Parts of speech are the grammatical positions of words in a sentence. There are eight basic parts of speech in English: nouns, pronouns, adjectives, verbs, adverbs, conjunctions, prepositions and interjections. Parts of speech help people to clarify their speaking and writing by indicating the specific meaning and purpose of every word in a sentence.

Nouns and Pronouns

The simple way to identifying a noun is that it is always a person, place or thing. Some examples of nouns include "man," "library" and "backpack." Plural nouns refer to more than one person, place or thing, such as "cars" or "women." Pronouns are words substitute nouns, allowing the speaker to avoid using the full noun every time they want to refer to the person, place or thing. Pronouns are used in the same way as nouns. Examples of pronouns are "it," "him" and "me."

Verbs and Adverbs

Verbs are words that indicate a particular action, such as "move," "walk" and "imagine." Verbs are conjugated into the past, present, or future tense to specify when the action is happening. Adverbs are words that describe the action of the verb, such as "slowly," "carefully" and "hurriedly," answering the question of how or when the action occurred. Adverbs almost always end in "ly," making them easy to identify.

Adjectives and Conjunctions

Adjectives are descriptors that modify the noun in a sentence. Some examples include "happy," "gleeful" and "pleasant." Adjectives describe such things as what kind or how many of an object there are. Conjunctions are words that connect two words or phrases in a sentence, such as "and," "if" and "but." An example of a conjunction is "and" in the following sentence: "Sandy and Matt are very good friends."

Prepositions and Interjections

Prepositions are words that link a noun or a pronoun to another word in a sentence, such as "since," "before" and "around." An example of a preposition is "on" in the following sentence: "The book is on the table." Interjections are words that express emotion, such as "Wow!" "Gosh!" and "Oops." Interjections are usually followed by an exclamation mark or a comma and generally come at the beginning of the sentence or stand alone.