POTUS? President of the United States.

POS? Parts of speech.

Yes, I know you learned the parts of speech in school, but we are going to review and then have a “challenge.”

It depends whom you ask as to how many parts of speech there are in the English language. I say eight. It is usually about eight. I guess it depends how you group some of them.

The parts of speech are the categories into which words are put, depending on the role they play in a sentence (or a phrase). Many words fall into more than one category, depending on how they are used in a particular sentence. Here are the eight parts of speech:

  1. Noun – Person, place, thing, or idea (you probably remember that one!): school, dog, boy, computer, happiness; proper nouns: Golden Gate Bridge, California , Susan
  2. Verb – Action or state of being: to run, to study, to eat, to be, to look, to think.
  3. Pronoun – (not to be confused with a proper noun, which begins with a capital letter and is a noun) A word that takes the place of a noun: he, them, us, everyone, this, those, himself, what, which.

*All you need to have a complete sentence is a noun (or pronoun) and a verb: I read. Actually, you don’t even need the noun or pronoun in the case of a command: Sit. In this case the subject is implied and is you (You sit.)*

  1. Adjective – Describes a noun or another adjective: red, pretty, terrible, this, many. I group the articles (a, an, and the) with the adjectives, since they do modify nouns.
  • blue dress (describes a noun)
  • bright blue dress (describes another adjective)
  1. Adverb – Describes a verb, another adverb, or an adjective. Tells how, where, when, to what extent:  slowly, then, now, too, very
  • talk slowly (describes a verb)
  • very slowly (describes another adverb)
  • very blue (describes an adjective)
  1. Preposition – Always appears as part of prepositional phrase. The phrase tells what kind, where, or when: in, out, below, with, by, for, along, to, at.
  • in the house
  • out the door
  • down the slide
  • along the river
  • at school
  • by the same author
  • after the party
  • with stripes
  1. Conjunction – Joins two words, phrases, clauses, or sentences: for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so (FANBOYS)
  • tiny, yet strong
  • Jack and Jill 
  • chicken or fish?
  • I can’t go, so you can have my ticket.
  1. Interjection – Usually an exclamatory word, but can be followed by a comma or an exclamation point: gosh, well, oh, darn, yikes, wow
  • Wow! Look at the size of that cat!
  • Oh, I have seen that cat before.

As I said earlier, many words can function as two or more different parts of speech,depending on how they are used:


  • I saw a play last night. (noun)
  • I play tennis every weekend. (verb)
  • I set up a play date for Jimmy. (adjective)


  • Timmy’s in the well! (noun)
  • I did well on the test. (adverb)
  • Well, how did you figure that out? (interjection)

So, that is our POS review. Here is the challenge: I used to teach the parts of speech to my 7th graders — not that they hadn’t learned it before — and to make it more fun, I had to give them something interesting to do.

Can you make a sentence that uses each part of speech only once? Your sentence would be eight words. Well, if you really think, you can see why this might not be possible. You can do it in 10 or 11 words because something has to repeat. Or does it? HINT: If you break a grammar rule — one that is sort of okay to break these days, you can do it. When you have figured it out, and written your eight-word sentence,  scroll down for the answer.


Oh, so sneaky Nancy secretly waited for him.

  • Oh – interjection
  • so – conjunction
  • sneaky – adjective
  • Nancy – noun
  • secretly – adverb
  • waited – verb
  • for – preposition
  • him – pronoun

Problem: The major problem is the conjunction, which connects things, meaning you might have to put in two nouns. The rule that I broke is starting the sentence with the conjunction (so) instead of having it connect two things. It is sort of breaking a rule, but in informal writing, it’s fine to do.

But look:

Well, wait for her and very tall Joe.

Here, I avoided the issue by writing a command. That way I could avoid using the noun or pronoun as the subject and could use them as the prepositional objects and not have to repeat a noun or pronoun. So that is another way to do it.

Such challenges keeps the brain in good working order! If you have any other solutions or just sentences you have created, just send a comment!


Grammar Diva News:

I will be the guest speaker at the March 8 meeting of the Napa Valley Writers, a chapter of California Writers Club. Looking forward to it!