Hopp til innhold


Word Classes

There are two main types of word classes, each with several subtypes: Lexical Words and Function Words.

Word classes

1 Lexical words:

Nouns: car, police, idea, love, builder, refugee, abstraction, substitutability
Verbs: be, do, write, connect, compare, limit, oppose, put off, bad-mouth
Adjectives: pale, clever, blue, deep, favourite, crummy, obstinate, fast-loving
Adverbs: soon, immediately, very, slowly, recklessly, obviously

Note: If you check your dictionary you will see that many words belong to two (or more) word classes: e.g. to turn- a turn, the police - to police, many limits - to limit. It is their use in a specific sentence that tells you which word class it belongs to.

2 Function words:

  • Pronouns:
    • Personal pronouns: I, you, we, etc.
    • Possessive pronouns: mine, yours, his, ours, etc.*
    • Demonstrative pronouns: this/that, these/those
    • Reflexive pronouns: myself, yourself, ourselves, etc.
    • Interrogative pronouns: who, what, which, how, why, etc.
    • Relative pronouns: who, which, that, etc.
    • Indefinite pronouns: somebody, anybody, everybody, all, many, a few, etc.
  • Determiners (‘bestemmerord’) articles a (an), the; other determiners: some, many, another, etc.
  • Auxiliaries (‘hjelpeverb’): be, have, do, will, can, might, etc.
  • Prepositions: to, by, for, under, beneath, across, in front of, etc.
  • Subjunctions: when, while, if, that, whether, because, etc.
  • Anticipatory there: There is a new pair of skis in the garage
  • Empty it: It is surprising that they left
  • Infinitive marker to: I hope to meet her tomorrow)

For more information about there and it, see 4C.

Note: *A determiner is a word that comes before a noun and tells us more about it. Many words can be both pronouns and determiners. Here that is a determiner in the first example and a pronoun in the second; I like that car/I like that. So also many and what in these examples many people left early /I didn’t see many and what nonsense! /what did you see?

A subjunction makes a sub-clause part of a larger main clause: I would do it if I get the chance. Here if is the subjunction that connects if I get the chance to the main clause: I would do it. The infinitive marker may also be regarded as a subjunction.

We have now looked at the basic word classes in isolation. But we must look at how they can be expanded into longer phrases.

Sist faglig oppdatert 14.05.2018
Skrevet av Per Lysvåg og Karin Dwyer Løken


Language Resources


Oppgaver og aktiviteter