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Classification of Words.

[NOTE.-"Parts of speech" means classes of words.]

§ 11. Words are divided into eight classes, according to the purposes they serve in speech.

§ 12. Nouns stand as names.

Names that belong only to one thing are called Proper Nouns.

The names of things not real, but only imagined, are Abstract Nouns.

§ 13. Verbs make statements.

Verbs are divided thus (§§ 3, 4, 5):




Ordinary Intransitive

§ 14. Pronouns stand instead of nouns.

Some pronouns, beside standing for nouns, serve the purpose also of conjunctions (§ 18), and for that reason are called Conjunctive Pronouns (= Relative Pronouns).

§ 15. Adjectives describe the things of which nouns are the names.

Or otherwise: Adjectives express the qualities, number, or other distinction of the things represented by nouns.

§ 16. Adverbs modify the meaning of verbs, adjectives, or other adverbs.

Or otherwise: Adverbs express the circumstances of Time, Place, Manner, Order, Degree, Cause, Probability, which may attend assertions or attributes.

$17. Prepositions connect nouns or pronouns with some other notional words, and show the relations between them.

NOTE. It is difficult for children to understand the use of prepositions and conjunctions.

Here are two figures, of an index-hand and of a circle. Prepositions will express certain relations that there may be between them; e.g.

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$ 18. "Conjunctions connect sentences; but the word 'and' sometimes connects words." (Smith's Eng. Gram.)

$ 19. Interjections are incoherent or unconnected utterances.

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The use of conjunctions may be thus shown :

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Change of Words from one Class to

§ 20. One noun put before another becomes an adjective (as in mountain crag, London cries); but if the two are written together (boatman, walkingstick, chestnut), or with a hyphen between them (snowflake, writing-paper), the compound is considered as a single noun.

A noun or pronoun signifying an owner is in fact an adjective (§ 15): father's house, my hat.

§ 21. Certain verb-forms are used as nouns to stand as the subjects or objects of sentences, and others to serve the purpose of adjectives or adverbs.

Verbal Nouns. To see is to believe; seeing is believing. I love to look on a scene like this.

Verbal Adjectives (= Participles). A roaring lion. broken stick.


Verbal Adverbs. She stoops to conquer. A trap designed to catch a sunbeam.

§ 22. Adjectives become nouns when they are treated with inflexions (§ 30) like nouns, or when they are modified by adjectives;

e.g. Thousands mourn. The blind are happy. Adjectives are often used in poetry for adverbs: Slow rises worth by poverty depressed.

A snake's small eye blinks dull and shy.

§ 23. Prepositions become adverbs by omitting the noun or pronoun in composite adverbs (§ 7), where the preposition expresses the relation of time or place.

We heard the waters rush past (i.e. past us).

The sun was sloping down (i.e. down the sky).
Beneath was spread, like a green sea,

The waveless plain of Lombardy (i.e. beneath me). Or: A noun significant of time or place will serve as an adverb without the preposition.

Day after day we stuck (i.e. through day after day). Not a minute stopped or stayed he (i.e. during not a minute).

In each case it is best to supply the word understood. (See Adverbial Object, § 81.)

§ 24. According to the purpose it serves, any word usually in one particular class may belong to another

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But me no buts. (Shakspere.)
He walks but slowly.

Conjunction. He walks, but he walks slowly.

In cases of difficulty it is good to try words of whose class you are sure, in place of those you are in doubt about.


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