A Guide to Content Words
Every word in English belongs to one of the eight parts of speech. Every word is either a content word or a function word. Let’s talk about what these two types mean:
Content Words vs. Function Words
- Content = info, meaning
- Function = necessary words for grammar
Content words give us the essential info while function words are used to connect those words together.
Content Word Types
Content words are typically nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs. Nouns tell us which object; a verb tells us about the action occurring. Adjectives give us details about people and objects, and adverbs tell us how, when, or where something is done. Nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs give us essential info required for comprehension.
- Noun = person, place, or thing
- Verb = action, state
- Adjective = describes an object, person, place, or thing
- Adverb = tells us how, where, or when something occurs
Other Content Words
Nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs are the most essential content words. There are a few additional words that are also vital to comprehension. These involve negatives such as no, not, and never; demonstrative pronouns such as this, that, these, and those; and inquiry words like what, where, when, how and why.
Function Word Types
Function words help us connect essential info. Function words are essential for comprehension, but they add little meaning outside of defining the relationship between two words. Function words involve auxiliary verbs, prepositions, articles, conjunctions, and pronouns. Auxiliary verbs are used to convey the tense, prepositions show relationships in time and space, articles show us something that is specific.
- Auxiliary verbs = do, be, have
- Prepositions = show relationships in time and space
- Articles = used to indicate specific or non-specific nouns
- Conjunctions = words that connect
- Pronouns = refer to other nouns
Understanding the difference between content and function words is essential because content words are always in conversations. Function words are non-stressed. Function words are not stressed in speech, while content words are showcased. Understanding the difference between content and function words can help you in comprehending and, essentially, in pronunciation skills.