This post is part of a series relating to the Minimum Standards for Grammar and Punctuation in the NAPLAN tests. For the first post in this series, click here.
At Year 9 level, the students are expected to be able to:
- identify the word that functions as a verb in a sentence
As you can see from the image above, the NAP have asked a question about parts of speech in the example test. Confusingly, despite suggesting that they may be wanting you to find the verb from their minimum standards, they have identified a word that can function as a verb and asked what part of speech it is playing in the example sentence. A verb? Hahahahahaha. No. So what is it then? Let’s take a look at parts of speech.
There are only eight common parts of speech: nouns, pronouns, adjectives, verbs, adverbs, conjunctions, prepositions and interjections. Each category is further broken down. Comparatives (as covered in the previous post), for example, are usually adjectives or adverbs. I say usually because – here is the tricky part – words can be used as different parts of speech depending on context.
Take the example above. If you asked someone what part of speech ‘struggling’ is, their first answer would probably be ‘verb’. And, certainly, if the sentence is, ‘the eel is struggling’, it is a verb. When ‘struggling’ is put before ‘eel’ though (‘the struggling eel’), it becomes an adjective.
The key here is to make sure that the students are familiar with the language associated with grammar. When you are talking to them about their work, make sure you describe the word using its part of speech as its name, ‘You have used this verb well’, for example. This way they will be able to get an idea of whereabouts in a sentence a certain type of word will be and how some words change as they move about the sentence. If you want to learn more about the parts of speech, click here (this lists nine part of speech, not eight!).
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