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Unit One:

Parts of Speech
Table of Contents
Unit 1: Parts of Speech
Unit 2: Phrases, Clauses, and Sentence
Unit 3: Simple & Progressive Verbs
Unit 4: Perfect & Passive Verbs
Unit 5: Complex Sentences
Unit 6: Overview of City ESOL Program
The purpose of these modules is to review key
grammar points that are taught in the ESOL
program at City College and to offer suggestions
for assisting ESOL students with grammar and
sentence structure. Though the grammatical
concepts will be familiar to you, explaining them to
second-language students and providing examples
may be a new experience. It is our hope that
these materials will enable you to work more
effectively and enthusiastically with ESOL students.
As you go through the presentation, please answer
the questions posed (in your head) before clicking
on the answer. Have fun!
Review Parts of Speech
What are the parts of speech?

What is a noun?

What is a verb?

What is an adjective?

What is an adverb?

Tests to determine which part of speech
Lets Practice
Given these definitions, answer the following
What part of speech is the word explosion?

Answering this question shows why these
definitions can sometimes be problematic for
students. Its reasonable to think that explosion
is a verb because it expresses an action.
However, it is a noun.

Identifying Parts of Speech
In addition to these types of definitions, there are
other ways to identify parts of speech. One is to
look at the context (surrounding words). Another
is to look at suffixes (word endings).

There are a series of tests that you can perform
to identify a words part of speech. Answering
these test questions accurately requires a certain
level of fluency. Therefore, these tests are not
recommended for students at the lower levels.
However, they are useful tools to have available.

Noun Test 1
One way to test whether or not a word is a noun is
to look at the context. Most singular nouns have
a, an, or the preceding them. Plural nouns may
have nothing or the preceding them. These words
are called articles, and they are one type of
determiner. (More explanation on this later.) To
test if the word explosion is a noun, we can see if it
sounds correct to put an article in front of it.
Example 1: Can you say the explosion?
Example 1 works. Thus, we can identify explosion
as a noun.
Noun Test 1
Lets try it with another example, and test whether or
not the word speak is a noun.
Example 2: Can you say the speak?
Example 2 does not sound correct. This is an
indication that speak is not a noun.

Not all nouns can have determiners in front of
them. For example, you wouldnt say the Chad
even though Chad is a noun; it is a proper noun.
Thus, you would want to perform more tests.

To identify a word as a noun, it needs to pass
at least one test. It can fail the others.

But before we go on to explain these additional
tests, lets answer a question you may have:
What is a determiner?
There are three categories of determiners. If there is
a determiner, a noun has to follow at some point
(although there might be other words in between).

1. Articles
the, a, an

2. Show Possession
his, her, their, my, our, its, your

3. Show Location
this, that, these, those

the kitten
her dog
this rabbit
that turtle
Noun Test 2
A sentence consists of a noun phrase and a verb
phrase. (More explanation on this later.) The
subject of a sentence must be a noun. For
example, we have the following sentence:
Tutors help students.

Tutors is the subject of this sentence; thus, we can
identify it as a noun.

Noun Test 2
First, lets practice identifying subjects. In the
following sentence, which word is the subject, or
main noun, that the verb must agree with?
Speaking in a foreign language is difficult.
If you said speaking is the subject, then you are
correct! Language is not the main noun.

Noun Test 2
Now lets test whether the word run is a noun. We
can put it in the subject of a sentence. Does the
following sentence sound correct?
Example 1: Run is fun!
Example 1 is not correct because run is a verb, so it
cannot be the subject of a sentence. We can,
however, change it to a noun form to make it work.
This ing noun form is called a gerund.
Running is fun!
Noun Test 3
Nouns are the only word forms that can be made
plural. Thus, if you can make it plural, then it
must be a noun. However, keep in mind that not
all nouns can be made plural. These are called
non-count nouns.
Lets test whether the word ball is a noun.
Example 1: Can you say balls?
Example 1 works, so we can know that ball is a
Noun Test 3
Now lets test whether the word beneficial is a
Example 2: Can you say beneficials?
Example 2 does not sound correct. This indicates
that beneficial is not a noun. In fact, it is an

When a subject is third-person singular (he, she,
it), then an s is added to the end of the verb.
Be careful not to confuse third-person singular s
with plural s! Speak is NOT a noun, but you
sometimes put an s at the end. For example: He
speaks Japanese fluently.
Review of Noun Tests
Test 1: Determiner?
The ________
the explosion *the speak
Test 2: Sentence subject?
Noun Phrase + Verb Phrase = Sentence
Running is fun. *Run is fun.
Test 3: Plural?
balls *beneficials

* = Fails test/not grammatical
Verb Test
Verbs are the only word forms that can be changed
to the past tense. Thus, you would be able to test
whether explosion is a verb by trying to change the
Example 1: Can you say explosioned?
Example 1 does not work because explosion is not
a verb. Lets compare that to the word walk.
Example 2: Can you say walked?
Example 2 works, so we know that walk is a verb.
Adjective Test
As stated before, adjectives are words that
describe a noun. One test to tell if something is an
adjective is the location in a phrase. Adjectives
can go before nouns (and between a determiner
and noun.) We know that the word sandwich is a
noun as it passes all three tests. Now lets test
whether the word delicious is an adjective.
Example 1: Can you say the delicious sandwich?
Example 1 works, so we know that delicious is an

Sometimes nouns act like adjectives. When this
happens, the noun is always singular. For
example, ant is a noun, but in the following
example it is functioning as an adjective: I have an
ant farm.

Adverb Test
An adverb can describe an adjective, a verb, or
another adverb. Many adverbs have an -ly suffix,
making them easier to identify.
Example 1: She walks very quickly.
We might automatically know that quickly is an
adverb because of the -ly suffix. Additionally, its
function in the sentence is to describe how the
person walks. Moreover, very is an adverb which
intensifies the adverb, quickly.

Adverb Test
Do you think that this sentence is grammatically
Example 1: Professors write clear.
This sentence is not grammatical because clear is
describing the verb, write, and thus requires the
adverb form, clearly. The example should be:
Professors write clearly.
Word Families
Word Families are words that share the same root
or base form. They are usually different parts of

Example 1: Every week I prioritize my
Example 2: My top priority this semester is
passing the class.

Word Families
She succeeds every
time she tries
something new.
I want to successfully
complete this class.
He is a successful
Success in school will
help me get a good job.
The suffixes ing and ed can be used to make
more than one part of speech.

Example 1: I am working hard today.
Example 2: Working hard is essential.

Example 3: Todays class bored me.
Example 4: I am not bored by grammar!
Example 5: She is boring.

There are many other suffixes. Recognizing the
more common ones will assist students in using the
correct word form.

Nouns Verbs Adjectives
heighten entertainment outrageous
Lets Practice: Complete the chart.
Nouns Verbs Adjectives
emphasize emphasis
renewal renewed; renewable
reserve reservation
motivated; motivational
ESOL students often write sentences that sound
odd or confusing because they have used parts of
speech or word forms incorrectly. If you can help
them identify these errors, then their sentences
may become more understandable.

Scene One
A students sentence is I analysis the problem.
There are many ways to assist him in correcting
this error. Heres one:
Tutor: What part of speech is analysis?
Student: I dont know.
Tutor: Lets look it up!
Student: Analysis is a noun.
Tutor: What part of speech do you need here?
Student: A verb.
Tutor: Thats right! Whats the verb form of analysis? Can you find it?
Student: Analyze.
Tutor: Great!