Introduction to Parts of Speech


The parts of speech are labels for explaining how a word is used in a sentence.


The video defines and illustrates each part of speech.

Download transcript.


The parts of speech labels are helpful for two reasons:

  1. Some words function as different parts of speech.
  2. Labeling the parts of speech helps explain usage—the conventions that make sentences correct or incorrect.

To demonstrate the first reason, consider these two sentences:

In the first sentence, broadcast refers to a televised news show; it is a noun, which is a person, place, thing, or idea. In the second sentence, broadcast is a verb meaning “to publicize.” Without the parts of speech labels, using broadcast in these two different ways would be hard to explain.

The second reason for the parts of speech labels is most relevant in LaunchPad Solo for Readers and Writers. The units illustrate and assess correct versus incorrect usage. Often, to improve your writing, you need to become more skillful at following the conventions, which depends upon recognizing the functions of words in sentences. The parts of speech are shorthand method of doing that.

For example, if you want to reduce choppy writing by learning coordination and subordination, then you need to be familiar with the conventions for conjunctions as well as parts of a sentence, which requires identifying the subject (a noun or pronoun) and the verb. In this way, the parts of speech labels help explain better ways of phrasing and structuring sentences.


The units in this section will help you recognize the parts of speech. The units also call attention to common errors so that you can look for similar mistakes in your own writing.