Grammar is the foundation for all of our writing and speaking in English. Having a solid foundation makes it easier to achieve fluency. Native speakers can benefit from a refresher on English grammar basics, which they may have forgotten over time. Refreshing the basics is one way to help break bad habits in writing.

Parts of Speech

In English grammar, the eight major parts of speech are noun, pronoun, adjective, verb, adverb, preposition, conjunction, and interjection.


The easy way to remember nouns is that they refer to people, places, or things. Even intangible or abstract concepts like ideas or thoughts are things. In the following sentences, the nouns are highlighted:

Sally doesn’t use an iPhone.
Jared doesn’t eat subs.
The Earth is not the center of the universe.


Pronouns are words that replace nouns: I, me, she, we, they, who, that, yours, his, her, etc.

Pronouns need antecedents. That means that the thing (or person, or place) that the pronoun refers to needs to have been mentioned already by name somewhere earlier in the sentence or paragraph. If it’s not clear which thing the pronoun refers to, the reader can get quite confused.

I swam in the ocean.
You swam in the ocean.
He swam in the ocean.
She swam in the ocean.
It swam in the ocean.


Adjectives are descriptive words that add detail to a sentence. They can give important or necessary information (e.g., Please hand me the blue paper), or they can just make the sentence more interesting (e.g. A frigid wind blew around the icy town). Adjectives describe nouns.
Please sew the red dress.
The weather is hot and humid.
The stuffed toy is fuzzy and round.


Verbs are action words: that’s a rather simplified explanation, but it’s the clearest one. Verbs tell you what the subject of the sentence is up to.

He ran into the wall.
She buys new shoes.
The cat licks its fur.


Prepositions are little words that tell where or when (among other things) something is.
The monkey is on his back.
The glue is behind the board.
The dreamcatcher is above the bed.


Conjunctions are words like and, but, and or that connect concepts, clauses, or parts of sentences.

I wanted to meet her there on time, but I got stuck in traffic.
You can’t wear socks and sandals.


Interjections are words like wow and yay. They’re sounds we make to convey extreme emotion or to create emphasis when we’re talking, sometimes when we can’t think of a good way to express ourselves. The problem with interjections is that they require a great deal of context to be understood. For instance, hey can mean hello, or that’s great, or stop doing that.
Hey! How’s it going?
Wow! Those fireworks are impressive.