All words can be classified under two broad terms, content words and function words in English. The content words are a bit difficult to understand because around 99% of words in the English language are content words, while the latter contains approximately 150 words. Function words are fewer, but we use them so frequently that it accounts for about 50% of a text. This proportion explains that function and content words are equally important in literature. Thus, this article will discuss function and content words with examples and a practical way to teach them effectively.
Function words and their Examples
Function words are those that we use to make statements grammatically correct. It is a broad term that includes prepositions, pronouns, auxiliary verbs and determiners. The sentence without function words seems poorly structured, but it can clear the sense to some extent. Thus, we do not use these words to emphasize the main information. Instead, they aim to bring fluency in speech.
We do not need to pay special attention to these words, and they often remain unstressed, especially in American English. Americans usually speak function words quietly and quickly to reduce the stress over these words. Hence, the only function of these words is to make the sentence grammatically correct (the purpose of function words). Function words are categorized into five categories:
- Conjunction: Conjunctions are words that join clauses together, and their examples include and, but, so, however, and or.
- Prepositions: Prepositions are the words that specify the relationship between different words. For example, for, at, over, though, in, under, on, near, and
- Determiners: Words that give detail to nouns are the determiner, and examples include a, an, some, any and
- Pronouns: Pronouns are the words that replace nouns and aim to maintain noun density in a manuscript, for example, he, she, they, it and
- Auxiliary Verbs: The auxiliary verbs are words that determine the mood, voice, tense and respect of another verb; its examples include was, are, could, has and
Thus, the review of different function word categories depicts one property: they are just meant to link content words logically. Therefore, hiring an assignment writing service becomes necessary for conciseness in the content.
Content Words and their Examples:
Content words are those that contribute to the meaning of a sentence. The content and function words collectively work to bring clarity to the message that one wishes to convey. Thus, the meaningful parts of sentences like nouns, adjectives, lexical verbs and adverbs fall under content words. These are the content words that create a clear picture in our minds.
The word content is used for such words as it gives us the content for our story. Unlike function words, no one can understand what you want to say without paying attention to these words. Thus, they are the content words that grasp the reader/listener’s attention.
The five examples of content words, along with their categories, are as follows:
- Nouns: They include the name of a person, place, idea or thing—for example, Harry, Elizabeth, Seattle and happiness.
- Adjectives: They describe the qualities of nouns, for example, red, pretty, soft and good.
- Lexical verbs: Lexical verbs are those that indicate action. Its examples include run, laugh, see, think, want and study.
- Adverbs: These words describe the verbs, and their examples include calmly, slowly, swiftly, and many more.
- Negatives: Negative are the words that we use to oppose a fact, for example, not and never.
In English, the function and content words work collectively to convey a message in both written and verbal communication. We generally think of the function words as the least important and subject to speak politely, and we advise people to stress the content words.
This practice is good in some cases; making it a rule is not recommended. It merely depends on the speaker how he/she wants to use these words in his speech. The stress on some words often changes the meaning of the message you want to explain. Consider the following examples to understand how stress changes the meaning of a sentence.
- I did not eat your piece of cake. (means someone else eats)
- I did not eat your piece of cake. (means not eat)
- I did not eat your piece of the cake. ( means I did not eat, but I gave it to someone else)
- I did not eat your piece of cake. (means I did not eat your piece but eat someone else piece)
- I did not eat your piece of cake. (means I did not eat your piece of cake but ate something else that belongs to you)
These examples explain that by stressing different words, the sense of the message changes at every step. Thus, remember, it is the speaker’s choice whether he wants to stress the function words or the content words.
How Do You Teach Content And Function Words?
Teaching the function and content words is vital to speaking English properly. In written communication, the concept of these words is relatively easy to teach. You have to teach your students the difference between them and guide them to use these words correctly in their sentences. Moreover, both the function and content words are equally important during writing. One aims to choose the correct words for making your study presentable, while the other aims to improve your content by making it grammatically correct.
But teaching the proper use of these words in speech is tricky. Because: here, you need to teach your students which words you should stress in a sentence. We should not stress the function words like punctuation, conjunctions, prepositions, short determiners and auxiliary verbs. But the stress must be on the specific content words that help the listener to understand. Moreover, you can arrange teaching sessions, prepare notes, and assign tasks to students to know the proper use of function and content words. Inviting students to share what they have learned from the lecture is also effective. By following knowledge, you will get command in essay writing service.
Consequently, content words aim to make a story clear while function words make that sentence grammatically correct. Examples of function words include prepositions, punctuation, conjunctions, determiners and auxiliary verbs. In comparison, examples of content words include nouns, adverbs, lexical verbs, adjectives, and some negative words. However, you can teach them effectively by arranging lectures and presentations and giving notes to your pupil.