Posted by: episystechpubs | October 20, 2014

Editor’s Corner: The Eight Parts of Speech

In the editing world, we’ve been talking a lot lately about jargon and specifically about how it often confuses our audience. When we talk about jargon, we’re talking about what Merriam-Webster describes as “the language used for a particular activity or by a particular group of people; a confused unintelligible language.”

Well, over the weekend, a friend asked me a grammar question. I gave her an answer that had to do with nouns, and pronouns, and adjectives, and as I was talking, I could see her eyes glaze over. And I realized that I was doing it; I was using jargon rather than plain English. So I stopped and I explained it in simpler, everyday terms.

So to redeem myself, I thought I’d give you a quick and easy synopsis of some of the basic jargon we all use when we talk about the English language: the eight parts of speech. And I’ll provide a brief explanation and a few examples (not complete lists) for each part of speech. I’ll also provide links to Wikipedia in case you want to delve deeper.

The eight parts of speech:

· Noun: A person, place, or thing [dbb – I’m using the term “thing” very broadly.]
Examples: Doug, Chicago, table, integrity, passion, hyperactivity

· Pronoun: A word that substitutes for a noun [dbb – There are many different types of pronouns:
personal, reflexive, reciprocal, possessive, demonstrative, indefinite, relative, and interrogative.]
Examples: You, myself, our, this, anyone, what, who

· Adjective: A word that describes or qualifies a noun or pronoun
Examples: big, clever, happy, frozen

· Verb: Any action, occurrence, or state of being [dbb – These are action words.]
Examples: walk, think, happen, be

· Adverb: A word that describes or qualifies an adjective, verb, clause, sentence, or other adverb [dbb – Adverbs
typically answer questions like “How?” “When?” “Where?”]
Examples: very, slowly, suddenly, now, soon

· Preposition: A word that creates relationships between other words
Examples: in, around, through, beside, from, for

· Conjunction: Words that connect sentences, clauses, or words within a clause
Examples: and, but, or, nor, yet

· Interjection: An emotional greeting or exclamation; often characterized by exclamation marks
Examples: aah, hmm, Phew!, Cheers!, Hooray!

And here’s a sad sign that proves the importance of thoughtful writing and careful editing:

Our friend, Kara, comes back to work tomorrow. Hooray!

Donna Bradley Burcher | Technical Editor, Adv. | Symitar®

8985 Balboa Ave. | San Diego, CA 92123 | Ph. 619.278.0432 | Extension: 765432

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