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Part of Speech

Grammar Glossary for Spanish Students

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house construction in Chile

Construimos una casa grande. (We are building a large house.)

Photo by Concrete Forms; licensed via Creative Commons.

Definition: A classification of words according to how they are used in a sentence and the types of ideas they convey. Traditionally, the parts of speech are the noun, pronoun, verb, adjective, adverb, preposition, conjunction and interjection. However, there are other ways of classifying parts of speech. Sometimes articles (such as "the" in English or la in Spanish) are considered a separate part of speech, while sometimes they are classified as adjectives. Also, words such as "up" in the phrase "to look up" are considered to be particles, adverbs or part of a phrasal verb depending on the classification scheme.

In one sense, a word can be classified only as a part of speech when it is seen in context. However, words are often called a particular part of speech depending on how they are usually used. In English, much more so than in Spanish, it is common for words to function as parts of speech other than their typical usage. For example, the word "network" typically would be classified as a noun, but it functions as an adjective in "the network cable," as a verb in the colloquial sentence "I plan to network with my colleagues," and as an adverb in the adjectival phrase "network capable."

In both languages, it is possible for a phrase to function as a single part of speech. For example, in the sentence "I talk with difficulty" (Hablo con dificultad), the phrase "with difficulty" (con dificultad) functions as an adverb.

Also known as: parte de la oración in Spanish, also categoría gramatical

Examples: In the sentence "We are building a large house" and its Spanish equivalent, "Construimos una casa grande," "We" is a pronoun, "are building"/construimos is a verb, "a"/una and "large"/grande are adjectives, and "house"/casa is a noun.

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