How to Tell the Difference Between a Verb, Adjective, Adverb, and Noun
A shoutout to Schoolhouse Rock videos
I love to write
And I have a gift for spelling.
But I’m not good at the subject of English.
In school, I liked to participate in spelling bees and loved to write poetry and stories for my assignments. But I never could remember the rules. I just wrote and it seemed like I understood the rules. They came naturally to me.
I’m not saying this to be arrogant. I don’t know how I know. But I would not make a good English teacher.
Writers are given a short explanation of what words to capitalize using the simple AP Old style. Here is what they are told:
Quick and easy is: first and last words of the title.
Plus, all verbs,
proper nouns, and
ALL words with 4 or more letters.
No short prepositions. If they’re over 4 letters (Among, Between, Since, etc.), then yes.
And no conjunctions if they’re less than 4 letters. For example, “After” and “Although” WOULD be capitalized.
But not “but,” “and,” “or,” etc.
Instinctively I understand it. However, my memory does me no good to try to remember what I learned in school about verbs, adjectives, adverbs, and nouns.
I’m embarrassed to say that I had to Google it!
This is what I came up with (with the help of an old friend, Schoolhouse Rock):
Capitalize the first and last words of a title, all verbs, adjectives, adverbs, nouns, and ALL words with four or more letters.
Words that express an action.
e.g. “run”, “look”, “feel”, “act”, “bake”, “tell”
Schoolhouse Rock videos betray my age, but they are one of the best ways to learn the English language.
This one is a fun way to learn about verbs:
Words that describe a noun.
e.g. “frustrating”, “foggy”, “sunny”, “brainy”, “smaller”, “boyish”
Unpack your Adjectives by Schoolhouse Rock explains it well here:
Words that modify a verb, adjective or another adverb.
e.g. “slowly”, “softly”, “badly”, “warmly”, “absolutely”, “very”
Lolly Lolly Lolly Get Your Adverbs Here by Schoolhouse Rock teaches in a fun way.
Words that refer to a person, place, or thing.
e.g. “train”, “flora”, “bandit”, “New York”, “Hudson St.”, “bone”
Schoolhouse Rock covers the topic of nouns here in “A Noun Is a Person, Place or Thing”.
Words that express motion in the direction of a particular location or condition.
e.g. “to”, “among”, “between”, “with”, “by”, “over”
Schoolhouse Rock teaches about prepositions in this cute video:
Words that join words or phrases.
e.g. “and”, “but”, “or”, “after”, “although”, “because”
The tune below is one of my favourites and the message is helpful to learn about conjunctions.
I hope you’ve found these simple explanations and examples helpful.
Feel free to bookmark this page to help you remember (or just to watch the fun videos over and over!)