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Photo credit: Rebecca Anne, "Flora's Cup" | Creative Commons License,

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Memory Trick: Eight Parts of English Grammar

By Vicki McClure Davidson


There are eight components of English grammar. They are also sometimes called the elements (or parts) of speech. Most people can name some, but only a few can name all of them.

Mnemonics—"memory tricks" or "memory triggers"—are sentences, phrases, or words that makes remembering difficult things easier. Use this short story as a memory trigger for children to remember the eight parts of speech:

A sailor had a wife named Pandora and a little dog named Cappy. From the first part of both their names, he named his new boat the PAN CAP. One night during a storm, his boat sank. He soon bought another boat and named it PAN CAP II (II is the Roman numeral for "the second"), but it, too, went down in a storm. A third boat he bought was named the PAN CAP III (III is "the third"). Sadly, this boat also sank in a storm. The sailor recently bought a fourth boat, and keeping with his naming tradition, named it the PAN CAP IV (IV is "the fourth").

Using the name of the sailor’s fourth boat, take each letter in it and assign it to a part of speech. Each letter in the boat's name represents the first letter of a part of grammar.

Look at the example below:


Eight Parts of Speech

The eight parts of grammar are (in the same order as shown in the chart above and in PAN CAP IV) are pronoun, adverb, noun, conjunction, adjective, preposition, interjection, and verb.


As a reminder, here are examples of the eight parts of speech in English:

Pronoun: I, you, he, she, they, we, me, him, her, them, us

Adverb: beautifully, quickly, sadly, stupidly, aggressively, happily, rather, very, quite

Noun: dog, church, book, child, mailbox, skateboard, mother, smile, breakfast, pencil, brother, dream, fear, love, amoeba, Los Angeles, Texas, Grand Canyon, Canada, sky, honesty, courage, fire, skin, horse, ocean, inch, sanity, patriot, Australia, Lake Michigan, Mississippi River, Northern Hemisphere, Europe, Mrs. Garcia, Pastor O'Brien, Rabbi Weinberg, President Ronald Reagan, Jupiter, Milky Way

Conjunction: and, but, for, yet, nor, or, yet, so

Adjective: pretty, small, intelligent, angry, yellow, skinny, hard, fun, lonely, sweet, magnificent, cynical, glittery, difficult, loving, rough, technical, empty

Preposition: above, below, under, beneath, around, through, inside, on, off, over, beside, during, despite, next to, between

Interjection: Wow! Stop! No! Help! Oh! Now! Ouch! Hooray! Hey!

Verb: jump, think, eat, sleep, jog, write, listen, wash, cook, take, dance, pray, laugh, vote, steal, swim, read, bring, drive, encourage




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