Parts of speech refers to the various roles that words play in a sentence – for example, APPLE is a noun, EAT is a verb, and LARGE is an adjective.
There’s plenty more that you’ll need to learn before and during your CELTA, such as articles, adverbs, auxiliary and modal verbs, pronouns and prepositions.
Unlike native speakers, language learners need to construct their sentences carefully, paying attention to which words perform which functions (parts of speech) as they interact in the phrase or sentence.
CELTA trainees, like yourself, need to teach learners these skills using the proper parts of speech.
This is a vital area of knowledge for anyone hoping to pass the CELTA course, or indeed teach English as a foreign language in the future.
You will be using parts of speech every single day during your CELTA course, and in every lesson you teach thereafter. There’s just no escaping it. Here’s just some places that you will be expected to illustrate parts of speech:
When we teach parts of speech on the whiteboard, we use standard abbreviations that your learners will be very familiar with, thanks to their time spent studying English language dictionaries.
This format helps the learner to easily construct similar sentences, and to learn the grammar in a methodical way. During your CELTA course and teaching career, you’ll be writing a lot of parts of speech like the example above.
Learning and remembering parts of speech can be daunting at first, but this guide aims to make it as easy as possible. Below are the basic parts of speech that you will use throughout your CELTA course.
The subject of a sentence is the person, idea, place or thing that performs a verb (an action or state of being). All full sentences must have a subject. Remember that verbs change according to their subject.
A direct object of a sentence is a person, idea, place or thing on which was performed the action of a verb. An indirect object is involved in the action, usually as who or what the action was performed for. Don’t worry if that sounds complicated; it will become clear in the examples.
These words help us to understand how two words are related in time and place.
before, after, on, off, along, against, beneath, under, for, from, in, out, inside, until etc.
Adverbs usually modify a verb or adjective (but sometimes other words). They perform a lot of different functions and communicate additional information.
beautifully, calmly, hopefully, well, often, always, never, sometimes etc.
These are words that communicate an action (read, eat, hope) or a state of being (become, be, remain). By taking different forms (he ran, I run, we will run etc.), they also communicate WHEN an action took place, and to some degree WHO did the action.
jump, help, sleep, dream, pursue, work, decide, overtake, pass, excel, am, are, is etc.
Verbs are either regular or irregular:
Verbs also have a form called the Past Participle. These are when we use verbs as an adjective to describe something.
Here’s an excellent web page for learning more about past participles.
Adjectives are really easy to remember. They simply describe or modify something.
large, red, angry, beautiful, essential, tasty, Korean, leather etc.
Countable nouns are things, items and concepts that can be counted. Countable nouns can be used as a plural in a sentence, usually by simply adding an s, (but not always).
frog(s), road(s), concept(s), idea(s), sheep, men, loa(f/ves), potato(es) etc.
Uncountable nouns are also things, items and concepts, but – like the name suggests – they cannot be counted. Instead, we can have more, less, a bit, a lot, too much, and too little of them.
hope, advice, information, ink, sand, ice, love, hate, luggage, furniture etc.
You’ll become very well acquainted with auxiliary verbs during your CELTA course and throughout your teaching career. They help the main verb to express slightly different meanings (technically through tense, mood or voice, but don’t worry too much about this at this point.)
am, do, has, is, are etc.
Modal verbs are a small group of auxiliary verbs that communicate permission, obligation, ability and how likely something is. Don’t worry, it will all become crystal clear when you read the examples.
can, could, may, might, must, shall, should, will, would
Pronouns can be used instead of nouns, often to avoid needless repetition. There are LOTS of different types of pronoun, but don’t worry – it’s not necessary to learn them all before the CELTA. Instead, just understand how pronouns are used in the following examples.
Here’s an excellent resource on pronouns if you’d like to learn more.
Articles are four small, extremely common words in the English language: a, an, the, and some. They communicate how specific or well-known something is.
A and AN are indefinite articles. THE is a definite article. SOME is a partitive article.
Depending on where learners are from, they might find articles to be either natural and easy (Spanish, French, German etc.), or frustratingly difficult and even pointless (Poland, Russia, Czech etc.)
These words connect words, sentences, phrases or clauses together. They’re normally small but common words that native speakers use every day.
and, but, or, yet, for, nor, so
There’s lots of good examples on this web page if you’d like to learn more.