Welcome to Part XXIV of my series, “Learn How To Better Espresso Yourself Through Proper Word Choosing.” In today’s lessen, we will review the Parts of Speech and how to combine those parts into a hole.
There are somewhere between six and a gazillion parts of speech, depending on how you categorize them. For this lesion, we’ll go with what I have listed below. If you have any modifications or additions to this list you’d like to suggest, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Parts of Speech are:
A noun is defined as being a person, place or thing. Examples of each:
- Person: the President-elect, a xenophobe; the milkman (since both milk and man are nouns, “milkman” is referred to as a “renoun,” mostly because of the rumors he fathered several children in the neighborhood).
- Place: My father often said he would like to put me in my place. I’d respond with, “Where — a volcano? The supermarket? Moosewood Lake?“ He’d reply, “How about the hospital?“
- Thing: This one is easy, since there are many things — that thing over there; that thing we were just talking about; “That Thing You Do;” let me thing about it for a while.
A proper name is a noun — “Hey, Jim!” An improper name is also a noun — “Hey, Jim! You shithead!“
In later lessons, we’ll get into further depth about sub-categorization of nouns — abstract, collective, and wait until we talk about the Seven Mutant Plurals! (I believe at least five of them were featured in the last X-Men movie.)
A pronoun replaces a noun. To illustrate:
- “In high school, my girlfriend Gail informed me she’d be going to the senior prom with Jim Delaney instead of me.”
Replacing a noun, especially one who showered his girlfriend with flowers and unrelenting affection, and particularly with a shithead like Jim Delaney, can be devastating.
Verbs describe an action or state. This can be a little confusing since you might think Maine and New Hampshire are places and therefore nouns, but apparently they are actually verbs. What can I say? Grammar is a rough business. I don’t make the rules; I just follow them.
When we talk about verbs we also must talk about tense. This is understandable because the election results have left many of us feeling that way.
As a side note, one of my favorite vocal groups back in the day was Peaches and Verb. They sang “Shake Your Groove Thing” — in that song title, Shake is a verb and Your is a possessive pronoun, but what is Groove? Groove is like “the boogie” — you’ll know it when you feel it.
There are two basic kinds of modifiers, adverbs and adjectives:
- Adverbs modify verbs. If we were to insert an adverb into the sentence, “See Jack run,” in order to modify the verb run, we might say, “See Jack run. No running inside the house, Jack!” In that way we would modify Jack’s action.
- Adjectives modify nouns or pronouns. As an example: “Upon hearing he was planning to take my girlfriend to the prom, I beat the shit out of the pronoun Jim Delaney.” I certainly modified his face, but Gail still wouldn’t go to the prom with me.
Prepositions are very common words, such as in, at, on, by, before and multitudinous. Let’s use one in a sentence: “I’ve got a preposition for you, Delaney — leave Gail alone or I’m going to modify your face.”
I had conjunction once and was out of work for three days. Symptoms include red, itchy eyes and a very unappealing discharge.
An interjection is what I was hoping would happen after attending the senior prom with my girlfriend Gail. As you may have inferred, that plan did not come to fruition.
In our next lesson, we’ll explore how to choose between that versus which, who versus whom, love versus infatuation, and how to put up with relative pronouns during the holiday season.