This page contains definitions and examples of the main parts of speech, common endings of nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs, and information on the placement and position of adjectives and adverbs.
The name of something, like a person, animal, place, thing, or concept. Nouns are typically used as subjects, objects, objects of prepositions, and modifiers of other nouns.
This expresses what the person, animal, place, thing, or concept does. In English, verbs follow the noun.
This describes a noun or pronoun. Adjectives typically come before a noun or after a stative verb, like the verb to be.
Remember that adjectives in English have no plural form. The same form of the adjective is used for both singular and plural nouns.
This gives more information about the verb and about how the action was done. Adverbs tells how, where, when, why, etc. Depending on the context, the adverb can come before or after the verb or at the beginning or end of a sentence.
This word substitutes for a noun or a noun phrase (such as it, she, he, they, that, those,…).
This word makes the reference of the noun more specific (such as his, her, my, their, the, a, an, this, these,…).
This comes before a noun or a noun phrase and links it to other parts of the sentence. These are usually single words (on, at, by,…) but can be up to four words (as far as, in addition to, as a result of, …).
A word that joins two clauses. These can be coordinating (an easy way to remember this is memorizing FANBOYS = for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so) or subordinating (such as because, although, when, …).
Helping verbs. They are used to build up complete verbs.
Nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs often have unique word endings, called suffixes. Looking at the suffix can help to distinguish the word from other parts of speech and help identify the function of the word in the sentence. It is important to use the correct word form in written sentences so that readers can clearly follow the intended meaning.
Here are some common endings for the basic parts of speech. If ever in doubt, consult the dictionary for the correct word form.
-age: suffrage, image, postage
-al: arrival, survival, deferral
-dom: kingdom, freedom, boredom
-ee: interviewee, employee, trainee
-ence/ance: experience, convenience, finance
-er/or: teacher, singer, director
-ery: archery, cutlery, mystery
-hood: neighborhood, childhood, brotherhood
-ics: economics, gymnastics, aquatics
-ing: reading, succeeding, believing
-ism: racism, constructivism, capitalism
-ity/ty: community, probability, equality
-ment: accomplishment, acknowledgement, environment
-ness: happiness, directness, business
-ry: ministry, entry, robbery
-ship: scholarship, companionship, leadership
-tion/sion/xion : information, expression, complexion
-ure: structure, pressure, treasure
-ate: congregate, agitate, eliminate
-en: straighten, enlighten, shorten
-(i)fy: satisfy, identify, specify
-ize: categorize, materialize, energize
-able/ible: workable, believable, flexible
-al: educational, institutional, exceptional
-ed: confused, increased, disappointed
-en: wooden, golden, broken
-ese: Chinese, Portuguese, Japanese
-ful: wonderful, successful, resourceful
-ic: poetic, classic, Islamic
-ing: exciting, failing, comforting
-ish: childish, foolish, selfish
-ive: evaluative, collective, abrasive
-ian: Canadian, Russian, Malaysian
-less: priceless, useless, hopeless
-ly: friendly, daily, yearly
-ous: gorgeous, famous, courageous
-y: funny, windy, happy
-ly: quickly, easily, successfully
-ward(s): backward(s), upwards, downwards
-wise: clockwise, edgewise, price-wise
If more than one adjective is used in a sentence, they tend to occur in a certain order. In English, two or three adjectives modifying a noun tend to be the limit. However, when writing in APA, not many adjectives should be used (since APA is objective, scientific writing). If adjectives are used, the framework below can be used as guidance in adjective placement.
A comma is used between two adjectives only if the adjectives belong to the same category (for example, if there are two adjectives describing color or two adjectives describing material). To test this, ask these two questions:
If the answer is yes to the above questions, the adjectives are separated with a comma. Also keep in mind a comma is never used before the noun that it modifies.
Adverbs can appear in different positions in a sentence.