List of word parts of speech & their grammar rules

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List of Word Parts of Speech and their Grammar Rules

This entry supports Parts of Speech entry This entry presents an alphabetical list of Key Words and their use, part of speech, and grammatical rules on their use

  • Entry format:

=== entry format === * in general ... * ''part of speech 1'' ** word form 1 definition ** synonyms: a, b, c ** word form 1 examples *** examples * ''part of speech 2'' ** definition ** synonyms: a, b, c ** word form 2 examples *** examples * Sources ** source using [ ]

Parts of Speech[edit | edit source]

  • see Parts of Speech entry
  • Parts of speech list:
    • adjective (includes determiners except articles)
    • adverb
    • article (a distinct form of determiner)
    • conjunction
    • interjection
    • noun
    • preposition
    • pronoun
    • verb
  • the below are key words and their use, utility, various meanings, and part of speech

A-B-C[edit | edit source]

although[edit | edit source]

among[edit | edit source]

  • in general, among is used for:
    • comparing things or people in general
    • comparing general groups of people or things
    • indicating a general physical or abstract position or space
    • ex.: "Among electronic gadgets, I prefer tablets the most"
  • preposition
  • note: difference between among and between
    • among indicates a commonality for comparison, either similar or distinct, but in general
    • between indicates a specific difference
    • think of the difference as between "many" and "much"
      • much = for what cannot be counted (similar to among)
      • many = for what can be counted (similar to between)
  • see:

any[edit | edit source]

  • in general, to specify an certain amount or number of something
    • determiner
    • indicates an amount or number of something
    • i.e, "any" "determines" the amount of a noun
    • synonyms: some, a bit of, a part of
    • ex. "Are there any cookies left?"
    • frequently is used to indicate the absence of something
      • ex. "I didn't get any dessert."
  • pronoun
    • indicates an amount (or absence of an amount)
      • ex. "I went to the store to buy more cookies, but they didn't have any left"
        • note that "more" is also a determiner
    • can also refer to a type or category of something
      • ex. "That meteor is not of any known substance"

as[edit | edit source]

  • in general "as" is used
    • for comparison
    • to show extent or degree ("As crazy as it seems"
    • to accordance or a result ("Guilty as charged")
  • adverb
    • "as" has an adverbial sense
    • as per Merriam-Webster: "usually used as a correlative after an adjective or adverb modified by adverbial as or so" "As"
      • examples:
      • "Read as carefully as you can"
      • "The lesson was as clear as the sky is blue"
      • "He serves as a useful reference."
  • conjunction
    • for comparisons
      • ex:
        • "That bird was as big as a cat"
        • "That test was as hard as anything"
      • note that "as" is not used for comparison when followed by a noun:
        • "The cold soccer ball is as a brick" = incorrect
          • correct = "The cold soccer ball is like a brick"
        • but we do use it as an adverb:
          • "The cold soccer ball is as hard as a brick"
    • showing simultaneous events
      • ex.:
        • "As you get older, you grow more patient"
        • "He dropped his phone as he got up"
    • showing the meaning or purpose of something
      • ex:
        • "Exercise regularly, as it's good for your health"
    • identifying something in the same way
      • ex.:
        • "Dogs such as mine, are the best"
        • synonymous in this sense with "like"
  • preposition
    • used to relate to a role, purpose, quality or condition
      • ex:
        • "As an attorney, she knows the law"
        • as opposed to "Like an attorney..." ("like" there is making a comparison and not expressing a quality)
        • "The ball served as a focus point as we watched the game"
  • Sources:


  • in general, "in addition, as well"
    • accepts an idea and adds to or contrasts with it
  • adverb
    • compares two actions/ verbs/ ideas
    • means "in addition," "as well" and "and also"
      • I work hard, and, besides, I play hard, too.
  • preposition
    • creates a prepositional phrase with a noun
      • Besides hard work, I play hard, too.

between[edit | edit source]

  • in general, between is used for:
    • comparing or contrasting specific differences between specific people or things
    • indicating physical space between two or more people or things
    • indicating conceptual or abstract "space" between ideas or things
    • indicating a "space" in time ("between 2:00 & 4:00")
      • ex.: "Between a tablet or a cell phone, there's a huge difference"
  • preposition
    • also "in between"
  • note: see [#among] for difference between among and between

both[edit | edit source]

  • in general, used to indicate two of something
    • known as a grammatical "dual"
    • many languages have singular, dual, and plural cases
      • English dropped the "dual" during the Middle English period
      • but both, either, neither persisted as references to two of something

by[edit | edit source]

  • in general, means with, of, according to, or made of
  • as preposition =
    • next to or near, as in "It's the one by the stairs" or "Don't get by me"
    • according to, as in "By the rules of the game, you're out!"
    • in a direction, as in "go by
    • to do a certain way, as in "By studying hard, I got an A!"
  • as an adverb =
    • near or past (as in "going past")
      • ex. "Stop on by!" or "She lives by the school"

D-E-F[edit | edit source]

early[edit | edit source]

  • in general, to describe an event or occurrence that happens before an expected time
  • adverb form:
    • The student always arrives early"
      • "early" here modifies the action (verb) "arrives"
  • as adjective:
    • ex. "Early afternoon the kids leave school"
    • or, "In early autumn it starts getting cooler"
      • in these sentences, "early" describes the nouns "afternoon" and "autumn"
  • note that late operates the same, if opposite, as early

G-H-I[edit | edit source]

hard[edit | edit source]

  • in general used to describe solid physical state or difficulty of something
  • definitions
    • noun:
      • 1. solid, firm, resistant to breakage
      • 2. difficult, needs effort
    • synonyms: t.b.a.
      • a hard rock
      • a hard test
    • adverb: difficult
    • synonyms: a, b, c
    • word form 2 examples
      • examples
  • Sources
    • source using [ ]

here[edit | edit source]

  • in general, to indicate when or where an action takes place
  • definitions
    • adverb
      • in, at, or to this place, position, or present moment
        • "I live here"
    • imperative
      • a command to pay attention or introduce a topic or thing
        • "Here you go"
        • "Here is your dish"
    • exclamation
      • "Here, give it to me"
      • "Here!" (to indicate presence or attendance)
        • as opposed to "hear, hear!", which indicates agreement

however[edit | edit source]

  • adverb
  • = a "transitional adverb" or "conjunctive adverb"
  • creates a contrast between to actions
    • can also be a "relative adverb" when it is synonymous with "whenever" or "whoever"
      • or when it is used to introduce an adjective (or relative) clause (a clause that modifies or describes another word or sentence part)
        • as in However you got here, I'm glad you made it!
  • "however: is not a coordinating conjunction, i.e.:
    • it does not combine independent clauses
    • is not equivalent to "but" or any of the seven "coordinating conjunctions" (also called FANBOYS)
  • transitional or conjunctive adverbs include consequently, furthermore, however, moreover, therefore and thus
  • while however creates a contrast between two clauses, the relationship is semantic (the meaning of the words) and not grammatical
    • therefore however is not a conjunction
  • when using however between two independent clauses in order to contrast them, use either a period or a semicolon, such as:
    • "I was running late. However, the train was late, too." or
    • "I was running late; however, the train was late, too."
  • as an introductory phrase used in the middle of a sentence, however is separated by two commas
    • in this sense, however is used parenthetically and is not a conjunction
      • ex.: "I like to do my homework in the mornings, however, in order to get it out of the way"
      • vs.: "I like to do my homework in the mornings in order to get it out of the way"
  • as a transition word, however
    • ex. English teachers don't like a sentence to start with however. However, it's just fine to use it that way."
    • or: "However much English teachers don't like a sentence to start with however, it's just fine to use it that way."
    • vs.: "It's just fine to use however at the beginning of a sentence, however much English teachers don't like it that way."
  • however uses:
    • introduces a clause:
      • Climbing is fun. However, be careful!
    • creates or qualifies a contrast:
      • However much you like it, it’s too expensive
      • The committee, however, decided against it
    • expresses possibility
      • She’s glad to help however she can
    • expresses wonder or lack of specificity
      • However you did it, great job! = relative adverb
  • sources:

J-L-K[edit | edit source]

like[edit | edit source]

  • generally makes a comparison or a reference to something
  • Preposition
    • "similar to" or "such as"
  • Conjunction
  • Adjective
  • Adverb (informal)
  • showing the state or condition of something
    • "He's like, "what's up?"
    • "It was kinda weird like"

M-N-O[edit | edit source]

moreover[edit | edit source]

  • in general, means "additionally"
  • adverb
    • = a "transitional adverb"
    • creates a contrast between to actions
  • "moreover" is not a coordinating conjunction, i.e.:
    • it does not combine independent clauses
    • is not equivalent to "but" or any of the seven "coordinating conjunctions" (also called FANBOYS)
  • transitional adverbs include consequently, furthermore, however, moreover, therefore and thus

click EXPAND for more on "moreover":

  • while moreover makes a connection between two clauses, the relationship is semantic (the meaning of the words) and not grammatical
    • therefore moreover is not a conjunction
  • when using moreover between two independent clauses, use either a period or a semicolon, such as:
    • "I was running late. Moreover, I forgot my wallet." or
    • "I was running late; moreover, I forgot my wallet."

only[edit | edit source]

  • in general, means a limit of, limit to, or lack of something
  • definitions
    • adjective, just one, few of, or no other
      • 'only' comes from the Old English word "one" (makes sense!)
    • synonyms: just, lone, exclusive, single
    • describes the state of one, a few or no other of a noun, ex:
      • "the only one in the room"
      • "it's the only kind of movie I like"
    • adverb 2. a limit to or amount of something, describes a verb
      • can have a negative implication
    • synonyms: just, at best, at most, barely, hardly, narrowly, scarcely
    • word form 2 examples
      • "I can only speak English"
    • conjunction, meaning except for, or but for or although
    • synonyms: although
      • 'only' has a specific use as a "subordinating conjunction or a "correlative conjunction"
        • ex. of subordinating conjunction: "Only if I play well" =
        • ex. of correlative conjunction (not only/but als0): "Not only I am good at Math, but I'm also good at English."
      • 'only' is technically not a conjunction, although it is frequently used as one:
        • ex. "I really wanted to do well on the test, only I didn't study enough." "only" = an adverb so it cannot conjoin the two ICs
  • Sources: t.b.a.

P-Q-R[edit | edit source]

rather[edit | edit source]

  • in general
    • to create a contrast or exception
  • conjunctive adverb
    • instead of, etc. << to complete
  • usage:
    • rather is not a coordinating conjunction (FANBOY)
      • so it cannot combine two independent clauses
    • to avoid using it as a coordinator, use it before the verb, as per
      • incorrect:
        • "It is not nice outside, rather it is rainy"
      • correct:
        • It is rainy rather than nice outside"
        • "Rather than nice outside, it is rainy"
        • "It is not nice outside; rather, it is rainy"
        • "The weather outside is rather rainy than nice"

S-T-U[edit | edit source]

since[edit | edit source]

  • preposition
    • signifies
      • a period of time
        • "Since I got over the flu, I've been more productive"
      • a reason for; because
        • "Since I had the flu, I was not productive."

so[edit | edit source]

  • in general
    • indicates a purpose or reason, an extent, or a confirmation of something
  • adjective to mean "true"
    • "that is so"
  • adverb
    • in order to
  • conjunction
    • as coordinating conjunction (combines independent clauses)
      • = "with the result that"
      • I'm ready, so let's go!
    • as subordinate conjunction
    • = "in order that"
      • So I can get up on time, I will get good sleep
  • can also act as a pronoun:
    • that is so
      • here, "so" = a pronoun reference to another word or idea

such[edit | edit source]

  • in general:
    • such sets up examples or indicates something will follw
  • determiner
    • specifies or provides an example
  • pronoun
    • refers to a previously stated word or idea
  • such as
    • = a prepositional phrase used to introduce an example (s)

than[edit | edit source]

  • in general
    • used for comparisons, exceptions or for contrast (as a conjunction)
    • also introduces a second element or a sequence (as a preposition)
    • either as a conjunction or a preposition
  • conjunction:
    • "than" combines two or more comparisons
      • ex. "In the summer it is hotter than in the winter"
      • ex. "Students who study perform better on tests than students who do not study."
        • note: when making comparisons, the sentence must compare like-elements,
        • i.e, the sentence is comparing students and not students and tests, as in:
          • ("students who study perform better on tests than the tests of students who do not study" = incorrect
    • indicates a contrast or exception
      • usually with "rather than"
        • ex. "The run was longer rather than shorter"
        • = synonymous with the adverb "instead of": "The run was longer instead of shorter")
    • indicates a contrast between events:
      • ex. "No sooner than I got home, my mom asked me to go to the store."
        • this construction is frequently confused with "then" which expresses sequence but not contrast
  • preposition
    • as a preposition "than" introduces a relationship to the noun
      • "than" does the same thing as a preposition as it does as a conjunction when introducing a comparison
      • the difference is that as a conjunction it compares two clauses (subject and verb, as in "She plays piano better than I play it")
      • and as a preposition it compares a subject to an object (as a phrase, as in "She plays piano better than me"
  • Sources
    • 'Than I' vs. 'Than Me' (Merriam-Webster) - good article explains how "than" operates as a conjunction or a preposition

that[edit | edit source]

  • in general:
    • to add necessary (requisite) information ("those are the kind of shoes that hurt")
    • definite pronoun reference ("Ouch, that rock is hard!")
    • relative pronoun that introduces a relative clause or phrase ("I read a book that was so long"
  • determiner and conjunction:
    • the determiner "that" serves as a conjunction that introduces a relative clause that adds information to the main clause
      • thus "relative clause"
    • within a relative clause that acts as the object of the relative clause:
      • ex. "I rode my bike up a hill that went on forever"
        • in the relative clause, that went on forever, the word "that" = the subject of the verb "went"
        • however, the main or independent clause = "I rode my bike"
          • "that went on forever" adds additional information to the main clause
    • note that since "that" may add necessary or requisite information, no punctuation separates it and the relative clause it creates from the main clause:
      • ex. "She said that she already did it"
        • = that she already did it serves as the object of the S-V "she said"
        • since it is necessary or requisite for the sentence to make sense, it is a "restrictive relative clause" that is not separated from the main clause by puncutation
          • generally, non-restrictive relative clauses, i.e., those that are not necessary for the sentence to make sense employ the word, "which"
            • ex. "I rode my bike up a hill, which seemed like forever"
              • in this case, the speaker is emphasizing riding the bike up the hill and then adding to it with the non-restrictive clause, "which seemed like forever"
              • compare that to "I rode my bike up a hill that went on forever" << the relative clause is necessary and acts to modify the "hill"
  • pronoun
    • that specifies a noun, event, or idea already mentioned or known
      • "That was really fun!"
    • specifies a certain person or thing:
      • ex., "That little boy was super happy."
  • adverb
    • "to such a degree"
      • compares an extent of something
      • ex. "I wouldn't go that far"
    • = "so", so that" or "in order to"
      • "I swim that I come home hungry", which we would normally say as:
        • "I swim hard so that I come home super hungry"

V-W-X[edit | edit source]

very[edit | edit source]

  • in general, "very" is used for emphasis
  • definitions
    • adverb. to a high degree; truly
      • emphasizes a verb
      • synonyms: exceedingly, truly, exactly, precisely
    • adverb examples
      • "he ran very fast"
      • "They make the the very best donuts" ("best" = adjective that modifies "donuts"; "very" = adverb that modifies the verb "make")
      • That class was very fun"
      • "I'm very tired"
    • adjective. actual, exact, precise
      • emphasizes a noun
    • also: mere, bare
    • adjective examples:
      • "He was scared from the very beginning of the movie"
      • "She replied the very next day"
      • "I read it to the very end"
  • see [1]
  • Sources

when[edit | edit source]

  • in general, indicates a relative moment, time or condition
  • subordinating conjunction:
    • I get up when I want.
    • Class ended when the bell rang
  • adverb:
    • Since when you do you care?

which[edit | edit source]

  • in general: used to refer to a previously stated noun (thing or idea) to add information
  • pronoun
    • refers to a thing/s (can be as a singular or plural pronoun)
      • not to a person, but can refer to a count of people, such as "which one of you..."
  • uses:
  • as non-restrictive clause (additional information):
    • = can act parenthetically
      • ex.: "The website, which says it never lies, lied."
    • = adds additional (not necessary) information to a main clause
      • ex.: "The dog ran after the squirrel, which scrambled up the tree"
      • in these cases, which follows and usually refers to the object of the main clause
  • as restrictive (necessary or required) clause:
    • = adds necessary information without which the sentence makes no senses or means something else
    • = is not separated from or within the main clause by commas (since it is necessary)
      • ex.: "August is the month which goes the fastest for me"
      • note that that is interchangeable with which in that sentence
      • so, if you can use either "that" or "which" it is a restrictive clause and thus no commas
  • as prepositional phrase:
    • following a preposition, which acts as a clarifying pronoun
      • ex.: "That's the house in which I grew up"
  • sources:

while[edit | edit source]

  • as a conjunction
    • = "during the time that" or "at the same time as"
      • ex.: "the dog was bored while she worked on her grammar"
    • = whereas (contrast)
      • ex.: "the dog wants a bone, while she wants to study grammar"
  • as an adverb
    • = "during which"
      • = modifies the action (verb)
    • ex: "the time while she studied grammar" << fix
  • as a noun
    • a period of time
    • ex.: "she studied grammar for a while"

whom[edit | edit source]

  • objective form of "who"

will[edit | edit source]

  • in general, indicates the future
  • as an auxiliary verb ("helping verb" )
    • "will" creates the simple or continuous future tense of another verb
      • They will go there next week
      • They will be going there next week
    • "will" as an interrogatory (indicates a question or inquiry)
      • Will they go next week?
  • as a modal verb (indicates desire, necessity or conditionality/possibility)
    • They will go next week or else!
    • I will expect to see them there
  • as a finite verb (action verb)
    • "will" means
      • to make something happen or someone do something
        • The test was hard, but I willed my way through it
      • to bequeath (give after death)
        • He willed a family memento to her
  • as a noun
    • mental fortitude or self-control
      • It was tempting to her, but she resisted as her will is strong
    • an intention or desire
      • They did it anyway against her will
    • what commands or ordains, esp. God
      • God's will be done

Y-Z[edit | edit source]

yesterday[edit | edit source]

  • in general, an adverb or noun used to describe
  • adverb or noun
    • used specifically = the day before today
    • also used to indicate "the past"
      • as in "Yesterday, things were better"
  • usually used as an adverb
    • as adverb: when used to indicate when an action happened, it is an adverb
      • ex. "Yesterday I went to the park." ("yesterday describes/ modifies the verb "went")
      • or, "The big event happened yesterday" ("yesterday" describes/ modifies the verb "happened")
    • as noun: when used as a subject or object (of a verb or preposition) it is a noun
      • ex. "Yesterday was fun!" ("yesterday" is the subject of the linking verb "was")
      • or, "He thought fondly on yesterday" ("yesterday" = object of the preposition "on")
  • today, last week, tomorrow, next week, last month, last year, etc. have similar grammatical forms to "yesterday" as adverb (usually) or noun
    • later and now are adverbs

you[edit | edit source]

  • in general, 2nd person singular or plural pronoun
    • indicates a person or persons a speaker addresses
      • "Heh, you!"
      • "You look great!"
  • pronoun
    • as singular pronoun, indicates one person being addressed or mentioned
    • as plural pronoun, indicates more than one person being addressed or mentioned
  • for origins of "you" in thee, thine, thou, ye see You origins (2nd person pronoun)
    • that page contains a chart to explain the different cases of each
    • shows their use in Shakespeare

Categories[edit | edit source]

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