The basic building blocks of any subject is its grammar. We often think of English as the only subject having grammar we must learn, but even riding a bicycle has grammar. We must know the parts of the bicycle like the handlebars, pedals, and brakes before we can even try to ride it. When I hear countless people tell me how much they hate English (because many people love to tell English teachers that for some strange reason–haha), I often wonder how many of them truly tried to memorize the foundation of our language. Before you can identify a run-on or misplaced modifier in your own writing, you have to know the most basic parts of the sentences on the page. These are the eight parts of speech. Every other rule of English builds on these eight. You can memorize these parts and their definitions, just like you learned what parts on a bicycle would help you do this or that before you zoomed down the sidewalk. You can learn to identify these parts in sentences as well. It is not impossible or hard if you take the time to commit them to memory. It’s worth your time. After all, it is the language you speak daily. Here are a few links to help you do just that:
Our Mother Tongue by Nancy Wilson – A great guide to the basics of the English Language. (I use this with my own kids.)
Easy Pace Learning – A helpful web page with definitions and examples. (This site is from the UK, and differences in American and British English will show on some of this site’s pages. I’m recommending this particular page.)
8 Parts of Speech (Woo!) Song – A cheesy song that helped my kids memorize the parts.