Encyclopedia > Part of speech

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Part of speech

In grammar, a part of speech is defined as the role that a word (or sometimes a phrase) plays in a sentence. In transformational-generative grammar, parts of speech are known as lexical categories.

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English

In English, words are not inherently one part of speech or another. Many verbs and nouns are spelled identically, for instance, denoting the action and the name of the action, respectively:

  • neigh
  • break
  • outlaw

Not all adverbs end in -ly and not all words ending in -ly are adverbs.

  • tomorrow, slow, fast, crosswise can all be adverbs.
  • leisurely, friendly, ugly are all adjectives.

Even words with primarily grammatical functions can be used as verbs or nouns, as:

  • We must look to the hows and not just the whys.
  • Miranda was to-ing and fro-ing and not paying attention.

Common ways of delimiting words by function include:

Japanese

In Japanese language, aside from some exceptions, the part of speech is defined with called case-maker[?] such as な na, に ni. For example, take a noun, 親切 (Shinsetsu kindness). This word can have either an adjective or adverb form:

  • 親切な (Shinsetsu-na kind)
  • 親切に (Shinsetsu-ni kindly)

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