Works of English grammar generally follow the pattern of the European tradition as described above, except that participles are now usually regarded as forms of verbs rather than as a separate part of speech. Eight or nine parts of speech are commonly listed:
A part of speech – particularly in more modern classifications, which often make more precise distinctions than the traditional scheme does – may also be called a word class, lexical class, or lexical category, although the term lexical category refers in some contexts to a particular type of syntactic category, and may thus exclude parts of speech that are considered to be functional, such as pronouns. The term form class is also used, although this has various conflicting definitions. Word classes may be classified as open or closed: open classes (like nouns, verbs and adjectives) acquire new members constantly, while closed classes (such as pronouns and conjunctions) acquire new members infrequently, if at all.
Almost all languages have the word classes noun and verb, but beyond these there are significant variations in different languages. For example, Japanese has as many as three classes of adjectives where English has one; Chinese, Korean and Japanese have a class of nominal classifiers; many languages lack a distinction between adjectives and adverbs, or between adjectives and verbs (see stative verbs). This variation in the number of categories and their identifying properties means that analysis needs to be done for each individual language. Nevertheless, the labels for each category are assigned on the basis of universal criteria.