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A POS -tag stands for a unique set of morpho-syntactic features as exemplified in tables below and a word can take several POS-tags. For instance, the string ``books'' generally can have two readings: in the phrase ``he books tickets'' the word ``books'' is a verb of the third person (VBZ) but in the phrase ``he reads books'' it is a plural noun (NNS).

There is a useful distinction into open-class and closed-class words. Open class is a class of words which does not consist from a finite number of words. These are nouns, adjectives, verbs and adverbs. As opposed to open classes, closed classes consist of a finite and well-established number of words as, for instance, prepositions, articles, wh-words, etc.

Modified Penn Treebank Tag-Set (open class categories)
POS Tag Description Example
JJ adjective green
JJR adjective, comparative greener
JJS adjective, superlative greenest
RB adverb however, usually, naturally, here, good
RBR adverb, comparative better
RBS adverb, superlative best
NN common noun table
NNS noun plural tables
NNP proper noun John
NNPS plural proper noun Vikings
VB verb base form take
VBD verb past took
VBG gerund taking
VBN past participle taken
VBP verb, present, non-3d take
VBZ verb present, 3d person takes
FW foreign word d'hoevre

Modified Penn Treebank Tag-Set (closed class categories)
POS Tag Description Example
CD cardinal number 1, third
CC coordinating conjunction and
DT determiner the
EX existential there there is
IN preposition in, of, like
LS list marker 1)
MD modal could, will
PDT predeterminer both the boys
POS possessive ending friend's
PRP personal pronoun I, he, it
PRP$ possessive pronoun my, his
RP particle give up
TO to (both "to go" and "to him") to go, to him
UH interjection uhhuhhuhh
WDT wh-determiner which
WP wh-pronoun who, what
WP$ possessive wh-pronoun whose
WRB wh-adverb where, when

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