top-rated free essay

Nouns

By singzaz Sep 19, 2013 1783 Words
LN-1.1.1: Nouns

LN-1.1.1: NOUNS 1.1 Introduction to Nouns A noun is a part of speech that names a person, place, or thing. Many different kinds of nouns are used in the English language. Some are specific for people, places, events, and some represent groups or collections. Some nouns aren't even nouns; they're verbs acting like nouns in sentences. Nouns can be singular, referring to one thing, or plural, referring to more than one thing. Nouns can be possessive as well; possessive nouns indicate ownership or a close relationship. Regardless of the type, nouns should always agree with their verbs in sentences; use singular verbs with singular nouns and plural verbs with plural nouns. You have to know how a noun works in order to write an effective sentence. 1.2 Proper Nouns If a noun names a specific person or place, or a particular event or group, it is called a proper noun and is always capitalized. Some examples are Eleanor Roosevelt, Niagara Falls, Dracula, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Great Depression, and Desert Storm. This seems simple enough. Unfortunately, some writers assign proper-noun status fairly indiscriminately to other words, sprinkling capital letters freely throughout their prose. For example, the Manhattan © AIT-The University of the Future

LN-1.1.1: Nouns

Project is appropriately capitalized because it is a historic project, the name given to the specific wartime effort to design and build the first nuclear weapons. But project should not be capitalized when referring to a club's project to clean up the campus. Similarly, the Great Depression should be capitalized because it refers to the specific historical period of economic failure that began with the stock market collapse in 1929. When the word depression refers to other economic hard times, however, it is not a proper noun but a common noun and should not be capitalized. Some flexibility in capitalizing nouns is acceptable. A writer may have a valid reason for capitalizing a particular term, for example, and some companies use style guides that dictate capital letters for job titles such as manager. But often the use of a capital outside the basic rule is an effort to give a word an air of importance, and you should avoid it.

© AIT-The University of the Future

LN-1.1.1: Nouns

1.3 Verbs Used as Nouns One special case is when a verb is used as a noun. Here the verb form is altered and it serves the same function as a noun in the sentence. This type of noun is called a gerund. The Gerund A noun created from the - ing form of a verb is called a gerund. Like other nouns, gerunds act as subjects and objects in sentences. • Sleeping sometimes serves as an escape from studying. The gerunds sleeping and studying are - ing forms of the verbs sleep and study. Sleeping is the noun functioning as the subject of this sentence, and studying is an object (in this case, the object of a preposition). The Problem Gerund Gerunds can sometimes be difficult to use properly in a sentence. What problems will you have with gerunds? •



When a noun or pronoun precedes a gerund, use the possessive case of the noun or pronoun. • Jane's sleeping was sometimes an escape from studying. Even when you think that the word before the gerund looks like an object, use the possessive case. • Jane was annoyed by Bill's studying. • NOT Jane was annoyed by Bill studying. © AIT-The University of the Future

LN-1.1.1: Nouns

1.4 Collective Nouns A word that stands for a group of things is called a collective noun. In fact, the word group itself is a collective noun. Here are a few others: club, team, committee, furniture, jury, Congress, swarm, herd. Usually these nouns are treated as singular, since the emphasis is on a unit rather than its parts. • The team is going on the bus. • The committee wants to find a solution to the problem. But when you want to emphasize the individual parts of a group, you may treat a collective noun as plural. • The team have argued about going on the bus. • The committee want different solutions to the problem. If the plural sounds awkward, try rewriting. • The team members have argued about going on the bus. • Committee members disagree about solutions to the problem

© AIT-The University of the Future

LN-1.1.1: Nouns

1.5 Singular and Plural Nouns The term number refers to whether a noun is singular or plural. Most nouns can be either, depending on whether you are talking about one thing (dog) or more than one (dogs). You know the basic rule of adding - s to make the plural of a noun, and you also know that many nouns don't follow that rule—for example, sheep (singular), sheep (plural); enemy, enemies; wharf, wharves, hero, heroes, goose, geese, and so on. You should check your dictionary if you're not sure about a plural. Do not add - 's to a singular form to make it plural, even if the noun you are using is a family name: the Taylors, not the Taylor's; donkeys, not donkey's; taxis, not taxi's. The singular and plural forms of some nouns with Latin and Greek endings can cause trouble. The noun data, for example, is actually a plural; datum is the singular. • The final datum is not consistent with the preceding data, which are positive. Although today the plural data is widely treated as singular, keep the distinction, particularly in scientific writing.

© AIT-The University of the Future

LN-1.1.1: Nouns

Here are some other examples of Latin and Greek singular and plural words: bacterium, bacteria, criterion, criteria, medium, media; alumnus (masculine singular) /alumni (masculine plural), alumna (feminine singular) /alumnae (feminine plural). If you are writing about television, use medium. If you are writing about radio, television, and the press, use media 1.6 Possessive Case of Nouns The possessive case of a noun is used to show ownership (Allan's car, my sister's house) or another close relationship (the chairman's friends, the cup's handle, the university's position). Problems With Possessives What causes problems with possessive nouns is uncertainty: Do I add an - 's or just an apostrophe? Follow this rule: for singular nouns, add 's, even if the noun ends in an - s or - z sound: dog's, house's, Wes's, Keats's. But make an exception when an added - s would lead to three closely bunched s or z sounds (Jesus', Ulysses') or in names of more than one syllable with an unaccented ending pronounced - eez (Empedocles', Socrates', Euripides'). Greek names often fall into this category.

© AIT-The University of the Future

LN-1.1.1: Nouns

For most plural possessive nouns, add an apostrophe alone: several months' bills, many Rumanian's apartments, the encyclopedias' differences, the Rolling Stones' travel plans. If a plural noun doesn't end in - s, add - 's, just as you would with a singular noun: women's issues, mice's tails. Switching to and of Construction When a possessive noun sounds awkward, use an of construction instead. This is a safe and often preferable way to indicate the relationship: the top of the page instead of the page's top; the lawn of the building on the corner instead of the building on the corner's lawn, the main characters of Pride and Prejudice instead of Pride and Prejudice's main characters; the novels of Dickens instead of Dickens's novels. Joint Ownership One last word about possessive nouns: When you are indicating joint ownership, give the possessive form to the final name only, such as Abbott and Costello's movies, Tom and Dawn's dinner party, Smith, Wilson, and Nelson's partnership.

© AIT-The University of the Future

LN-1.1.1: Nouns

1.7 Agreement of Nouns and Verbs Agreement is an important concept in grammar and a source of many writing errors. Verbs must agree with their nouns, which means that a singular noun requires a singular verb, and a plural noun requires a plural verb. • •

The dog jumps up and down. (singular) The dogs jump up and down. (plural)

Remember that a noun ending in - s is often a plural, whereas a verb ending in - s is usually singular: runs in my pantyhose (plural noun); he runs (singular verb). Nouns with Latin or Greek endings and nouns that look plural but sometimes take singular verbs can cause agreement problems. • The data indicate that the test samples are more affected by heat than the control group samples. Since data is the plural form of datum, use the plural form of the verb (in this case, indicate). In the following example, criteria is plural. Use the plural form of the verb (are). • The criteria for judging an entry are listed in the brochure.

© AIT-The University of the Future

LN-1.1.1: Nouns

Rights, which is a plural form, is treated as singular in the following example because human rights is a unit, an issue of concern. • Human rights is an issue that affects everyone. If you wanted to emphasize the rights individually, you could use the plural verb: • Human rights are ignored in many countries. In the next example, miles is the plural form, but fifty miles is used here to name a unit of distance and therefore takes a singular verb: • Fifty miles is not such a long distance. Statistics looks plural, and in many situations would be treated as plural, for example, • Statistics is the subject I most want to avoid. • Statistics are being gathered to show that women are better drivers than men. In the first example, statistics refers to a subject of study, so the singular is appropriate. Among other frequently used nouns that can take either a singular or plural verb, depending on whether the emphasis is on a single unit or individual items, are number, majority, and minority.

© AIT-The University of the Future

LN-1.1.1: Nouns
• • •

The number of people coming is surprising. A number of people are coming. A number like five thousand is what he had in mind.

With number, use this rule. If it is preceded by the, always use the singular. If it is preceded by a, use the singular or plural, depending on whether you are thinking of a single unit or individual items. With majority and minority, the key is to decide whether you want to emphasize individual people or things or whether you want to emphasize the single unit. • The majority is opposed to the measure. (singular = single unit) • A minority of the younger people refuse to concede the point. (plural = individuals)

© AIT-The University of the Future

Cite This Document

Related Documents

  • Noun: Pronoun and Verb

    ...Parts of Speech Noun A noun is a naming word. It names a person, place, thing, idea, living creature, quality, or action. Examples: cowboy, theatre, box, thought, tree, kindness, arrival Verb A verb is a word which describes an action (doing something) or a state (being something). Examples: walk, talk, think, believe, live, like, wan...

    Read More
  • Noun and Ans

    ...GRAMMAR Topics: • A or an • Sentences using Yes, it is/No, it isn’t • Sentences using Yes, they are/No, they aren’t • Singular Plural • Punctuation • My Favorite Fruit (Essay) • This is, There is/These are, There are • My Mom (Essay) • Noun • Proper Nouns • Verb ...

    Read More
  • NOUN CLASSES OF SILOZI

    ...A noun is a word used to refer to people, animals, objects, substances, states, events and feelings. In linguistics, the term noun class refers to a system of categorizing nouns. A noun may belong to a given class because of characteristic features of its referent, such as sex, animacy, shape, but counting a given noun among nouns of such or ...

    Read More
  • General Characteristics of English Nouns

    ...General Characteristics of English Nouns The word "noun" comes from the Latin nomen meaning "name." Word classes like nouns were first described by Sanskrit grammarian Painini and ancient Greeks like Dionysios Thrax, and defined in terms of their morphological properties. For example, in Ancient Greece, nouns can be inflected for grammatical ca...

    Read More
  • Plural Nouns

    ...Plural Nouns www.grammar.cl A) Change each of the singular nouns below into plural nouns. 1. Book: 2. Table: _________________________ _________________________ 3. Day: 4. Car: _________________________ _________________________ B) Change each of the singular nouns below into plural nouns. 1. Watch: 2. Fox: 3. Glass: _______________________...

    Read More
  • Adjectives: Adverb and Descriptive Adjective Noun

    ...Adjectives: Limiting A limiting adjective, rather than describing a noun, defines it. To put it more simply, limiting adjectives either point out or set a numerical limit to the noun. These limiting adjectives are grouped into three classes of limiting adjectives: Descriptive adjective Noun an adjective that ascribes to its noun...

    Read More
  • Pronoun and Noun Phrase

    ...(in it)/ lent to us/ by Granada Television (by it). 10. Last year's teachers' boycott (when)/ of national curriculum testing (it)/ must have been (was it)/ the most successful piece of industrial action (of that)/ in years (when). Exercise 2 Familiarize yourself with the word-class labels in English and Dutch (see section 6), and ...

    Read More
  • Main Features of Verb and Noun in English and Other Languages

    ...“Discuss and contrast some of the main features of the classes VERB and NOUN in English and any other language.” In this essay I will make an attempt to discuss differences between two classes of lexemes, which are verb and noun. In order to conduct that analysis in a detailed manner I will refer to two languages, English and Polish (mino...

    Read More

Discover the Best Free Essays on StudyMode

Conquer writer's block once and for all.

High Quality Essays

Our library contains thousands of carefully selected free research papers and essays.

Popular Topics

No matter the topic you're researching, chances are we have it covered.