Back to the Basics: How to Recognize Nouns, Verbs, Adjectives, and Adverbs

24 Jun

In order to understand something like Subject/Verb Agreement, the proper way to use Pronouns, or even Identifying and Correcting Sentence Fragments, it is important to fully master some of the basic elements of grammar. This can be difficult for all writers, and especially for ESL, or English as a Second Language, writers. That said, a great place to start is by learning how to recognize these basic elements – like nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs. While there are many other parts of speech that can impact your writing success, it all begins with mastering the basics!

As they explain in the video, nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs all do different things. We use a combination of these different elements to create sentences and express ourselves! As the video notes,

  • Noun (n): Person, Place, Thing (or whatever/whoever is doing the action)
  • Verb (v): An Action Word (or the action that is occurring)
  • Adverb (adv): Describes a Verb (or how the action was done)
  • Adjectives (adj): Describes a Noun (or the size/shape/color/etc. of the noun)

But what does that mean? And more importantly, how do we recognize these elements when we see them in a sentence? Remember, as they explain in the video, verbs and adverbs will go together. This is because the adverb is describing the verb. If we have an adverb and no verb, we would have the description and not the action. Similarly, nouns and adjectives will often go together. Again, this is because the adjective is describing the noun. If we have an adjective and no noun, we would have the description but not what it is describing.

For example:

  • Stella talks quickly and laughs loudly.
    • The first thing that we want to do is identify our noun. To do this, we can ask: Which item in this sentence is a person, place or thing? Clearly, “Stella” is the only person within our sentence, so Stella is our noun.
    • Next, to identify our verb, we want to look for the action. To do this, we can ask: What is happening in the sentence? Also, now that we know that Stella is our noun and that she is doing the action, we can ask: What is Stella doing? Well, we can see that Stella talks and laughs. In this case, “talks” and “laughs” are both verbs, as they are showing the action that is occurring.
    • Lastly, we need to determine if “quickly” and “loudly” are adverbs or adjectives. At this point, as we have identified that “Stella” is our noun, and “walks” and “talks” are both verbs. Remember what we learned in the video: adverbs go with verbs. The words “quickly” and “loudly” are being used to describe Stella’s talking and laughing, so we know they are adverbs!

Are you ready to practice your skills? Test your knowledge here! Have a grammar question or writing concern? Schedule an appointment and visit the Writing Center today!

© Alyssa Ryan 


5 Responses to “Back to the Basics: How to Recognize Nouns, Verbs, Adjectives, and Adverbs”

  1. smuwritingcentre June 30, 2015 at 2:39 pm #

    Reblogged this on Saint Mary's University Writing Centre.


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