Topic: Word class

These resources relate to word classes (traditionally known as 'parts of speech'). Words are grouped into different classes, such as noun and verb, on the basis of their behaviour: where they occur in relation to other words and what they do within sentences.

Y6 GPaS Test: Identify the conjunctions

Find the conjunctions in a range of examples

Identify the conjunctions in each of the following examples. Click on the word (or words) to select or deselect them.

Y6 GPaS Test: Identify the determiners

Find the determiners in a range of examples

Identify the determiners in each of the following examples. Click on the word (or words) to select or deselect them.

Y6 GPaS Test: Identify the modal verbs

Find the modal verbs in a range of examples

Identify the modal verbs in each of the following examples. Click on the word (or words) to select or deselect them.

Y6 GPaS Test: Identify the nouns

Find the nouns in a range of examples

Identify the nouns in each of the following examples. Click on the word (or words) to select or deselect them.

Y6 GPaS Test: Identify the possessive pronouns

Find the possessive pronouns in a range of examples

Identify the possessive pronouns in each of the following examples. Click on the word (or words) to select or deselect them.

Y6 GPaS Test: Identify the prepositions

Find the prepositions in a range of examples

Identify the prepositions in each of the following examples. Click on the word (or words) to select or deselect them.

Y6 GPaS Test: Identify the relative pronoun

Find the relative pronoun in a range of examples

Identify the relative pronouns in each of the following examples. Click on the word (or words) to select or deselect them.

Y6 GPaS Test: Identify the subordinating conjunction

Find the subordinating conjunction in a range of examples

Identify the subordinate conjunctions in each of the following examples. Click on the word (or words) to select or deselect them.

Y6 GPaS Test: Identify the verbs

Find the verbs in a range of examples

Identify the verbs in each of the following examples. Click on the word (or words) to select or deselect them.

Y6 GPaS Test: Noun or pronoun?

Work out whether the highlighted word is a noun or a pronoun

In each of the following examples, indicate whether the highlighted word is a noun or a pronoun:

Y6 GPaS Test: Noun or verb?

In each of the following examples, indicate whether the highlighted word is a noun or a verb:

Y6 GPaS Test: Present or past tense?

In each of the following examples, indicate whether the highlighted verb is in present or past tense:

Y6 GPaS Test: Pronoun or preposition?

In each of the following examples, indicate whether the highlighted word is a pronoun or a preposition:

Y6 GPaS Test: Select the verb form

Select the correct verb form for each example.

Y6 GPaS Test: Subject-Verb agreement

Decide whether the example displays correct or incorrect Subject-Verb agreement:

Adjectives

A very simple definition of adjectives that has sometimes been used is that they are ‘descriptive’ words. But this isn’t really very helpful. Lots of word classes can be ‘descriptive’: a noun like funeral is fairly descriptive, as is the verb leap. We might also say that the adverb quickly describes the verb ran in a sentence like He quickly ran.

Adjectives: Avoiding adjective overuse

Many writers of fiction use adjectives as a quick way of telling us what a character is like: how they appear, how they feel, how we should view them. Look at the following examples of how adjectives are used to provide a basic description:

Adverbs

Adverbs are words that typically modify a verb, an adjective, another adverb or an entire sentence:

  • ‘I keep hoping they'll come back,’ Tanya said despairingly. [W2F-006 #244]

In this case the adverb modifies the verb said.

  • It’s a very fast road all the way. [S1A-021 #195]

In this case the adverb modifies the adjective fast.

Adverbs: Avoiding adverb overuse

Adverbs are quite a varied class of words, which work in several different ways in sentences. Think of examples like obviously, afterwards, extremelygently. These show that adverbs can express many different kinds of meaning.

This makes adverbs a useful word class. However, many experienced writers advise us to avoid overusing adverbs, and instead find other ways of describing actions and events.

Conjunctions

Conjunctions are words that link linguistic units such as words, phrases or clauses.

We distinguish coordinating conjunctions such as andor and but from subordinating conjunctions such as because, since, when, while, etc.

Examples of coordinating conjunctions conjunctions are:

Determiners

Determiners form a class of words that occur in the left-most position inside noun phrases. They thus precede nouns, as well as any adjectives that may be present.

The most common determiners are the and a/an (these are also called the definite aticle and indefinite article).

Here are some more determiners:

Double negatives

Since the 17th century, English grammarians have spoken out against constructions with double negatives. Before the 17th century, double negatives were considered perfectly acceptable in English, like in present-day Spanish, French and many other languages of the world. Even today we're often taught to avoid a double negative.

The idea is that we should try to avoid saying something like:

  • He didn't not get the prize.

This is because in logic, two nots cancel each other out. So the statement above would logically mean:

Nouns

In terms of meaning, nouns are sometimes described as ‘naming words’ – words for people, animals and things. The noun class does include many words of this kind: brother, baby, rabbit, horse, handbag, chair. These all refer to physical beings or objects – they are concrete nouns. But there are also many abstract nouns – nouns with abstract (non-material) meanings, like pleasure, sight, kindness.

Nouns: Concrete and abstract

Strictly speaking, the distinction between concrete noun and abstract noun is not really a matter of grammar, but of semantics. In other words, the decision to label a noun as concrete or abstract is more to do with the word’s meaning than its grammatical form or function.

There is very little, if any, grammatical difference between the ways in which abstract and concrete nouns operate.

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