Home » Curriculum » Trivium » TRV-121 Classical Grammar » Classical Grammar, Lesson 02. The Parts of Speech

Classical Grammar, Lesson 02. The Parts of Speech

To complete this lesson, complete the following tasks:

  1. Study the lesson for mastery.
  2. Complete the lesson assignment.
  3. Complete the lesson assessment.


8. The name of every object that has, or is conceived by the mind to have, an independent existence, is called a noun substantive, or merely a substantive, as rose, flower, man, London, modesty.

9. Such words as can stand immediately before a substantive, to denote some property that we perceive in things, is called a noun adjective, or merely an adjective, as: sweet, sour, sharp, heavy, light. 1

10. The peculiar adjective-words “a” or “an” and “the” are called articles.  “A” or “an” is called the indefinite article, and marks that
we are speaking of some one of the objects named.  “
The” is called the definite article, and marks that we are speaking of a particular thing.

11. Every word by which we express that persons or things do anything, or are anything, or have any thing done to them, is called a Verb, as: to run, to walk, to hurt, to bless. 

The verb “to be” (to which belong the forms is and are) is a peculiar verb, by means of which we join the name of a property to the name of a thing. The rose is red. The colours are bright. Since the properties that we perceive in things are subject to change, the words is and are, are altered to denote whether the property existed at a former time, or exists now, or will exist at a future time: The rose is red. The roses are red. The rose was red. The roses were red. The rose will be red. The roses will be red.

The verb “to become” is a similar verb, by which we mark the acquisition of a new property. The notion of a verb may be added to a substantive without being formally asserted of it. The forms which are used for this purpose are called participles. A sleeping boy. A broken stick.  Hence, a participle is an adjective-word that, besides the notion of a property, conveys that of time; or of a completed or incompleted state.

12. Such words as add to a property or action some circumstance of time, place, or manner, are called adverbs. Though called adverbs, or words joined to verbs, they are also added to adjectives. A very nasty medicine. The storm rages violently. A terribly passionate man . He runs swiftlyThe adjective and adverb are essentially the same, both being names of property. We shall find that some times the same word is both an adjective and adverb.

13. A pronoun is a word that stands for a noun.  Pronouns save us from the necessity of repeating the noun; so that they are a convenient, but not a necessary part of speech. When the persons spoken of are known, they sometimes make it unnecessary to name them at all. Suppose Henry speaking, he may say, “I think so and so,” instead of,  “Henry thinks so and so.”  If he is speaking of himself and Charles, he may say, “We think so and so,” instead of, “Henry and Charles think so and so…”

14. A word that marks the relation of one thing to another, is called a prepositionHence, on, in, over, under, through, above, below, from, etc. are prepositions. They stand immediately before a substantive, or some adjective-word prefixed to a substantive.  The primary relations marked by prepositions are relations in space; relations of local position. The prepositions used to denote these relations in space, were then transferred to analogous relations of time. Thus, He stood before me (in space).  He lived before Cæsar (in time) .

15. A word that joins notions or assertions to gether, is called a conjunction, as: The rose is red and sweet.  I wish that I could see him.

16. A word, generally a simple sound, used to express some inward feeling (such as sorrow, surprise, anger, pain) is called an interjection .

Note:  It is important that you study to know the definitions, along with some examples, for each of the parts of speech.  Identifying the parts of speech is not easy, and takes from experience to master (as you’ll see).  What you must do is use the “process of elimination” to rule out options based on what you know of the parts of speech.  You can practice this in the following exercises before taking your lesson exam. 


Classical Grammar I, Lesson 02, Exercise 1
Classical Grammar I, Lesson 02 Exercise 2
Classical Grammar I, Lesson 02 Exercise 3
Classical Grammar I, Lesson 02 Exercise 4