Parts of Speech

NOUN — A noun is a naming word, a word that identifies a person, place, thing, or abstract idea. If you can put “a”, “an”, or “the” in front of a word and have it mean something, it is a noun. In English, the name of a specific person or place—such as Jane Doe, Abraham Lincoln, New York, Julius Caesar, Rome or England—is called a proper noun and is generally capitalized. Proper nouns may fail the “a”, “an”, or “the” test.

Nouns which are not capitalized, not Proper nouns, are called Common nouns. A few common nouns: house, boss, dogs, football, mother, kitchen, cabbage, beauty, desks, crime, nation, boy, tempest, tea, coffee, truth, stairs, fields.

Simple Latin nouns: puer (boy), puella (girl), femina (woman), aqua (water), filius (son).

VERB — A verb is a word that expresses action or state of being.

A few English verbs: is, are, am, was, were (all versions of the verb “to be”), jump, sing, kick, use, resemble, play, explode, encounter, celebrate, hope, say, become, decide, leap, dance, refuse, attack, announce, cook.

Simple Latin verbs: parat (he/she prepares), ambulat (he/she walks), festinat (he/she hurries), est (he/she is).

ADJECTIVE — An adjective describes, or modifies, a noun. It tells what sort of a noun, or how many, or which one. Adjectives that are formed from proper nouns (for example, America the noun gives us American the adjective) are proper adjectives.

A few English adjectives: rich, fat, green, sixty thousand, amazing, purple, unidentified, happy, tired, asleep, four, Roman, modern, Elizabethan, clear, old, new, uncertain.

Simple Latin adjectives: fessus or fessa — tired, laetus or laeta – happy, paratus or parata — ready, iratus or irata angry

ADVERBS — First, an adverb describes, or modifies, a verb. It tells something about how or when the verb was, is or will be done.

A few English adverbs: happily, well, later, tomorrow, soon, quickly, never, perfectly, slowly. “Not” is an adverb because it normally modifies the verb, as in “I will NOT dance with you!” The verb “will dance” is clearly modified by “not.”

Second, an adverb can modify (tell about) an adjective: the perfectly clear sky, extremely good food, terribly loud noise, beautifully green eyes. (In English, adverbs are often formed with -ly at the end.)

Third, an adverb can modify another adverb: She sings well, very well. He jumped far, amazingly far. They left soon, too soon.

A few more English adverbs: badly, now, then, quietly, loudly, slowly, sadly.

Simple Latin adverbs: mox (soon), semper (always), non (not), subito (suddenly), diu (for a long time), lente (slowly).

PREPOSITIONS : A preposition comes before ( pre ) a noun or pronoun, and shows the relationship (- position ) of that person or thing to something else. If you imagine an ant next to a hollow tree (or two trees), a preposition describes “anywhere the ant can go:” over, to, under, behind, between, through, over, by, up, down, around, etc. This definition is clever but it leaves out a few prepositions, such as “of” and “for.” A preposition is always followed by a noun or a pronoun. The preposition plus its noun (object of the preposition) together form a prepositional phrase.

A few English prepositions: about, across, against, between, by, down, for, from, in, into, of, on, onto, out, over, through, to, under, up, with, without. Simple Latin prepositions: in (= in, on, into, or against), cum (with), or ex (out of or from).

PRONOUNS : Pronouns are words that take the place of nouns. I, you, he, she, it, they, this, that, who, whose, which are all pronouns. To start with, the most common pronouns will be words like “them” (usually eos), him (eum), her (eam), he (is or hic or ille), she (ea or haec or illa).

CONJUNCTIONS : A conjunction is a joining word. The most common ones are: and, but, or.

Latin conjunctions: et (and), sed (but), aut (or), vel (or rather; or if you prefer).