Mission Impossible — Try to Use All the Parts of Speech in One Eight-word Sentence

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Cast from 1970 — Image from Wikimedia

“Good Morning Mr. Phelps, . . . Your mission, should you decide to accept it . . . As always, should you or any of your IM Force be caught or killed, the Secretary will disavow any knowledge of your actions . . . this tape will self-destruct in five seconds.”

If you’ve ever watched Mission Impossible, either the old television show or one of the movies, you know that Mr. Phelps and the rest of the Impossible Mission Force usually accomplished the task, no matter how difficult or dangerous. However, I believe the following is, indeed, impossible. Try to write an eight-word sentence using all eight parts of speech

Obviously, before you attempt this task, you need to know the eight parts of speech and how they fit into a sentence, so here is a quick review.

Verb — A verb is either an action word or a word that helps to make a statement. For example, words such as “run, swim, dance, and fly” are all verbs that demonstrate action. At times, however, our sentences are not filled with action; they merely make statements. For example, in the statement “The Jets are awesome,” the verb is the word “are,” and most verbs that help to make statements are connected to the verb form “to be”: am, is, was, were, has been, have been, will be, etc.

Noun — a noun is a person, place, thing, or idea. The first three are relatively easy: “Joe” is a person, “Troy,” is a place, and “computer” is a thing. The “idea” is more difficult to grasp because ideas are not tangible; they can’t be touched or handled. Thus, subjects such as “love, peace, and democracy” are all ideas that are nouns.

Adjective — An adjective is a word that describes or modifies a noun. For instance, if we said “Big Joe lives in beautiful Troy with an old computer, the words “big, beautiful, and old” are adjective that describe the nouns “Joe, Troy, and computer.” Similarly, we could say “Joe was seeking a permanent peace,” and “permanent” is the adjective modifying the noun “peace.”

Pronoun — A pronoun is a word that takes the place of a noun. When writing about Joe, for instance, we wouldn’t want to use his name every time because that would be monotonous. So, instead, we might use the pronouns “he” or “him” to refer to Joe. Other common personal pronouns include the following: “I, we, us, our, you, she, it, her, his, they, and their.”

Adverb — An adverb is a word that can describe a verb, an adjective, or another adverb. Usually when people think of adverbs, they think of words that describe verbs and also end in the letters “-ly.” When we write “Beautiful Mary dances smoothly,” or “Big Joe runs quickly,” for instance, the adverbs “smoothly” and “quickly” describe how Mary dances and how Joe runs.

However, adverbs can also describe the adjectives “beautiful” and “big” or the adverbs, “smoothly” and “quickly.” We might write “Extremely beautiful Mary dances smoothly,” or “Big Joe runs very quickly.” In those cases, the words “extremely” and “very” are adverbs that describe the adjective “beautiful” and the adverb “quickly.”

Conjunction — A conjunction is a connecting word that shows the relationship between words, phrases, or clauses. If we wrote “Mary and Joe love each other, but they will never get married,” the conjunctions are the words “and” and “but.” Other common conjunctions are “for, nor, or, yet, and so.”

Preposition — A preposition is a word that connects a noun or pronoun to the rest of the sentence or shows the position of a noun or a pronoun. Using our previous example — “Big Joe lives in beautiful Troy with an old computer” — the prepositions in that sentence are “in” and “with.” Those words tell the reader where Joe lives and connect the word “computer” to that same location. Other frequently used prepositions include the following: “over, under, around, through, to, and into.”

Interjection — An interjection is a word, or a group of words, used to express a person’s strong emotion, and interjections are usually followed by an exclamation point. Some familiar examples follow: “Wow! Holy cow! Yippee!” These words or phrases by themselves don’t make up a complete sentence and are usually considered part of the sentence that follows: “Wow! The Jets beat the mighty Patriots recently.”

As this essay ends, notice that the previous sentence includes eight words. However, the sentence does not include all eight parts of speech. So now that you know and understand all eight parts of speech, try to do the impossible: include all eight parts of speech in one eight-word sentence. If you succeed, please click on the speech bubble below and leave a response. Please note, too, that this essay will self destruct in five seconds.

Written by

Jim LaBate works as a writing specialist in The Writing Center at Hudson Valley Community College (HVCC) in Troy, New York.

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