Grammar is important for passing the IELTS, but you already knew that. In order to pass the writing or speaking exams, you need a pretty good grasp of grammar. Yet you also need an extensive vocabulary – that’s pretty important for the reading and listening exams. But how do you learn new words? Most importantly, you don’t learn them in isolation. You learn collocations. You learn how to use the word, or else knowing it is useless. Thus, it is essential that you know the different parts of speech in order to do well in IELTS.
There are 8 parts of speech in the English language (although some people claim that there are 9). They are:
Some people argue that articles (a/an/the) are a separate category; however, you can include these as a sort of adjective. In most textbooks they list 8 parts of speech, so that’s what we will use here.
Why Learn Parts of Speech for IELTS?
In order to do well in IELTS, you need to have a good knowledge of English. That’s pretty obvious, right? But how can you know the language well unless you don’t know its basic structure? If you want to learn new words, you need to know how to use them. You should know some really basic things like:
- adjectives add detail to nouns
- adverbs give more information about verbs
- conjunctions join clauses
It is tremendously important that you understand these basics so that you can then develop more advanced skills. In English we have a saying:
You need to walk before you can run.
How to Study Parts of Speech
Fortunately, it doesn’t take long to learn the 8 parts of speech. In fact, I’m sure many of you know them already. However, if you don’t, you can use the PPT below as a refresher, or check out this great parts of speech overview. When studying new vocabulary, you need to take into consideration the different parts of speech and the use these words accordingly in your practice. Make note of when words may fall into different categories. For example, “work” can be either a noun or a verb, and is used differently according to which part of speech it is.
When you come upon a difficult reading text, you can help yourself to understand the text by identifying the parts of speech. This will help you in the IELTS reading exam. For example, if you read about “deciduous trees,” you might not know the meaning of “deciduous.” But you can tell that this is an adjective that is modifying the noun, “tree.” Then you can look for clues in the text as for its meaning.
A Powerpoint for Parts of Speech
I made this simple PPT describing the different parts of speech and how to build up basic sentences using them.
A Parts of Speech Worksheet
If you want some practice, check out these exercises. (Answers are below, in the second document.) They should help you to understand better and get some valuable practice. Don’t worry if you don’t know the meaning of the words in the novel excerpt. Just try to figure out what kind of word they are… You can use a dictionary afterwards to figure out a precise meaning. (By the way, the novel is The Rum Diary by Hunter S. Thompson and it is one of my favourites.)