The meaning of a word in the sentence determines to what part of speech it belongs.
The same word may be sometimes one part of speech, sometimes another.
Words of entirely separate origin, meaning and use sometimes look and sound alike such as in…
The minstrel sang a plaintive lay.
He lay on the ground.
But the following examples show that the same word may have more than one kind of grammatical office (or function). It is the meaning which we give to a word in the sentence that determines its classification as a part of speech.
The chief classes of words thus variously used are
(1) nouns and adjectives
(2) nouns and verbs
(3) adjectives and adverbs
(4) adjectives and pronouns
(5) adverbs and prepositions
1. Nouns and Adjectives
The same word can be used as noun as well as adjective.
Noun : Rubber comes from South America.
Adjective : This wheel has a rubber tire.
Noun : That brick is yellow.
Adjective : Here is a brick house.
Noun : The rich have a grave responsibility.
Adjective : A rich merchant lives here.
The first two examples show how words that are commonly nouns may be used as adjectives.
The third shows how words that are commonly adjectives.
2. Nouns and Verbs
The same word can be used as noun as well as verb.
Noun : Hear the wash of the tide.
Verb :Wash those windows.
Noun : Give me a stamp.
Verb :Stamp this envelope.
Noun : It is the call of the sea.
Verb :Ye call me chief.
Other examples are : act, address, ally, answer, boast, care, cause, close, defeat, doubt, drop, heap, hope, mark, offer, pile, place, rest, rule, sail, shape, sleep, spur, test, watch, wound.
3. Adjectives and Adverbs
The same word can be used as adjective as well as adverb.
Adjective : That is a fast boat.
Adverb : The snow is melting fast.
Adjective : Draw a straight line.
Adverb : The arrow flew straight.
Adjective : Early comers get good seats.
Adverb : Tom awoke early.
Some adverbs have the same form as the corresponding adjectives.
You have guessed right.
How fast the tide ebbs!
The horse was sold cheap.
Tired men sleep sound.
Other examples are wrong, straight, early, late, quick, hard, far, near, slow, high, low, loud, ill, well, deep, close, just, very, much, little.
4. Adjectives and Pronouns
The same word can be used as adjective as well as pronoun.
Adjective : This man looks unhappy.
Pronoun : This is the sergeant.
Adjective : That book is a dictionary.
Pronoun : That is a kangaroo.
Adjective : Each day brings its opportunity.
Pronoun : I received a dollar from each.
5. Adverbs and Prepositions
The same word can be used as adverb as well as preposition.
Adverb : Jill came tumbling after.
Preposition : He returned after the accident.
Adverb : We went below.
Preposition : Below us lay the valley.
Adverb : The weeds sprang up.
Preposition : We walked up the hill.
Other examples are aboard, before, beyond, down, inside, underneath.
Miscellaneous examples of variation are the following.
Noun : The calm lasted for three days.
Adjective : Calm words show quiet minds.
Verb : Calm your angry friend.
Other examples are iron, stone, paper, sugar, salt, bark, quiet, black, light, head, wet, round, square, winter, spring.
Noun….Wrong seldom prospers.
Adjective….You have taken the wrong road.
Adverb….Edward often spells words wrong.
Verb….You wrong me by your suspicions.
Noun….The outside of the castle is gloomy.
Adjective….We have an outside stateroom.
Adverb….The messenger is waiting outside.
Preposition….I shall ride outside the coach.
Adjective…..That boat is a sloop.
Pronoun…..That is my uncle.
Conjunction….You said that you would help me.
Adjective…..Neither road leads to Utica.
Pronoun…..Neither of us arrived in time.
Conjunction…..Neither Tom nor I was late.
Preposition…..I am waiting for the train.
Conjunction…..You have plenty of time, for the train is late.
Interjection…..Hurrah! The battle is won.
Noun….I heard a loud hurrah.
Verb….The enemy flees. Our men hurrah.