In my work helping underprepared college freshmen increase their vocabulary, I’ve observed that many students over-rely on memorizing definitions but struggle to use the words correctly in their speech and writing. They may not have heard or read the words often enough to develop a sense of how they function in a sentence.
To address this problem, I developed this two-page handout as an easy-to-use review of the four major parts of speech: nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs. This guide provides students with a variety of clues to identify the four parts of speech that are integral to increasing vocabulary.
This handout is followed by two exercises. The first exercise contains eight sentences with an underlined word (such as “flippant,” “pervasive,” and “aspire”). Students must identify the part of speech and then explain which clues enabled them to determine their answer. The second exercise is similar but the sentences contain seven nonsense words (such as “woodlink,” jonkling,” and “aglashed”). This exercise is a fun way to help students apply the clues on the handout to identify parts of speech.