The Same Word Acting As a Different Part of Speech

English words are divided into different parts of speech. Generally, we divide words into eight parts of speech: noun, pronoun, verb, adverb, adjective, preposition, conjunction, and interjection. Sometime we place articles and determiners into different category and sometime we place these under adjective category.

Generally, a word belongs to a single category, but sometimes a word belongs to multiple categories. As the word ‘smartphone’ belongs to the category of noun only, but the word ‘better’ belongs to multiple categories. The word ‘better’ can be a noun, verb, adverb, and adjective depending on the context of the sentence.

Below are few words that are much confusing among grammar students because they are used as different part of speech depending on their use.


Above | Is ‘above’ a noun, adverb, adjective, or preposition?

  • Adverb. The Supreme-court of the state is above.
  • Preposition: A major is above a lieutenant.
  • Adjective. Read the above sentences and make them short.
  • Noun: John raised his medal above his head to show.

After (jumping between adv, adj, Prep, and conj)

  • Adverb: Due to Covid-19, exam will held a week after.
  • Adjective: In after years the government set up a special allowance for widows.
  • Preposition: John returned after two decades. It is the sweetest fruit after mango.
  • Conjunction: John will come after he makes a plan. She finished the meal after I did.

All (acting under different masks)

  • Adjective: He works all the day honestly. You can take all the mangoes.
  • Adverb: John has travelled all around the globe to explore the world.
  • Pronoun:  All raised their hands in her favor. All are present except John.
  • Noun:  He lost his all when her mother died.

But (one word, multiple role)

  • Adverb: John has but (only) one week to prepare for exams.
  • Preposition: John will not tell to anyone but (except) me.
  • Conjunction: John has no choice but to quit.  
  • Relative Pronoun: There is no one but likes him (who does not like him).

Down (can be among different past of speech)

  • Adverb. The road slops down to the city. John knocked down his opponent in a while.  
  • Preposition: Go down the road and turn right.
  • Adjective: Exchange rates are down today. The down train will arrive in one minute.
  • Noun: Ups and downs are the part of life.
  • Verb: Thunderstorm downed all the power lines in the town.

More words that fall in more than one part of speech:

  • About: (Adverb, Preposition)
  • Any: (Pronoun, Adverb, Adjective)
  • Before: (Adverb, Preposition, Conjunction)
  • Better: (Noun, Verb, Adverb, Adjective)
  • Both: (Pronoun, Adjective, Conjunction)
  • Either: (Pronoun, Adjective, Conjunction)
  • Else: (Adverb, Adjective, Conjunction)
  • Enough: (Noun, Adverb, Adjective)
  • Even: (Verb, Adverb, Adjective,
  • Except: (Verb, Preposition, Conjunction)
  • For: (Preposition, Conjunction)
  • Less: (Noun, Adverb, Adjective)
  • Like: (Noun, Verb, Adverb, Adjective, Preposition)
  • Little: (Noun, Adverb, Adjective)
  • More: (Pronoun, Adverb, Adjective)
  • Much: (Pronoun, Adverb, Adjective)
  • Near: (Verb, Adverb, Adjective, Preposition)
  • Needs: (Noun, Verb, Adverb)
  • Neither: (Pronoun, Adjective, Conjunction)
  • Next: (Noun, Adverb, Adjective, Preposition)
  • No: (Noun, Adverb, Adjective)
  • Once: (Noun, Adverb, Conjunction)
  • One: (Noun, Pronoun, Adjective)
  • Only: (Adverb, Adjective, Conjunction)
  • Over: (Noun, Adverb, Preposition)
  • Right: (Noun, Verb, Adverb, Adjective)
  • Round: (Noun, Verb, Adverb, Adjective, Preposition)
  • Since: (Adverb, Preposition, Conjunction)
  • So: (Adverb, Conjunction)
  • Some: (Pronoun, Adverb, Adjective)
  • Still: (Noun, Verb, Adverb, Adjective)
  • Such: (Pronoun, Adjective)
  • That: (Pronoun, Adverb, Adjective, Conjunction)
  • The: (Adverb, Article)
  • Till: (Preposition, Conjunction)
  • Up: (Adverb, Adjective, Preposition)
  • Well: (Noun, Adverb, Adjective, Interjection)
  • What: (Pronoun, Adverb, Adjective, Interjection)
  • While: (Noun, Verb, Conjunction)
  • Why: (Noun, Adverb, Interjection)
  • Yet: (Adverb, Conjunction)