Some of you may be acquainted with the parts of speech or word classes. Surely you are familiar with the major ones: verbs, nouns, adjectives and adverbs. In order to make the most out of this course, you will refresh this knowledge, so that later you will be able to easily retrieve relevant information from a corpus to use in your writing.

First, have a look at this resource by Parveen Sharma where all 9 parts of speech are explained. Next, read the following excerpt from a book on academic writing. Try to understand the text and focus on the words that have been highlighted in different colours. Below you will find each word’s dictionary entry along with some data about the word retrieved from a corpus of English Academic Writing.

When we speak, we inhabit the communication situation bodily in three dimensions, but in writing we are confined within the two-dimensional setting of the flat page (though writing for the web—or multimodal writing—is changing all that). Writing resembles having a blindfold over our eyes and our hands tied behind our backs: we can’t see exactly whom we’re talking to or where we are. Separated from our audience in place and time, we imaginatively have to create this context. Our words on the page are silent, so we must use punctuation and word choice to communicate our tone. We also can’t see our audience to gauge how our communication is being received or if there will be some kind of response. It’s the same space we share right now as you read this essay. Novice writers often write as if they were mumbling to themselves in the corner with no sense that their writing will be read by a reader or any sense of the context within which their communication will be received.

(From ‘What is Academic Writing?’ by Lennie L. Irvin)