See if you can identify all of the parts of speech in the following sentences (it might be easier to print this page so you can make notes).
1. Jane fainted.
2. Seeing is believing.
3. He typed very rapidly.
4. That dress seemed too expensive.
5. John gave you the keys to the garage last night.
6. I had the flu last week and, man, did I feel lousy!
(The abbreviation for the correct part of speech follows each word.)
1. Jane (n) fainted (v).
2. Seeing (n) is (v) believing (n). *
3. He (pron) typed (v) very (adv) rapidly (adv).
4. The (adj) dress (n) seemed (v) too (adv) expensive (adj).
5. John (n) gave (v) you (pron) the (adj) keys (n) to (prep) the (adj) garage (n) last (adj) night (n).
6. I (pron) had (v) the (adj) flu (n) last (adj) week (n) and (conj), man (interj), did (v) I (pron) feel (v) lousy (adj)!
* Okay, we admit it–this one was a little sneaky. You may have been tempted to identify “seeing” and “believing” as verbs because they are, indeed, based on the verbs “see” and “believe.” But if you look closely at this sentence, you’ll see that they function as nouns since they name a thing–that thing just happens to be an activity. In a sentence verbs depict actions, but if you want to name the activity you need a noun. Nouns are formed from verbs in a variety of ways, one of which is the “ing” form used in this example (this form is called a “gerund”). We could just as correctly have written, “Sight is belief” and you would have easily recognized those abstract nouns for what they are. Just remember that no matter how much a word might resemble another word from which it is derived, it is how it is used in the sentence that determines what part of speech it is.
This article was taken from the course Getting Started in Writing. Click here to register for the course now!