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IELTS grammar – parts of speech

In order to improve your result in the IELTS test, both for speaking and writing, it is important to be aware of the ‘parts’ of speech that create sentences in English. It is commonly accepted that there are only 9* different parts of speech from which all sentences, phrases or utterances are made.

*Some schools believe that there are only 8 parts of speech, with articles being part of the adjective group.
The different parts of speech are as follows:

  1. nouns
  2. verbs
  3. adverbs
  4. adjectives
  5. articles
  6. pronouns
  7. prepositions
  8. conjunctions
  9. interjections

Understanding which groups words are in can also help you to break down sentences, making the passive skills (reading and listening) easier.

Below is a table showing the different parts of speech and an example.

Parts of speech

Part of speech Common use Example
Verb to describe an action He sat.
Noun To describe a thing He sat on the chair.
Adverb To describe the verb He slowly sat on the chair.
Adjective To describe the noun He slowly sat on the tall chair.
Pronoun To talk about who He slowly sat on the tall chair.
Preposition To talk about where or when He slowly sat on the tall chair.
Conjunction Used to join ideas He slowly sat on the tall chair but fell off.
Article Used to give more information about the noun He slowly sat on the tall chair but fell off.
Interjection A short exclamation – not a full sentence Ouch! He hit the floor.

Improving your knowledge of English

It is also useful to keep a vocabulary list and group words together that come from the same parts of speech.

For example:

adjectives – e.g. glamorous

You should try to also learn their antonyms and synonyms to build your vocabulary.

e.g. alluring, attractive (synonyms) – dowdy, plain (antonyms)

and think about their comparatives and superlatives e.g. – (adj) more glamorous (comparative) the most glamorous (superlative)

nouns – e.g. accommodation

(check spelling and think about articles etc) – uncountable, no ‘a’ or ‘an’

You should try to also learn their synonyms to build your vocabulary.

e.g. place of residence, dwelling, abode (synonyms)

verbs – e.g. drive

(and their past and participle forms);

drove, driven

prepositions – e.g. on

(with examples of their different uses),

e.g. on the sofa, but in an arm chair.

conjunctions – e.g. moreover

(with examples of use and punctuation)

Smoking is expensive; moreover, it is detrimental to health.

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