Learning the English language can be very difficult for people who have grown up speaking another one. English has a number of very confusing rules both with sentence structure and with pronunciation that can make learning the language a challenge. One of the most difficult things to learn and understand is the language's various "word classes."

What Are the Different Classes of Words in English?

English language learners and native speakers must all, at some point, learn about the various word classes and types of words. Word classes or "parts of speech" are the building blocks of sentences. Understanding parts of speech can help make sentences more intelligible, and make the work of learning how to construct sentences much easier.

In English, sentences are made up of various kinds of words. Verbs, nouns, adjectives, adverbs, articles, pronouns, preposition, conjunction and interjections are all parts of speech.

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A noun is a word that describes a person, a place or a thing. A proper noun is a word that describes a specific thing of which there is only one. For example, the word "boat" is a noun, but the word "Titanic" is a proper noun because it refers to one specific boat. By the same token, "boy" is a noun, but "Noah" is a proper noun because it refers to a specific boy.

Verbs are action words. Verbs are crucial in every sentence as they describe what the subject of the sentence is doing. In the sentence "Mary ran the race," ran is the verb because it described what Mary did. In"Stan saw a movie," saw is the verb in this case because it describes what Stan did.

What Is the Difference Between a Predicate and a Verb?

A predicate, unlike a verb, is not a part of speech or a word class. A predicate is a type of statement. It is the part of the sentence or the clause that tells us what the subject did. In "Mary ran the race," ran the race is the predicate. It is everything that is not the subject in a particular sentence.

A predicate needs a subject. "Ran the race" or "saw a movie" are not complete sentences because there is no understanding of who did those things without a subject. By the same token, a predicate cannot exist without a verb. A verb is what gives the predicate the ability to exist. The predicate consists of the verb and the action that the verb pertains to.

If every sentence has two parts, the first part is the subject, and the second part is the predicate. The predicate needs the subject, and a subject requires a predicate. The subject tells you who or what the sentence is about, and the predicate tells you something about the subject. You can use verb and predicate worksheets to study this.

What Is an Example of a Compound Predicate?

Sometimes you may encounter a sentence that uses a compound predicate. A compound predicate is a predicate that has two or more verb phrases which are linked by a conjunction. A conjunction is a part of speech which links up words, phrases and clauses. You can learn to recognize verb and predicate examples.

For example, in the sentence: "Ilana went to Paris and met her pen pal." Ilana is the subject of both predicates. She is the person who went to Paris, and she is the person who met her pen pal. The conjunction in this sentence is the word "and." It connects both predicates.

Occasionally a sentence will have multiple predicates. This is fine, as long as there is one single subject who is described by the actions in all three predicates. A compound predicate may describe qualities about the subject of the sentence or communicate information about their activities. For example,"The barn is red and has electricity," or "Francesca came back from the city and is tired."

About the Author

Ashley Friedman is a freelance writer with experience writing about education for a variety of organizations and educational institutions as well as online media sites. She has written for Pearson Education, The University of Miami, The New York City Teaching Fellows, New Visions for Public Schools, and a number of independent secondary schools. She lives in Los Angeles.