Chapter 1

Parts Of Speech Icon

January 29, 2022

Usually, English grammar has eight parts of speech:

  • noun
  • pronoun
  • adjective
  • verb
  • adverb
  • preposition
  • conjunction
  • interjection.

Noun

This is the name of an object, a person, or a country; or [as the] subjective [part] of a sentence.

Pronoun

A pronoun is a part of speech used in lieu of an original noun to avoid boring repetition.

Mohan lives in Calcutta, but today he is in Dacca.

Adjective

An adjective is a part of speech that qualifies a noun or a noun-equivalent.

He is a good boy. Poppy seed is an indispensable item in a West Bengal dish.

Verb

A verb is a part of speech that denotes an action, that associates the subject with the predicate.

Jadu is singing Rabindra Sangita.

Adverb

An adverb is a part of speech that modifies a verb.

He is running fast.

Here fast is an adverb modifying the verb is running.

Preposition

A preposition is a part of speech which grants position to an object or an action.

put on (wear) put off (extinguish)

Conjunction

A conjunction is a part of speech that maintains a link amongst different ideas in both compound and complex sentences.

He went to Calcutta, and there he visited the zoological garden.

And is the connecting link between the two sentences: “He went to Calcutta.” “There he visited the zoological garden.”

Interjection

An interjection is a part of speech that expresses a mental idea through an affirmative or negative word.

Oh! Hello! Alas!

Pro-verb

In the list of the above-mentioned eight parts of speech, the pro-verb is not included. But it will be better if the pro-verb is treated as a separate part of speech.

I shall never kill an innocent bird as Dickie does.

Here does is a pro-verb, because it has been used in lieu of the verb kill. Just as a pronoun is a part of speech used in place of a noun, a pro-verb is a part of speech which substitutes for the original verb.

Verbal Noun

A noun denotes the name and existential form of an entitative idea. When an action takes place in such a way that it comes within the scope of a special name and existential form of an entitative idea, it is regarded as a verbal noun.

Running is a good exercise. Walking in the morning is good for the health.

Verbal Adjective

When a verb qualifies a noun or a noun-equivalent, it is called a verbal adjective.

A running panorama is more interesting than a stagnant picture.

Here running is a verbal adjective, qualifying the noun panorama. [The equivalent word] in Bengali [would be considered] an adjective. In such cases generally the suffix -shatr (শত্র) or the suffix -shánac (শানচ) is used in Sanskrit, and the suffix -anta (ন্ত) is used in Bengali: for example, calanta (চলন্ত), ghumanta (ঘুমন্ত). (1)

Syntax

The word syntax(2) denotes the particular style of composition according to grammatical rules. That is, syntax means how and where the different parts of speech (noun, pronoun, adjective, verb, adverb, preposition, conjunction, interjection) are to be used in a sentence.

(1) The above sections on Verbal Noun and Verbal Adjective are taken from the section on “Kriyá” (“Verb”) in the author’s Shabda Cayaniká (“A Collection of Words”) Part 10, 1987. Accompanying them is the following definition of gerund (which departs from conventional definitions):

“When a verb qualifies another verb, or a noun, or a noun-equivalent, and has a special idea behind it, it is called a gerund. But [the equivalent form] is treated as an adjective in Bengali, and has the suffix -d́a (ড). Example of gerund: ‘Listen to the gurgling sound of the swift-flowing river.’” –Eds.

(2) There is great confusion among scholars about the origin of the word syntax. Some say that the word is of Latin origin, others are of the opinion that it is of Greek origin, some maintain that it is of Ottoman Turkish origin, while, according to others, it is of mixed Semitic and Greek origin.