Grammar Help

Parts of Speech

There are eight parts of speech in English: nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, prepositions, pronouns, conjunctions, and interjections.

A mnemonic to help you remember the parts of speech is IVAN CAPP:




A noun is a word that names a person, a place, a thing, or an idea. Nouns can be common or proper, singular or plural. There are also possessive nouns and gerunds, nouns that can look like verbs.

person - Mr. Walker, teacher, man, Steve Rogers
place - school, San Francisco, Germany, cemetery
thing - thing, pencil, clock, Oreo cookie
idea - inspiration, emotion, dream, imagination

Common Nouns

A common noun is a word that names any person, place, thing, or idea. A common noun begins with a lowercase letter.

person - boy, girl, sister
place - school, cemetery, park, road
thing - pencil, clock, desk
idea - inspiration, emotion, dream, imagination

Proper Nouns

A proper noun tells the specific name of a person, place, or thing. Words that name people, places, things, titles, holidays, days of the week, and months of the year are proper nouns. Proper nouns are always capitalized. Note: seasons, like summer, winter, etc. are not capitalized.

person - Mr. Walker, Carl Sagan, Harriet Tubman
place - San Francisco, Germany, Lafayette Elementary School
thing - Barbie, iPod, Easter, Tuesday, July

Possessive Nouns

A possessive noun is a noun that shows ownership. An apostrophe or an apostrophe and s are added to show possession. Another noun will come after the possessive noun showing the thing that is the possession.

examples: Camilia's notebook, the teacher's marker, the girls' donuts

Singular Nouns

Nouns can be singular or plural. Singular nouns signify just one person, place, or thing.

examples: cat, car, man, Twinkie, girl

Plural Nouns

Nouns can be singular or plural. Plural nouns signify two or more people, places, or things.

examples: donuts, sheep, lamps, papers, girls

Suffixes That Designate Nouns

This is not an exhaustive list, but one that my students generated one day. These suffixes indicate that the word is a noun.

-tion, -ion, -er, -or, -ian, -ness, -ship, -ity, -dom, and sometimes -ing


Words that describe activities that end in -ing are gerunds. They look like verbs, but are actually nouns.

examples: Talking is fun. Cooking is hard. Reading is good. Swimming is a sport.

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