How to Identify Nouns, Adjectives, Verbs & Adverbs

by Therese Rochon

It is almost impossible to write a sentence without a verb or a noun, since these parts of speech constitute many of the words in the English language. Adverbs and adjectives modify verbs and nouns respectively. They give the reader a better description of a noun, and they let us know more exactly how a verb was completed. English speakers need to be able to identify the different parts of speech.

Determine whether the word represents an idea, person, place or thing. If so, then it is a noun. Words such as "materialism," "George Washington," "Spain" or "basket" are nouns, and they respectively describe an idea, a person, a place and a thing.

Check whether the word describes something. Any word that describes how old something is, what color it is, what condition it is or what it looks like is an adjective.

See whether the word represents an action. If so, then it is a verb. Any word that is an action, such as see, hear, read or dance, is a verb.

Decide whether the word describes how an action was or is completed. The easiest way to spot adverbs is by looking for an "ly" suffix, because most adverbs end this way. However, not all adverbs end with "ly," and not all words ending with "ly" are adverbs.

About the Author

Therese Rochon is a college student and freelance writer from St. Louis. She is studying English and Spanish literature at Washington University and plans to attend law school in the future. She speaks two languages and, in 2011, will au pair in Europe to learn two more languages. She has been writing online since 2005.

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