University of Edinburgh

Introduction to STASS: assessment of language skills

presented on 19 March 2008

Course handout - Word classes in English

Word class What it means How can I recognise it? Examples



They tell you more information than a noun

They go in front of nouns

the / a are called articles

the, a, this, that, these, those, all some, any, no, every, each, either, neither, one several, enough, such, many much, more, most, few



Linking words

Sometimes the link phrases: bread and butter

They often link parts of sentences.

and, but, or, nor, neither

after, although, as because, before, but if, how, however, like, once, than, when, while, as far as, rather than



They tell you more about place, time, ownership.

You see a noun phrase after it.

Many of these same words can also be adverbs

above, across, after, along, among, as, at, before, below, beside, between, by, down, during, for, from, in, on, outside, past, round, via, with



They stand in the place of a noun.

You can work out the meaning by reading the sentences before and finding the noun.

Some pronouns can also be determiners

I, me, mine, my, we, us, ourselves, you, your, he, him, she, herself, it, its, them, their, this, that, those, all, some, any, none, either, one, several, everybody, few, whichever, which, what, whose


1, 2

The are numbers or they put things in order.   one, two, three, first, second, third, next, last, other, further



The show feelings. swear words, greetings, sounds people make ugh!, hello, yes, OK, ouch!, oh, mm, ah



A name for a thing, a person, a feeling, a country etc Will it fit into this sentence? Do you know about...? Manchester, Helen, table, mouse, rainforest, independence, love



An action word. It shows movement or existence. Can you change it to past tense? fly, run, seem, cry, climb, have, be

Auxiliary verb


A helping verb used with a main verb. There are only a few of them. They show how a verb happens. Auxiliaries are used to make the perfect, the passive, the continuous, questions and negatives. be, have, do, can, will, may, shall, could, would, might, should, must, ought to



The tell you more about a noun.

Can it fit in this phrase: very ....

Or this sentence: He/ it is a ... person / thing

red, hairy, quiet, clever, tall, well-known, tired, fantastic



They tell you more about the time, place or way that something happened.

They can answer the question how? where? when? how long? how often? how much?

Sometimes they tell you more about an adjective.

Sometimes the comment on a whole sentence.

well, cleverly, here, there, up, home, then, once, tonight, soon, long, always, weekly, often, rather, quite, much

very, fairly, quite

actually, frankly