Parts of Speech: Grammar Basics for CAT

The VARC section tests a student’s fundamentals in grammar and their fluency in English comprehension. The fundamentals include parts of speech, but it can be tricky to identify all the parts of speech. This article is a quick refresher to read before you start your preparation for the VARC section.

Parts of Speech were the first thing we were taught after the English Alphabet and one-letter words back in the days when we were in still primary school. Nostalgic, much? Who would’ve thought that you’d have to again come back to these fundamentals for one of the toughest MBA entrance exams?

Parts of speech and its related types will help you solve grammar-based questions in the CAT exam. Not only that, but also in questions that ask you to point out any blunders, change the sentence to fit a voice, fill in the blanks with suitable words and many more. In conclusion, having a good grasp on the concepts of grammar will benefit you in the VARC Section of the exam immensely.

A heads-up before we dive in, though. Not all the words are what they seem.

Parts of Speech:

1. Verb

2. Noun

3. Pronouns

4. Prepositions

5. Adjectives

6. Adverbs

7. Conjunctions

8. Interjections 

 

1. Verb

This type of words are the most important parts of a sentence. How does a sentence even make sense without an action word of some sort? Verbs are the “doing” words or action words in the sentences.

Examples:

  • He is preparing for the CAT Exam. (“is preparing” describes an action in play.)
  • She writes every day. (“writes” is an action word here)
  • She missed her flight. (Here, “missed” is the key word.)

The above examples are clear, but verbs are not always apparent in a sentence, depending on the type of verb they are. There are three types of verbs: transitive, intransitive, and helping verbs.

Transitive Verbs are the ones which are followed by a direct object whereas Intransitive Verbs are not followed by a direct object.

Take the above examples for instance. The second sentence’s verb, “writes”, is an intransitive verb. There is no object in the sentence after it. The third sentence’s verb, “missed”, is followed by an object, her flight. These are the basic differences between Transitive and Intransitive words.

Tip: When in doubt whether a verb is transitive or intransitive in complex sentences, just consider the part of the sentence it is in, and you’ll know your answer.

Helping Verbs are the words which help the main action words to form a tense. For instance, in the above example’s first sentence, “is preparing” is a verb as a whole but “is” is the helping verb which defines the main action word’s tense. Other examples of helping verbs are has, was, had, have etc.

2. Noun

The second most important part of the sentence is a Noun. Noun refers to  things, people, and places in the sentence. The naming word of the sentence is called a noun. Each noun has its own implicit identity. Here are the following types of noun:
Proper Nouns: These refer to names of places and people. These names are unique and always start with a capitalized letter regardless of where it stands in a sentence.
Example: Italy, New York, Bon Iver, Taylor Swift.
Common Nouns: These are names of common objects. These names are not unique. They are generic in nature.
Example: car, student, dolls.
Abstract Nouns: These refer to abstract things like feelings, qualities, or state of being.
Example: happiness, nostalgia, melancholy.
Collective Nouns: These denote a group of objects, animals, or people.
Example: A pride of lions (Here, pride is a collective noun).
A litter of puppies (Can you guess what is the collective noun here?)
Countable Nouns: These nouns refer to things that are countable in nature.
Example: books, dogs, puppies.
Uncountable Nouns: These nouns refer to things that cannot be counted.
Example:  water, hair, salt.

3. Pronouns

These are words that are used in place of nouns in repetitive sentences or otherwise. Pronouns are also used to pursue ambiguity or anonymity.

Pronouns change types depending on their usage.

Example:

  •  She is youthful. (she — personal pronoun)
  • What was in that box I saw ? (that — demonstrative pronoun)
  • This is her bag. (her — possessive pronoun)
  • I am going by myself. (myself — reflexive pronoun)
  • She has taken the course which I took last semester. (which — relative pronoun)

4. Prepositions

These words are used in relation to other parts of speech, like nouns or pronouns. The placement of a preposition is crucial in determining the meaning of the sentence. These words are used to show the place, position, time, or method.

Example: 

  • The cat is under the table. (under — a simple preposition— shows the place of the noun)
  • She ran across the street to catch the bus. (across —a compound preposition— shows the method of the pronoun)
  • He came on behalf of her to Rohit’s wedding. (on behalf of —a phrase preposition)
  • I would like to talk to you concerning some serious matter. (concerning — a particle preposition. These kind a prepositions usually end in ed/ing/en)

5. Adjectives

These words are the “describing” words of a sentence. They typically describe the quality of something or someone.
Examples: 
  • He is a modest man. (modest — a descriptive adjective)
  • She didn’t have any food. (any — quantitative adjective)
  • Those boys are arrogant. (Those — demonstrative adjective)
  • What do you want? (What —interrogative adjective)
  • That book is mine. (mine —possessive adjective)

6. Adverbs

These are describing words as well, but they describe verbs rather than nouns. They are also used to modify adjectives and other adverbs.

How do you differentiate adverbs from adjectives?

Adjectives typically answer the following: What kind? Which? How many? Whereas, Adverbs answer the following: When? Where? How? To what extent?

Examples: 

  • I will talk to you later. (later —Adverb of time)
  • She rarely makes any mistakes. (rarely —Adverb of frequency)
  • My grandma’s house is nearby. (nearby —Adverb of place)
  • He runs fast. (fast —Adverb of manner)
  • I am quite all right. (quite —Adverb of degree)
  • Where else can you find these candies? (Where —Interrogative Adverb)
  • Therefore, I cannot attend the Grand Ball. (Therefore —Adverb of reason)
  • I cannot tell you why I left early. (why —Relative Adverb)

7. Conjunctions

These are the joining parts of the speech. They join two independent phrases or one independent and another dependent phrases.

Examples: 

  • She and I are friends. (and —coordinating conjunctions)
  • I can either become a doctor, or an engineer. (either, or —correlative conjunctions)
  • It won’t rain while the sun shines. (while —subordinating conjunctions)
  • I am taller than she is. (than —subordinating conjunctions)

More examples of conjunctions are but, as well, not only…but as well, so, as etc.

8. Interjections

These may or may not be used as part of a sentence. These are sentences in themselves. They are often used to express sudden emotions and feelings.

Examples: 

  • Hurrah! I am glad they won!
  • Bravo! You did great.
  • Alas! When did she die?
  • Wow! What an amazing view!
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