Strategies for Identifying Parts of Speech Strategies for Identifying Parts of Speech

Strategies for Identifying the

Parts of Speech of Words

  1. Read the sentence aloud. (Whisper if you’re in the classroom.)
  2. Find the verb in the sentence. Usually it’s something one can do. A verb can also be linking.
  1. The following verbs are always linking when used by themselves: be, am, is, are, was, were, has been, have been, had been.
  2. The following verbs are tricky because they can be action or linking: appear, become, feel, grow, look, remain, seem, smell, sound, stay, taste, turn
  3. In jr. high, become and seem will always be linking verbs
  1. Once you find the verb, ask yourself, "Who or what did the action?" (Ex: Sam ate tuna for lunch. Ate is the verb – it’s something that one can do. Then ask, "Who or what ate?" The answer would be Sam. This is the subject of the sentence.)
  2. Once you’ve found the subject, determine if it’s one of the words we learned to be a pronoun. If it’s not, the word would be a noun.
  3. See if there’s any word describing the subject. Any word(s) telling you which one? What kind? How many? How much? would be an adjective. Anything describing the adjective would be an adverb.
  4. Find the verb again. See if there’s a word(s) telling you how it’s done, where it’s done, when it’s done or to what extent it’s done. This word would be an adverb.
  5. If you know prepositional phrases (and all of the prepositions are in your book) please place parenthesis around them. The first word will be a preposition and the last word would have to be a noun or a pronoun. Any word describing the noun/pronoun would be an adjective. Any word describing the adjective would be an adverb. Words joining adjectives (or adverbs) would be conjunctions.
  6. Look for complements by taking the subject and the verb and asking what? or whom?
  7. Example: Kara bought me a new dress.

    Kara bought what? a new dress (Dress would be the direct object)

    Kara bought a new dress for whom? me (Me would be the indirect object)

    Please remember that a DO or an IO has to be a noun or a pronoun. If there’s a linking verb in the sentence, the complement could be a noun, pronoun or adjective.

  8. Remember that and, or, and but are always conjunctions. Yet can be a conjunction or an adverb. (If it’s at the end of the sentence, it’ll be an adverb.)
  9. Please remember that interjections are usually at the beginning of a sentence and are ALWAYS followed by a comma or an exclamation mark.

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