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Important Facts About Noun You Should Remember

In: How to August 15th, 2016

The following essay will examine the most important facts about noun that every student should know. Let us first of all give a definition of this part of speech. A noun is a part of speech that is used to name a person, thing, place or idea. It is suggested that whatever exists in this world can be named, and the purpose of a noun is to give that name. There are two types of nouns, namely proper nouns and common nouns. Let us identify the difference between these nouns.

According to the experts in English grammar, a proper noun is used to name specific place, person or thing. For instance, such words as Queen Elizabeth, Great Britain, Japanese and other similar notions belong to the category of proper nouns. Such words are practically always capitalized. The subcategory of a proper noun is a noun of address, which means addressing a person’s name. If to characterize common nouns, it should be mentioned that they are used to identify everything else, and are usually not capitalized.   

It should further be noted that several related words may perform the role of a unified noun-like group within one sentence. This is known as a noun clause that contains a verb and a subject and can perform any role that a noun usually performs. This rule is vividly illustrated in the following example:

  • What you do for me is a real blessing.

There is also a notion of a noun phrase that generally represents a noun added with modifiers. This is also a group of words having similar meaning and performing the role of a noun. For example:

  • The child care allowance.

Students often misunderstand the role of various types of nouns. In this regard, it should be noted that there is one more type of a noun, which is known as compound noun. This kind of nouns is often hard to remember for international students. Still, they represent an important part of English grammar and every student should know how to form such nouns. Let us give several examples for you to understand what a compound noun means:

  • Daughter-in-law
  • Half-blood, etc.

In the following section, we will discuss various categories of nouns, which will further clarify the role of this part of speech and its types. Nouns are generally classified as count nouns, mass nouns (also known as non-count nouns) and collective nouns. Count nouns are the ones that can be counted, like two countries, a dozen girls, etc. Mass nouns are the ones that cannot be counted, like water, blood or fire. As for collective nouns, they are the ones that have a singular form, but can represent two or more persons or things. For example, team, committee, class, etc. It should be further noted that some English words can belong to either count or non-count categories of nouns. Everything depends on what role they perform in the sentence. Here are some examples:

  • He ended up getting into trouble (in this case, the noun cannot be counted).
  • He faced many troubles in the past (in this case, the noun is countable).

The issue of whether such nouns can be counted generally determines whether these words can be added with articles or not. For example, you cannot write “He is faced with the troubles”. In this case, the article should be omitted.

There is also a category of abstract nouns, which generally mean that a word is non-tangible. Such words as justice, happiness, coldness and others belong to this category. Many international students who do not speak English as a native language find it hard to understand whether this or that abstract noun needs to be added with an article. In this case, everything depends on the context. For example, it is not correct to write “America gained the independence on the 4th of July”. A definite article here should be omitted. Every student should thoroughly research the topic of plural and singular forms of nouns in order to understand when countable and non-countable nouns should be used. It will also help to clarify when the determiners or articles should be added and when not.

Furthermore, another fact about noun that every student should remember is related to various forms of nouns. In this regard, it should be emphasized that nouns can take the form of the subjective, objective and possessive cases. In the last section of our essay, we will examine what this means. First of all, the notion “case” stands for the function of a noun in the sentence. In order to understand what role a noun plays in the sentence, you need to answer the question of whether it is an object, a subject or a word that shows possession. For example:

  • The French teacher (subject) is friendly.
  • She had a chance to choose the French teacher (object).
  • The French teacher’s (possessive) accent is very amusing.

The forms of the subject and the object in the sentence are identical, while nouns in the possessive case have a different form. There is a simple rule of possessive case formation. You need to add an apostrophe and then add the letter “s”. However, if it is a plural form of a noun, the “s” letter goes first and is then followed by the apostrophe. Keep in mind that it is not always easy to form the plural noun. Therefore, you need to research additional information on this matter.

If you want to find out whether this or that noun is countable or not, there is a simple exercise of naming this part of speech. This exercise will help you to answer any of the questions that might arise while researching the topic of nouns. The groups of count and non-count nouns might be rather confusing to students, especially if English is your second language. We suggest you to do a lot of exercises and pay much attention to the use of determiners, articles and quantifiers with different types of nouns. This will help you to understand how and in what forms nouns should be used in the text you are writing or the speech you are going to present.

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