guide to Grammar & Writing: A great tool to experiment with and gain a better understanding of different parts of speech and other grammar tools.
The University of Illinois Center for Writing Studies: Writer resources for the budding writer in you! The page will give you detailed descriptions and examples of different parts of speech as well as common usage problems.

The Parts of Speech

There are seven major parts of speech:

The Noun

Nouns cover all categories and kinds of entities in the world such as animals, people, places, events, shapes, colors, qualities, and states. For example: James, dog, Christmas, Ontario, anger, and gas are all nouns. The conversion of adjectives or verbs can also create nouns. For example: “a funny joke”, “a winning streak”, “the utter disregard”, etc.
Nouns can be preceded by a, an, the, or some. For example:

  • A quadruped (n) has four feet
  • An elephant (n) is a quadruped
  • The millennium (n) should arrive eventually.
  • Some millipedes (n) are holding a convention in the garden.

Useful information

  • Nouns exist in singular and plural forms
  • English language nouns do not have a “gender” unlike some other languages

Capital Community College’s grammar guide is a good place to further delve into the world of nouns.
Townson University grammar page: A great resource for further reading on pronouns.
The Mayfield Handbook of Technical & Scientific Writing has a very detailed section on Pronouns to help you further solidify your command on this part of speech.

Verbs

Verbs are used to indicate events, states, processes and most commonly, actions. This is the second major class of words after nouns.
Examples of verbs are: “pull”, “slip”, “cry”, “confront”, etc.
English Teaching Exercises: Check this page to learn the usage of verbs through interactive web based exercises. Here you will find thousands of online English exercises created by teachers from all over the world.

  • Verbs fit into the pattern “Let us ______”
  • Let us annihilate (v) the opposition.
  • Let us reject (v) the applicant.
  • Let us resend (v) such an implication.

Adjective

Adjectives serve to describe the characteristics, properties, qualities, and/or states of a noun. Adjectives are usually built by adding a suffix to a noun. For example: "-ous" ("stupendous," "infamous"), "-al" ("agricultural," "multilingual"). Adjectives can also be constructed from within other adjectives by adding a suffix or a prefix: For example: whitish, impregnable, dismember, irreparable, unbelievable. Quite a few adjectives are formed by adding the letter "a" as a prefix to a verb: "aloft," "afloat," "awry."
An adjective will fit into the pattern “You are/He is/She is/It is very _____”

  • You are very obsessive (adj)
  • She is very dejected (adj)
  • Cancer is very insidious (adj)

Purdue Online Writing Lab: A great resource for understanding adjectives with countable and uncountable nouns.
Try these quizzes: Frequent practice will help to reinforce your learning. Try these quizzes to test your understanding of adjectives.

Adverb

Adverbs serve to modify verbs, adjectives, or other adverbs. They are especially important for indicating "time, manner, place, degree, and frequency of an event or action, It is quite common for adjectives and adverbs to be derived from the same word, with most of them being formed by adding the "-ly" suffix to the corresponding adjective form.
An adverb is formed by adding â€"ly to an adjective:

  • He worked (v) obsessively (adj).
  • She listened (v) dejectedly (adv).
  • He betrayed (v) us insidiously (adj).

Try these interactive exercises to understand adverbs better.

Preposition

Prepositions are used to describe a relationship between two events in time or two people or things. They are also used to show an abstract relationship between two entities. Examples:

  • It has rained here after two years
  • The batsman looked back to see his stumps flying as he let one through his defenses

Edmo & Houdini: A interactive flash game to help you understand prepositions in a quick, fun way.
Try the following pictorial exercises to cement what you’re learned about prepositions.
Pictorial Exercise 1,
Pictorial Exercise 2

Conjunction

Conjunctions belong to a small class of words that serve as connectors between words, phrases, clauses, or sentences. Example: “and”, “but”, “however”, “furthermore”, “moreover”.
Try this crossword to understand conjunctions better.
Choose the best conjunction is a game that can also greatly enhance your understanding of conjunctions.

Common Errors to Watch Out For

Avoid saying "It is him," say "It is he." Similarly you should say "It is I," not "It is me"; "It is they" not "It is them."
Affect vs Effect: This is an easily confused pair of words. Affect with an “a” is mostly a verb; effect with an “e” is usually a noun. To understand the difference between the two, look at it this way: When you “affect” something, you have an “effect” on it. The usual adjective is effective, which means “having the desired effect,” â€" an effective remedy, for instance. (It can also be interpreted as “in effect,” as in “the new law is effective immediately.”)
Spell checkers that come with most word processing software are acceptable, but avoid using the computerized grammar checkers. Not only do they miss out on basic grammatical errors, they often give bad advice and try to fix what’s not broken. A major reason for this is that they make their suggestion based on a strict set of rules without any sense of the context.
Jack Lynch's Grammar and Style Notes (Rutgers) is a well-written guide to a host of grammatical issues.
Daniel Kies' Modern English Grammar will provide you with in-depth knowledge and quizzes to test your knowledge.
Avoid the common errors in English grammar
Never make a punctuation error again Grammar - Capitalization, and Punctuation: A Handbook for Technical Writers
Top 10 grammar myths: Don’t be intimidated by hearsay. Knowledge is the key to confidence. Find out what the top 10 grammar myths are and always have the upper hand in a conversation about grammar.
On a final note, make sure you write correctly and concisely. Clearly organized ideas with the right punctuation and correct grammar maximize your chances of achieving your writing’s desired goal.

Related Resources

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