Monday, November 29, 2010

Nouns - What is a Noun?

A noun is a word used to name a person, animal, place, thing, and abstract idea. It is a name of anything! The bold words in the following sentences are nouns:
The cat is out of the bag.
My father works in the bank.
The train checker checks the passengers’ tickets.
The problem with this simple definition is that it does not explain why “love” is a noun but can also be a verb.
A clearer way of looking at nouns is by its ending, its position and its function.

Noun words ending in
  1. ity} sensitivity, creativity, nationality
  2. ment} judgement, appointment, contentment
  3. ness} greatness, gentleness, kindness
  4. ation} plantation, temptation, orientation
  5. hood} knighthood, boyhood, livelihood
  6. ful} spoonful, plateful, cupful (this is not a fixed rules as some words ending in -ful can be adjectives for example careful, beautiful, pitiful, powerful
Noun position in a sentence
We can easily recognise nouns in the position of a sentence which often comes after a determiner word like a, an, the, this, my, such etc:
  • a cat
  • an appointment
  • the condominium
  • this plantation
  • my handbag
  • such creativity
Nouns also often comes after one or more adjectives:
  • a black cat
  • a business appointment
  • the 5-star condominium
  • this rubber plantation
  • my pink beaded handbag
  • such intelligent creativity
Noun function in a sentence
Nouns have specific function in a sentence, for example:
  • subject of verb: Children play quietly.
  • object of verb: She loves cats.
  • subject and object of verb: Tellers dispense money.
Not all subjects or objects of a sentence is always a noun. It could be a pronoun or a phrase. His children play quietly - “children” is the noun but “His children” is the subject.


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