Introduction to Reading English/Nouns

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A noun names :

  • persons, places, animals or things (man, canteen, flower)
  • concepts or ideas (peace, joy, democracy)
  • quality, property or condition (strength, blackness, apathy)

Classification of Nouns[edit | edit source]

  • Proper noun is the distinctive name of anything. It always begins with a capital letter .
    Examples: Wikiversity, John Doe, America
  • Common noun is the general name for anything. It always begins with a small letter .
    Examples: parent, cat, boy

Special Classes of Nouns[edit | edit source]

  • Concrete noun names something that can be perceived with the five senses (sight, sound, touch, smell and taste).
    Examples: air, flower, food, water
  • Abstract noun names something that can't be perceived with the five senses.
    Examples: love, truth, belief, sympathy
  • Collective noun names a collection or a group of similar things.
    Examples: flock, herd, pack, etc.
  • Mass noun a noun that is very rarely plural and is never with articles 'a' and 'an'.
    Examples: advice, equipment, fruit, information, weather
  • Compound noun is made up of two or more words forming a unit idea.
    Examples: skyscraper, rubout, commander-in-chief

Properties of Nouns[edit | edit source]

  1. Person
  2. Number
    • Singular in number indicates one object only.
      Examples: bus, girl, boy, town, stone
    • Plural in number indicates two or more objects. Most noun form their plural by adding -s or -es
      Examples: bag-bags, tree-trees, glass-glasses, church-churches
  3. Gender determines the sex of a noun.
    • Masculine gender indicates the male sex.
      Examples: brother, gander, nephew, father, John
    • Feminine gender indicates the female sex.
      Examples: mother, sister, doe, Mary
    • Common gender indicates uncertainty of sex which is either male or female.
      Examples: teacher, parent, horse, cat, child
    • Neuter gender indicates that an object is without sex.
      Examples: rock, leaf, sea, montain, hill, paper
  4. Case shows the relation of a noun to other words in the sentence or phrase.
    • Nominative case indicates that a noun is doing or being something in the sentence. A noun in the nominative case can be either a subject or predicate but not both in the sentence.
    • Objective case indicates that a person or a thing is being acted upon. A noun in the objective case can be use as object of the verb or object of the preposition.
    • Possessive case indicates that a person or a thing owns something. The possessive form of a noun is usually formed by adding an apostrophe (') or an apostrophe s ('s)

Uses of Nouns[edit | edit source]

  1. Subject refers to the word about something is said in a sentence.
  2. Predicative nominative or predicate noun renames, identifies or explains the subject in a sentence. It is normally placed after a linking verb.
  3. Direct object refers to the receiver of the action in a sentence. It answers the question What? or Who?
  4. Indirect object tells to whom, to what, for whom or for what a thing is done.
  5. Object of the preposition answers the question What? or Whom? after the preposition.
  6. Appositive refers to a noun that identifies or provides further information about another word in the sentence.
    • Essential appositive makes the meaning of a sentence clear. It is usually not set off by a comma.
    • Non-essential appositive may be omitted in the sentence without changing the meaning of it.
  7. Objective complement adds to the meaning of or renames the direct object. It appears only with these verbs: appoint, call, consider, declare, elect, judge, label, make, name, select or think.
  8. Direct address is the name or word by which a person is addressed. It is set off by a comma.