Basic English Grammar: Parts of Speech – noun, verb, adjective, pronoun, adverb...


Hi. James from engVid.

I would like to talk about something that will help you understand English,

and it's two things.

Number one are parts of speech.

What are the parts of speech and how do you use them?

The second is called syntax, which is a very complicated word for word order.

Where do you put the words in a sentence?

In some languages they have a different word order, some languages it doesn't really matter,

but what my job today is, is to show you where the words go and:

What do they basically mean-okay-in the parts of speech?

As E said: "Words. Where do they go?"

Now, if you're new to English or even if you're an intermediate student, sometimes this causes

you problems. Right?

You've heard the terms: "preposition", "determiner", "syntax", and you're like: "Oh, it's so complicated."

Today's lesson will be simple.

You can go over this again and again.

It will help you understand and use English better.

So I'm going to start off with the most basic part of parts of speech, and I want to start

with the things part.


Not actions, but things.

I am a person.

My watch is a thing.


An animal, a cat or a dog, or an apple, these are things.

We call these things nouns, because nouns name people - Hi, I'm James;

places - Toronto, Ontario; things - my watch; animals - a cat, meow; and food - an apple.

Okay? These are nouns.

Example: boy, dog, apple. Okay?

Nouns name these things.

But sometimes you don't want to keep using the same noun again and again.

"James ate the apple and James walked his dog as James talked to his friend, Oliver,

and then James..."

It gets what we call repetitive and boring, and it also makes the sentences go really slow.

And sometimes we want to use the noun in a different way.

So in this case we introduce what's called pronouns.

Pronouns can replace nouns in a sentence.

So now you could say something like this: "James ate the apple and he walked his dog."

Instead of: "James ate the apple and James walked his dog", we can use a pronoun to replace

it and make it simpler.

We still know we're talking about James.

Now, we talked about word order or syntax.

Let me explain this.

In order to use a pronoun first you must use the noun.


You introduce the noun and then you can replace it with a pronoun.

That's why you see number one then number two.

You cannot just start with a pronoun.

If I started a sentence at the beginning: "He went to the store."

The very first thing you will say to me is: "Who's he?"

I go: "Oh, James went to the store and he bought the apples there."

And you go: "Oh, now I know who he is."

So, pronouns kind of number two because you have to actually introduce first with a noun,

then you can replace it with a pronoun.

Now, we have several types of pronouns.

I'm just going to go over and show you a couple of them so you get an idea.

Pronouns include: "I", "we", which are subject pronouns.

Object pronouns when we're talking about something that's not us, but something on the other

side that receives action, as a subject pronoun I do things.

I run.


We eat dinner.

We're talking to them.

Now, when we say "them", you go: "What?"

Well, they are receiving it and we call those object pronouns.


So the most basic ones are subject and object pronouns.

One is doing something, one is receiving.

There are reflexive pronouns, like: "himself" where somebody is talking about themselves.

"He built the house himself."

So he's talking about him as an object, but reflecting it back to himself.

We call it reflexive pronoun.


There are others, but I'm not going to get into them right now because I want to keep

this simple just so you know what the parts of speech are, and you can always come to

engVid to come and see other lessons in which we go deeply into

reflexive pronouns, object and subject pronouns.

Okay? Cool.

So we talked about how pronouns can replace nouns, and we're good with that.


So let's go to stage number three, because once you've replaced them, how do you know

the difference between them?

Apple, apple.

I don't know.

That's when we have adjectives.


The word itself can be broken into two parts: "ject" and "ad".

But remember...

Do you remember when I said subject and object, and I gave you the example?

I said, for instance: "I" is a subject pronoun.


Subject, yeah, I'm good at this.

I'm going to do this really well.

And I said: "them" is an object pronoun.


You'll notice "ject" is in both parts.

When you look at an adjective, "ad" means to put on, you add, like two plus two is four,

four plus four is eight.

So an adjective you add to a pronoun or a noun to describe them.

So if you look here, "ject".

Adjectives describe nouns and pronouns.

Now, remember we talked about syntax?

Well, syntax, remember the word order?

Where would you find an adjective?

Well, in some places it's reversed.

If you speak Spanish, for instance, you would say: "gato negro", which in translation for

English is cat's black.

And for me who speak English or a person who speaks English, that doesn't make sense to

me because we say black cat.

So, word order can vary depending on the language you speak.

We usually put pronouns before...

Sorry, adjectives before our pronouns and our nouns so we can describe them.

And in two seconds I'm going to give you some ways in which we describe things, and we have

a word order for that.


And I'll have to explain something on that.

So, where will you find an adjective?

Before you find your nouns or pronouns.

They will help you describe your subjects or objects.

Okay? The things that are doing something.

Now, we have eight types of adjectives. All right?

And we have a special order we put it in.

Now, depending on your language, this order may exist.

You may have a different order or you may have no order which means you can put any

of these things in any order you like.

You can put...

Not... Well, maybe with the exception of numbers, but the colour can come first, where it comes

from, it can come first.

Quality can come first.

It depends on your culture, your language, your country.

English, however, the order I put it in - one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight,

that's the order we want it in.


If you change it, it actually gets really confusing.

So, what are these eight?

Well, why don't we take a look?

Quantity, it's a number.

Now, I put "a number", not because I said a number, but "a" refers to...

Or "a" refers to articles.

The chair, a chair.


In this case "a" means one, so that's why I put "a number".

Funny guy, I know.

Number can be any other number; five, 10, 1,000, 1 million, a billion.

This usually comes first to indicate how many things we're talking about.

Okay? So you need a number.

Five chairs, okay, we're talking about five so I have to look for five chairs.

Not chair, yellow, five.

I'm like: "Is that the name, yellow five? I'm confused."

The next thing we talk about, quality.

Is it good, is it bad?

Is it exceptional?

Right? Or is it insignificant?

That's a big word for meaning not important.


So we go from quality to...

Sorry, quantity to quality.

Then we talk about the size of it.


There were five big, black, cats.

So, five big, is it big, is it small?


How old is it?

Is it new?

Is it old?

Is it young?

All right?


Is it round?

Is it a square or a triangle?

What's the shape of it?


Yeah, that's... Don't. I don't even know. I do.

It's long and kind of circular, but yeah.


Colour, what is the colour?

Yellow, black, green, red. Red.

What's the colour?


Some of you go: "Origin. Wolverine origin."


Origin means: Where did it come from?

Was it made in Italy?

Was it made in China?



It's my favourite impersonation of somebody, he goes: "China. I love China. China's good."

[Laughs] Anyway, was it made in China?

And what is the material?

Is it cotton?

This is made of cotton.

Is it made of beads, so glass?

Is it made of metal?

I mean, you might not be able to see this, but metal.

What is it made of?


That is the order that we follow when we describe things.

And I have an example that I've been hiding from you that we're going to talk about to

show you exactly what I mean.

So, Mr. E and I wanted to buy some couches, and Mr. E was very specific on the kind of

couch he wanted, so he gave me a list.

And from that list I was able to get him exactly what he wanted.

And how was I able to do that? Well, I followed the word order chart.

So let's go take a look at what Mr. E wanted.

So, Mr. E wanted some couches, and I said to him:

"Hey. I got your couches.

I bought five nice, big, old, long, blue, Italian leather...

Well, chairs. Couch."


And Mr. E said: "Fantastic!

Because if you had bought me nice, old, big, long, five, blue Italian couches,

I would be confused and return it."

I said: "No, Mr. E, because I know how we're supposed to order adjectives in English.

So I followed your instructions by following the word order, these five...

Sorry, eight positions order, and I made sure I put the adjectives before the noun so I

would get the exact right thing you wanted."


So this is the first part of this lesson because I want to talk about now that you are a person,

place, or thing, you got to do things.

Right? Like right now I'm talking which is a verb, which we're going to go to in a second and

talk about verbs and how they work.

Are you ready?



Well, we talked about nouns, pronouns, adjectives, how they work together.

Remember a pronoun can replace a noun, the order that they come.

Right? Or they come in.

And now I want to talk about actions because a noun or a thing that doesn't do anything

is rather boring.


Wouldn't you say?

And what do we mean by actions?

Well, right now I'm talking.

My mouth is moving, I'm talking, but I'm also looking at you.

I'm breathing.


So let's go to the board and look at this funny word we call verbs and how they work.

Well, with verbs we have...

Well, they do actions.

We take a pronoun or a noun and they act.

They can sleep...

Did I just press "eat" and "sleep"?

[Laughs] They could eat, sleep, and work.


So that's what a noun can do.

And we talked about, you know, subjects and objects pronouns.

The subject pronoun does it to an object pronoun.


One of these actions.

So: "I eat an apple".

"I" am the subject, "eating an apple", object.


So we put this word here, the verb to tell you how the two things are working together.

Here's a funny one, verbs are a state of being.


Being what?

Well, exists.

Like right now I exist.

If I stop being...

I disappear.

So being means you are there, you exist, you're real, you can be touched.

But it's not just that.

Sometimes I'm happy, and sometimes I'm sad, and sometimes I'm sick, and sometimes I'm healthy.

You'll notice how we use the verb "to be" to talk about those things.

"I am", "she is", "they are". Okay?

And we can use that, this verb "to be" with an adjective and it tells us how something

is right now.

Like, right now it is hot in here. Hot.

That's the state of the situation or how things are right now.

And right now I'm a little sick.

James is sick.

That's my state of being.

And I'm very happy when Mr. E comes to my house.


You didn't see him, but I mentioned him in every video.

So I'm happy.

That's a state, or how I am or how I'm feeling.

My emotions.

You are happy, sad, upset, exuberant, which means very happy.


So this is what verbs do.

They can tell us the action, one noun is doing to the other noun.

In that case we talk about subject and object pronouns.


But we can also talk about how things are.

The world is good, how it is.


Let's move down from verbs to adverbs.

Do you remember when we talked about adjectives and we said: "ad" to "ject" and that was because

you have subject and object?

Well, we have the same thing here, we add to verbs, which means we give more of a description

of what the word was doing.

It's one thing to run, then to run quickly, that's different.

It's not the same.

Or run...

Doo-doo-doo-doo, doo-doo-doo, bionic man style, slowly, but really quickly.


So adverbs describe the action of verbs, but hold, wait.

Unlike an adjective that just describes the pronouns, adverbs describe verbs. Okay.

Adverbs, okay.

And adjectives?

This adverb is very, very busy.

It's got a lot of work to do and it's going to be my job to show you how it does that work.

An adverb is interesting because it adds information to how things are done.

In doing that, first of all we should talk about its position.

Generally, adverbs are found after the verb, but before the adjective it modifies.

So let's do one at a time.

Do you remember I was running and I said I'm running slowly, or I'm running quickly, quick, quick, quick, quickly?

In this case I ran, I want to know what the noun or pronoun is doing, and then how it ran.

So in this case, ran quickly.

Okay? Notice it follows after the verbs.

This is generally true.


So: "I ran quickly to my house."

Now I talked about adjectives.

And I don't want it to get too complicated, but I'll show you here:

"That watch is so expensive."


Well, that watch is the subject we're talking about and we're saying it is expensive.

If I get rid of "so"...

Remember we talked about stative verbs?

We're saying the watch is expensive. Right?

But how expensive is it?

I don't know.

It's so expensive, which means very expensive.

So we actually use an adverb to describe to tell us the degree or amount of expensiveness.

It's very expensive, that means a lot of expense.

You need a lot of money to get that watch.

So adverbs help by noticing it's still following the rule, following the verb, but it helps

to give more information about the adjective which is telling us about the watch.

So adverbs are really cool because they make everything better.

Cool. You like that?

Me too.

But what I want to let you know is there's something else about adverbs.

There's not just one type of adverb.


There are four.

Now, let's take a quick look at what the four are.

The types of adverbs we can talk about, number one, we can talk about adverb of manner.

Please, thank you.

That's so kind of you, and you're welcome.

No, I'm not talking about adverbs being polite and nice.

What I'm saying is when we say adverb of manner it is how something happens.

Some things happen slowly, some things happen very quick.

They happen very quick or fast.


So in this case when we say: "How did it happen?



Both how it happens over time. Right?

Adverbs of time.

This is when something happened.


Well, it happened yesterday, or today, or tomorrow.

These are adverbs because they're going to tell you when it happened in time.

Or it could happen all day.

It rained all day.

Right? Rained, and notice it follows after the verb, all day.

Adverbs of place tell us where it happened.

CityGG... [Laughs] CityTV, everywhere.

Where did it happen, here, there, or everywhere?

And finally, adverbs of degree, that one I was talking about over here was: "so", "very", and "too".

People often get confused with "so" and "too", and we actually have a lesson on that on engVid.

Please check it out.

I think I've done one and two other teachers.

They're quite enjoyable.

You'll like them.

But "so", "very", "too" tell us how much.

Was it small or really, really big?

In this case, "so" means very or a lot.

"Very" means very, but "too" is usually negative or a bad thing, and it means more than I like

or more than I want.

So when we use adverbs of degree we can talk about:

"It was too hot yesterday so I didn't go out of my house.

Too hot for me.", "It was very hot" means a high temperature, a lot of temperature.

Or: "It was so hot", I found it to be a lot.


Now, we've talked about adverbs, the types of adverbs, where they work

or how they follow with verbs, and I'm going to ask you:

Did you understand this lesson? If so, go do the quiz at engVid.

But before I go I want to say

thanks a lot for watching one again, and go to

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Thanks a lot.

See you soon.