Potluck of Life: What do you bring to the table??

people sitting around table of food

My department at work had our annual Giving Thanks potluck this past Friday. Everyone had to bring something to contribute to the meal.
People brought different food dishes, desserts, appetizers and eating utensils.
Some people went over the top and brought 3 dishes (me), some brought stuff that couldn’t possibly be for the 25 plus staff to all have a taste of. I mean three crab cakes? Really?

Two people did not bring a thing but their empty stomachs, AND the person who was supposed to bring the drinks didn’t even show up to work! Yes! I am 100% serious, we were back and forth to the water fountain with those paper cone cups, it was really a fiasco! Everyone kept asking me “who was supposed to bring the drinks?” LOL.
I just can’t.
man holding his face smirking
People crashed uninvited from other departments, ate and left.
Just BOLD, and you know what, honestly, I think this is a PERFECT metaphor for life.

What role do you play in your life and others around ? Are you a contributor? The over selfless contributor? Are you the shameless freeloader? Are you doing the bare minimum just to say you did something? Are you the inconsiderate one who does not hold up their end or crashes the party unexpectedly?

Oh wait. Maybe….you have too many of these types of people in your life.
man thinking with words hmm

Here is what I think of when I think of these people.

The Contributor- Always thinking of, or giving to others. Gives without needing to receive and enjoys harmony among their peers. They can be counted on. Would like to consider themselves selfless. Helping others comes natural to them. Loves to set a positive tone for others around them.

The Over Selfless Contributor- Loves to give but maybe a little too much. Finds extreme satisfaction in making someone else happy, despite what it may take out of them. Risks ending up feeling unappreciated but still goes over the top for the sake of others.

The Shameless Freeloader- You often wonder if this person thinks of anyone other than themselves. They will know its your last and still ask you for it, and it seems it just doesn’t register to them that maybe you actually need it. Not necessarily a bad person, but definitely a selfish person.

The Bare Minimalist- This person does the absolute least expected of them only to be able to gain from others. You technically can’t say they haven’t done anything to contribute, but you almost feel like you’d prefer they not be a part of anything. They get to appreciate the fruits of others labor while others often feel cheated by them.

The Inconsiderate- There’s a very thin line between being selfish and simply just not caring. This person crosses that line. They are careless when it comes to considering other people’s feelings. They make the conscious decision to not think of anyone but themselves and only see things from their own perspective. Maybe they are unaware of their actions, but calling them out about it them tends to be pointless.

Any of these people sound familiar to you??

Imagine life and your relationships are a potluck. Everyone should be doing their part and bringing something to the table. That is how it is most successful, when people give, and people receive. It’s unfair when one person is holding up their end and has to overcompensate for someone else who hasn’t or isn’t contributing.

Do you bring something positive or negative to the table? Do you drain from the energy or contribute to it? Think about your friendships, family relationships, relationship with your significant other.

What role do you play and what role do you allow others to play in your life?

Do you need to re-evaluate your own actions or maybe re-evaluate your relationships?

Food for Thought.

Love you, Neffi


Reviving Grammar II: Distinguishing Real Words from Made-up Ones

By Robine Jean-Pierre

Last week, I wrote a blog post summarizing the eight parts of speech in an effort to revive knowledge of grammar. Grammar is something we tend to take for granted, especially in the texting, tweeting and “meming” cyber-world of today. So many posts go viral without having ever been proofread or spell-checked, and it makes me wonder how much thought people put into writing, especially before sharing something that the entire world will potentially see.

Given the limitations on time and space, there is no way I could make a comprehensive list of grammatical mistakes to avoid in a simple blog post. Also, I don’t claim to be a grammar expert by any means. There might be errors buried in this post that my eyes, Microsoft Word and Google Docs have not even picked up on, even after several revisions. My objective here is to point out those basic corrections that we could all benefit from making.

Made-Up Idea-Nouns

In my previous post, I explained how a noun can be a person, place, thing or idea. A lot of times, you can turn an adjective (a word that describes a noun) into an idea-noun by adding –ness­ to the end of it. For example, foolish becomes foolishness, happy becomes happiness. However, this is not always the rule. Sometimes the adjective takes on a different suffix, such as ­-ity or -tion, and other spelling and pronunciation changes must occur. A common mistake is to tack on –ness­ to the end of an adjective, making up a word instead of using the proper suffix. Some hypothetical made-up words, and their preferred forms, are listed below:

  • Stupid becomes stupidity, not stupidness
  • Wise becomes wisdom, not wiseness
  • Dedicated becomes dedication, not dedicatedness
  • Brief becomes brevity, not briefness

If I ever get stuck, I say the word out loud, trying on different suffixes until it sounds like the right one.

Made-Up Verbs

I have noticed that a similar error is often made when going from idea-noun to verb. This is especially true with nouns ending in -ation.

  • Conversation becomes converse, not conversate
  • Interpretation becomes interpret, not interpretate
  • Metamorphosis becomes metamorphose, not metamorphosize
  • Analyze becomes analysis, not analyzation

An Unnecessary Prefix

Another word I’ve heard people make up is in a category of its own: overexaggerate. This verb does not exactly make sense because of its redundancy. According to Dictionary.com, the word “exaggerate” already means “to magnify beyond the limits of truth; overstate; represent disproportionately.” Saying “overexaggerate” is like saying to “over-overdo” something. Maybe you could even say that the word “overexaggeration” is an exaggeration. (Clever, right?)

Don’t Be Shy–Verify

If you are ever in doubt, do not be afraid to look it up online. There are plenty of websites and resources that elaborate on these types of grammatical issues in depth. It is probably more trustworthy if the website is affiliated with a college or other professional organization. In particular, I’ve heard a lot of positive buzz surrounding Grammarly, which recommends corrections in real time. Apparently it’s free for Chrome browser. Aside from that, Microsoft Word has also gotten better about finding nitty-gritty errors of this sort. Dictionaries will often have various forms of a word for just this purpose.

Reading Is Fundamental

But best of all, nothing beats good old reading. Reading quality literature at the appropriate grade level will allow you to come across plenty of new words and contextualize older ones. My mental trick about trying on different suffixes only really works if you have read and heard certain words enough. Frequent exposure will allow certain words to lodge in your mind. Even if you do not know what they mean yet, you will know that you have heard or seen them.

So please, save yourself the embarrassment of putting up another misspelled status update. (Facebook gives you the option to edit, but only one time.) Take the time to proofread your work, and in general, READ.

Virtues from Motherhood: Breathe it in

A couple of weekends ago I took a trip up to Cold Spring, NY to visit my cousins. Just about two hours north of NYC, the town is a hidden gem along the Hudson River. Neighboring Cold Spring is Beacon, NY which is an up and coming mini city with the cutest shops and cafes. 

I needed a weekend away to clear my head, get out of my usual environment to take a breather and my cousins were kind enough to invite me up. We walked Main Street, got some brunch and we even walked to Beacon falls, which is just a simple waterfall along some old railroad tracks. Regardless of its simplicity it was still calming and welcoming to admire. In the middle of Brooklyn such a sight would be rare and it struck me that removing yourself from the “norm” is a positive experience. 

As hard as it may be, taking even five minutes to just be somewhere you normally wouldn’t be is a way to relax your mind. Constantly being in your element and being tasked with day to day roles and responsibilities can be tiresome. I took an entire weekend to myself, but just taking 10 minutes, to sit outside my college, or walk a block out of my way on my walk home puts me in a space where I’m looking at what’s around me instead of just anticipating it. I’ve picked up some of these techniques after finding myself to be so anxious I couldn’t function at all, and despite my hesitation I’ve found it works. 

Even when you can’t just up and leave for two days you can take yourself on a mental vacation. Spend 10 minutes thinking of something you love to do, hiking, painting, dancing or whatever it is that you love because it takes your mind away from whatever is stressing you out. At the end of the day nobody is invincible and we all need a break, a day off and a few minutes to ourselves. Don’t feel bad for needing it and even more, don’t feel bad for taking it. 

Interview With A Vlademir

… Get it? Like Anne Rice’s Interview With a Vampire. 






(Answers were provided via e-mail)
Q: What is your name?
My name is Vlademir Gadir.
Q: How old are you? 
I am 19 years old.
Q: At this point in your life, what are your goals for the future?
My current goals revolve around the pursuit of becoming financially free, and ultimately living a life that is characterized by travel, art, spirituality, and most importantly, love.
Q: Do you see a place for women in your future/current occupation? 
Of course I see a place for women in my future occupation. I am currently pursuing a career in nutrition, which just like all other occupations should be open and encouraged to all people, no matter the gender, racial, sexual, and cultural differences. Although the majority of nutritionists are women, I believe that it’s important to break those gender boundaries and change what society considers to be appropriate, and instead to use our reasoning to dismantle fragile and toxic masculinity that truly disallows men from pursuing many of these careers that are considered to be too feminine. In addition, the same applies to women. I believe in the importance of women pursuing careers that are traditionally considered masculine in order to truly change the course of gender roles and recreate what society views as feminine or masculine.
Q: Who is/are the most important women/women in your life? 
The most important women in my life are not only my sister, my mother, my grandmothers, my girlfriend but also all my friends that are female. However, probably the most important female in my life would be my mother because she is the individual who nourished me in her womb, and ultimately gave life to me…which I cannot be more grateful for.
Q: Does feminism have meaning in your life? 
Feminism definitely has meaning to me, just as it should for any other sane human being because it is the simple ideology that claims that both men and women are equal, and as a result should be treated with same respect.
Q: What is your definition of feminism?
My definition of feminism breaks down into the ideology that men and women are both equally important individuals for life, and as a result should treat each other with equal regards and respect. It’s really that simple, unfortunately most people don’t have enough reasoning ability to comprehend that.
Q: Do you identify as a feminist? If so, why? If not, why? 
Obviously, I consider myself a feminist the same way I consider myself a human being. I believe that any human who understands life to just the smallest degree, should be able to then understand the importance of women, and consequently see them with great reverence since they are the people who have given life to us. Hence, it is only reasonable to agree that they deserve equal rights with men.
Bonus Question: What would be the soundtrack to an important life event of your choosing? (I.e. wedding, funeral, graduation, etc.) 

Let’s get it on – Marvin Gaye for a Wedding


Next week’s installment: Harold Barreto

Have a lovely weekend, babies!


All artwork by Pebbles.

A Passion for Frosting

Everyone in their lifetimes…no matter how long or short, falls in love. That love may differ with the special recipients of that love but falling in love is almost inevitable. Some fall in love with a person, a pet, a vehicle, nature, et cetera.

And at a very young age, I fell in love with baking. All I hoped and dreamed for was to bake…to bring joy to people’s lives and seeking my deepest passion. I remember how excited I would get as a child using an Easy Bake Oven to bake mini cakes or brownies. I honestly felt as if I was a real pastry chef by creating these small edible creations. And as I got older, I became more passionate about my love for baking. I was fascinated by all the desserts that I could learn about and gladly bake. I remember the first time that I made a cake…it was from a cake mix but I was so proud of myself for pursuing such a new territory in my baking journey. As time goes on, I tend to obsess over the baked goods that I will create in the future especially for major holidays or events like Christmas, Graduations, Birthdays, or other sentimental days. I become so filled with anticipation of how the finished product will look or be, much like I did when I was younger. When I finally made my first cake, I was most excited to frost and decorate it. I was able to use a variety of different colored frosting, small candies, and sprinkles to decorate my cake. It was the most amazing experience to finally be able to decorate a cake that I baked with little help from anyone else. And though, my decorating job was not exactly the work of Buddy Valastro, I was still satisfied with my decorating skills at the time given it was my very first attempt at decorating a cake.

But since then, I have had the honor of learning how to properly decorate cakes with an array of different decorations options such as fondant, gumpaste, nonpareils, frosting, airbrush, sugar work, or modelled chocolate. Still, one of the most satisfying things in the baking world is having the ability to frost a cake. The intricate precision is immaculate and the decorations help to create the most appealing masterpiece. The perfect sharp edges that looks so professional as well as the smooth appearance and texture of the frosting that further elevates the overall precision of the cake. There are so many necessary tools that are readily involved in the production of properly frosting a cake. The most used tool is an offset spatula because it allows for continuity in smoothing out all sides of the cake with more agility as it contours to the shape of the cake unlike the straight spatula. But depending on the frosting used for the cake, other options may be needed in order to ensure that your cake has smooth edges like heated the offset spatula before using it by dipping it in hot water then drying it before allowing it to slightly melt the frosting to smooth the texture or edges.

However, there is a new tool that is solely intended to smooth out the frosting on cakes in an easier manner. It is essentially a device that wraps the cake by an angle and smooths the frosting in a quicker and more efficient way. It is a product made entirely of plastic and it’s capable of applying frosting to any cake up to eight inches in height; it is called the ProFroster which only costs $25. Watch below to see how this amazing gadget works effortlessly.

Comment below with your thoughts about this device being readily used in the baking world.


“How could I have not known?” are the words that continued to bounce around my thought process while walking through Brookfield Place. The poster and signs all congratulated the organization for their 25th year of the competition. “But how?” I thought to myself, wondering how something to exceptional and amazing could be so close to me in proximity yet so far away in reality since I hadn’t known of its existence. How was it that I only stumbled upon something of such grandeur only a few months ago? I enjoyed every second that I spent there, allowing every dynamic to dance around my thoughts. But I couldn’t help but think about all the years I wasted; the years I didn’t get to see the exhibit in reality. Regardless of how much I wish or beg, I will never be able to get those years back; the only thing I can do is enjoy the current exhibit and its potential for future years.

Brookfield Place

According to the Canstruction Nation Headquarters website, Canstruction began in 1992 by a woman named Cheri Melillo as a collaborative idea with her fellow colleagues. Together, they created an idea to bridge the gap between architects, engineers, and contractors. Each of these professions are connected but don’t really interact with each other; they just coexist in the vast world of design and construction. Melillo saw a problem with the lack of interaction but, also, saw a solution to make the worlds collide and begin to form a better and more comfortable relationship with one another. Canstruction officially made its debut in 1992, taking place in Denver, CO and Seattle, WA before the New York chapter opened on November 13, 1993.

the Canstruction Poster

Canstruction is a competition in which groups of architects, engineers, and contractors (licenced, students, and graduates, alike) build structures completely out of canned goods. Yes, those old fruit cocktails and tuna fish cans in back of your pantry are turned into art. Maybe more enjoyable than the taste, these sculptures stand in the space for a limited time; displayed for everyone’s amusement. After the awards are given and the competition runs its course, the cans are then donated to a local food drive; in our case it all goes to City Harvest. Twenty-five years after the competition’s conception, Canstruction has grown into a massive organization, its compassion spreading to over two hundred cities all over the world and donating about fifty million pounds of food.

Canstruction Sculpture

“We CAN Coexist” by RAND Engineering & Architecture, DPC

Canstruction Sculpture

“Beauty and the Feast” by Gannett Fleming

Canstruction Sculpture

“Fearless in the Face of Hunger” by Simpson Gumpertz & Heger

Canstruction Sculpture

“Out of the Tunnel, In CANsit” by Thornton Tomasetti

This year marks the tenth year of the exhibit’s location at Brookfield Place. Twenty-six different groups entered their own renditions of can sculptures and they were dispersed around the property; weaved in between the commerce and lobbies, inciting droves of people to surround these structures. The creativity stunned me so thoroughly, that I don’t think I could pick a favorite. Each structure was unique and had its own respective qualities that I found favorable.

Canstruction Sculpture

“Heart to Heart” by Dattner Architects

Canstruction Sculpture

“PAC-CAN” by Perkins Eastman/DREAM

a Canstruction Sculpture of a pretzel

“Tying the Knot” by NV5

Canstruction Sculpture

“Game of Buildings – Winter Is Coming, Feed the Hungry” by Metropolis Group, Inc.

Although Melillo wasn’t able to see the growth of her organization since her tragic passing in 2009, I guarantee that she would be proud to know how much her work has induced the design and construction worlds to continue mingling with one another.

Canstruction Sculptures

Main floor CANstructures

Who knew that a simple can had the ability to connect people at such a grand scale…

A day in the City

Cars honking, trains under our feet, vibrations, it’s the city life. Though to me, nature brings me inner peace, to others it’s the city life. From the people to the machinery and architecture, the liveliness of the city brings joy and relaxation to many. Perhaps it makes them feel not so alone? After all it’s wired in our very core; the need to socialize and to not be alone. Our school, City Tech, is a great example, since there are  so many buildings surrounding the area, so much people, and different ways to get around with public transportation. It’s even better at night; the night life in the city. Especially when the holidays come around, we see lit up ornaments and trees; it’s a true beauty if you ask me. Nothing like a cup of coffee during this cold season and staring into the beautiful scenery to calm the nerves; or perhaps tea if you’re not a coffee person.

On the note of beverages, it’s yet another good way of relaxation! To me, peppermint tea or chamomile tea is great to help soothe my nerves! And when I’m sick and I’m in desperate need of sleep, I drink Eucalyptus tea. It’s my secret soothing remedy and I recommend it to anyone who is sick or is having trouble sleeping. For me, personally, I prefer to use 2-3 leaves of Eucalyptus. Because it is very overpowering and will knock you out like a lightbulb, there’s no need to add too many leaves. Just be prepared for the best sleep in your life because believe me, it leaves you feeling refreshed in the morning. Eucalyptus can be bought anywhere; from your local store or a big brand market; just go to the herbs aisle and you’ll find it there! Have any questions or thoughts as to teas and recommendations? Feel free te message below! Let me know what’s your soothing drink!

Photographer: Gennessy Palma Tea Brand: Celestial Seasonings


Summer School Blues

A few years ago I had the pleasure of signing up for a 5 week summer math course. In my mind I thought “how difficult could it be to have one class every day, for 2 and a half hours, for about a month?” In the past I have taken 6 classes, including a math course, and I passed every single class. However, I was not aware of how different a fall semester math course compared to a summer math course could be. Well, I must say I was in for a rude awakening when I started my summer class this past June. Not only was I not prepared for the chilling temperatures in the classroom, but I also was not prepared for the fast pace that we would be learning different concepts.

When I entered the classroom it was freezing cold, which for me is a distraction because cold weather makes me tired. After I sat down and tried to get comfortable, my professor would come in and immediately start with the lecture. The material that we were learning was complex, and at times I found myself lost. I constantly asked my professor questions, and I even went up to her desk a few times for clarity. My efforts to understand were to no avail because I just was not grasping the concepts! As time progressed, I tried to teach myself the material that I didn’t understand. I also went to the learning center and sat with the tutor. The end of the first week of class came and we were to take our first test and I knew that I was not prepared. Although I spent 4-5 hours after class studying and trying to complete homework, I WAS NOT GETTING IT!! I asked other students in my class, and they explained that they were also having difficulties with the material we were covering in class. After the first two weeks, several people dropped the class because they were not satisfied with their grades on the first, and second exam. However I decided I would not give up on myself, I would finish the class.

As the semester started to wind down I realized that taking a math class in a summer session is NOT A GOOD IDEA. (Well not for me anyway!) There just is not enough time to explain each topic in detail!! Even though I spent hours studying, I still found it difficult to remember the topics that I was taught previously throughout the week. Mathematics is a complex subject which requires a lot of time and devotion. I felt that I did not have an adequate amount of time to break down each topic and internalize it. Since I was not able to get a firm grasp on each topic, I was not able to perform to the best of my ability on each exam. I found myself in a very unpleasant state, and I cannot learn when I am not happy! I had to pull myself together and put as much effort as possible into my school work so that I could see improvement in my work. It took me sometime, but I developed a method that allowed me to slowly increase my grades in this course.

My advice to anyone considering taking a summer Mathematics class is to think twice. If you do not like math,the summer definitely is not the right time to take a math course! You may have difficulty absorbing the information if your mind is not open to learning math. There is not enough time in the semester for you to gradually teach yourself the information, and try to understand it, which was my experience. T o really succeed you have to be open to the knowledge and be able to work in a fast paced environment.

As a student you also have to realize, that not all professors will be willing, or have the time to,sit with you, after a 2 and a half hour class to explain to you topics you missed. Another thing to remember is that you will be exhausted every day after class, and you’ll have a heavy workload. If you decide to take up a summer class just be ready for intense class hours and intense study sessions. There may be nights where you do not sleep at all and in order to succeed in a mathematics course you need your rest. You must try and find a balance doing things like taking naps between study sessions, eating well, keeping a positive mindset and getting as much help as possible.

A mathematics course can be difficult in a regular 15 week course and it’s even more difficult in a five week course. If you decide to take this route be prepared to work hard, and devote a significant portion of your time to studying. Hanging out with friends, and having time to relax is out of the question. If you want exceptional grades, you must sacrifice a lot of your time and put in maximum effort into every topic that is covered in class. If you want to enjoy your summer, I would encourage you to Think Twice before taking a Summer Math Course. Who knows, there is always a possibility that you may be a math wiz, and could knock out three math courses in the summer session. If you have ever taken a summer class , leave me a few comments and let me know how the experience was for you.

Self Discovery Series Part 4:…This Is Who I Am…..

You have now entered the finale to this series! If you need to catch up here you go>>>

Part Uno
Part Dos
Part Tres

The main goal of this series has been to stimulate your thoughts. When you hear the words “self discovery”, people tend to think it means to find yourself.
Nope, the big deal is not to
find yourself, we are already found.
What does find yourself even mean?

Self discovery is about knowing yourself. So I wanted to stimulate your thoughts on getting to a place where you are in tune with YOU underneath all of the outside influences. Your thoughts of how you perceive others and how others perceive you, and how easy it is to get it all wrong. Thoughts of knowing your truth and owning it. Thoughts of finding assurance, security, and happiness in knowing who you are, defined by your own standards.

The easiest way to get to know yourself is the same way you would get to know anyone else right? Questions, listening, paying attention. Trust me it’s okay if you haven’t been. We barely make time for intentional self-discovery. We’re just bombarded with messages from other people: what they want for us, what they think of us, how they perceive us; and we forget to listen the voice that matters most, our own!

I am no expert but I know what works for me, and only hope that the things I share may work for you as well. Through this process, I have learned more about myself as well. Part 2: Perceptions meant a lot to me. It threw back into my face how I can also be part of the problem. Assuming things about people I don’t know, writing my own story about them before one word of conversation. Creating snap judgements of people based on their expression or clothing, or how I (and this one I do a lot) create a character and personality for someone after simply reading an email from them.

I asked a few of my friends: my “sister friend” of over 11 years Mone, and a few of my blogging sisters Sam, Pebbles, and Cherishe to really dig deep like we talked about in Part 1, and tell me who they are, and I created a video montage of their responses. These women inspire me everyday and I am humbled to know them.  Embarking on a journey of self discovery is one of the most rewarding paths in life you will ever take, and one of the most beautiful things to witness happen in someone else’s life.

Don’t believe me?  Just watch. Click the video below to hear their self written stories :).


Just want to say thank you to these ladies for being vulnerable and open and muses for me and others around them all the time, I love you guys.

woamn with tears on face

Photo Credit

Although the journey of self-discovery never ends, you’ll know you’ve reached a good place when you’ve developed a greater sense of self-pride. You will be proud of the person you are and embrace even the ugliest things about you, because without them, you wouldn’t be you.

Teach yourself how to accept and love yourself for you who you are, no matter what you’ve been through and what you’ve learned in the process.

Acceptance makes all the difference in your confidence, self-esteem, and overall sense of self love. Love is loud and infectious and it stands out. Love yourself and others will have no choice but to fall in line hunny.

Own yourself, own your thoughts and your mind, and know that there’s nothing anyone can do or say that can take you away who you are, who you define yourself to be, from YOU.

I hope you enjoyed this series and it inspired you to get to know the “man (or woman lol) in the mirror” more.

Love, Neffi.


Reviving Grammar: A Summary of the Eight Parts of Speech

By Robine Jean-Pierre

Many of my peers would agree that we rarely studied grammar throughout most of our years of primary education. Grammar was a ghost that introduced itself somewhere between kindergarten and third grade, only to never be seen again–and yet our teachers would expect us to remember all that it entailed through high school, and maybe even into college.

My eighth grade English teacher, Mr. Snyder, took it upon himself to teach us all that we had missed out on, knowing that our previous teachers had done us a disservice. Before we got into building our vocabulary and writing analytical essays, we started with the basic building blocks: parts of speech. To help visual, synesthetic learners like me, he associated colors and shapes with each one. I will walk you through what I remember from his class.


I always knew a noun to be a person, place or thing, but it wasn’t until this class that a fourth option was added to this iconic phrase: a person, place, thing or idea (also known as an abstract thought). Our teacher circled nouns in red marker. In a sentence like “Joe tried to hide his disappointment as he waited on a bench in the park,” Joe is a person, the park is a place, the bench is a thing and disappointment is an idea; these are all examples of nouns. When it’s not so obvious, you can generally identify something as a noun if you can count it, if you can put “a/an” or “the” in front of it (these are called articles), or if it ends in something like -tion, -ness, or -ity, for example, action, sadness, and unity.


These take the place of nouns. Imagine how clunky and awkward it would be if every time you talked about someone, you had to use that person’s name: “Angel said Angel is on Angel’s way, so wait up for Angel.” This next sentence is a lot more concise: “Angel said he is on his way, so wait up for him.” He, his, and him are all pronouns which are replacing, and referring to, Angel. We have a good number of pronouns in English: I, me, my, mine, myself; you, your, yours, yourself; he, him, his, himself; she, her, hers, herself; it, itself; one, oneself; we, us, our, ourselves; they, them, their, theirs, themselves; this, that, these, those. This may sound like a lot to remember, but we use them all the time without even realizing it.


Next are verbs, which Mr. Snyder underlined in green. Verbs are usually referred to as action words, such as “eat,” “sleep,” and “breathe.” Since something or someone (the subject) has to perform the action, verbs tend to follow right after nouns. If you have ever taken a foreign language class, you have had to learn all about verb conjugations; depending on the subject, some changes would be made to the verb. In English, the change is simple for regular verbs: just add -s at the end if the subject uses the pronoun he, she, it or one (i.e. second person singular). For example: I jump, you jump, he jumps, etc. Our most irregular but most common verb, “to be,” does not follow this pattern at all: I am, you are, he/she/it/one is, we are, they are. (This holds true in many Latin-based languages like French and Spanish.)


These words, which he boxed in purple, describe nouns, giving you more information about them. If your friend is telling you about a new crush, the conversation will be oozing with adjectives: she’s so smart, funny, talented; he’s handsome, dreamy, confident. Adjectives include colors, numbers, size, quality, and other attributes. You might find these anywhere in a sentence but they can also come directly before the noun they belong to: the cool breeze or the delicious pizza.  


Our teacher made an orange triangle around these. Whereas adjectives describe or modify nouns, adverbs modify verbs. They tend to answer the question  “how?” and they often end in -ly. In the sentence “She entered timidly, quickly taking a seat by the door,” timidly and quickly are the adverbs, and they are describing the way she entered and the way she took a seat. Other adverbs not ending in -ly include often, just, much, and so. We use these all the time, if you haven’t noticed.

I don’t remember the color coding for the next three, and they are also not as frequently talked about, but they are good to know:


These include some of the smallest, most frequently used words in our language: to, at, in, on, by, for, out, from, etc. Longer ones include under, between, through, and alongside. Their name, made up of “pre-” and “position,” give a hint as to how they are used: they tend to indicate direction or placement, and can easily answer the question “where?” when grouped with a noun: “I’m at the park on West 4th street by the pizzeria.” 


These connect words or parts of sentences to each other. They include and, or, but, because, whereas. Conjunctions establish a relationship between two or more elements. Or tells you that one out of several options is to be selected, not all of them: “Either I will be babysitting that night or doing my homework.”Another example: “You can only choose one color: red, green, or blue.” And may indicate that several things have something in common: “Nick, Joe and Kevin have black hair.” But tends to highlight a contrast: “It’s raining outside but I don’t have my umbrella.” Because has the word cause in it, and indeed links two clauses to create a cause-and-effect relationship. “I didn’t knock because I thought you were sleeping.”


These words express emotion and for this reason tend to be exclaimed, for example: “Wow!” “Whoa!” “Gee whiz!” “Ouch!” It is interesting to note how these change from generation to generation within the same language (no one really says “gee whiz” anymore, unless it’s with a touch of sarcasm), and also vary from culture to culture.

I hope you found this helpful in learning (or relearning) the eight parts of speech, and that it wasn’t too difficult to follow. We shouldn’t take English for granted just because it’s our native language. The better we understand it, the better we can communicate.