Part 2 of Grammar – Love it or Loathe it is all about Nouns. If you missed Part 1 click here for a refresher.
So, what is a noun? A noun is a part of speech that denotes:
- a person – proper name, gender or title
- e.g. David sat in the chair.
- an animal – proper name, gender or species
- e.g. The cat sat on the mat.
- a place – proper name or physical location
- e.g. the library is open.
- a thing – whether it exists now, will exist in the future or existed in the past
- e.g. David sat on the chair.
- an idea – whether it’s a real idea or something from fantasy
- e.g. Love is wonderful.
Nouns are generally preceded by articles, such as ‘the’, ‘a’ or ‘an’
‘The’ is called a definite article as it refers directly to a specific noun
- e.g. the breakfast on my plate – here breakfast is the noun and ‘the’ is specifically referring to it.
‘A’ and ‘an’ are indefinite articles as the noun being referred to is not a specific person, thing, place or idea
- e.g. a car on the road – the car could be any car on the road
- e.g. an event in the history of India – the event could be any event in the history of India
Here’s a quick quiz to test your understanding of nouns and their articles:
Fill in the blank space with the appropriate article, ‘a’, ‘an’ or ‘the’ or leave the space blank if you think no article is needed:
- I want ___ biscuit from that packet.
- John speaks ___ Spanish.
- I borrowed ___ umbrella to go out in the rain.
- My son is learning to play ___ trumpet at school.
- ___ apple a day keeps ___ doctor away.
- I have ___ cat and ___ iguana as pets.
- Please pass ___ salt and pepper.
- Fred likes to play ___ football.
- I would like to go to the cinema to watch ___ film.
- I live in ___ house at the end of ___ road.
To see how you got on, click here for the answers.
As with most things in the English language, there are different types of nouns and each type of noun comes with its own rules.
- they name something or someone specific;
- they always begin with a capital letter regardless of where they occur in a sentence
- e.g. Charles Dickens wrote many books.
- e.g. Saturn has many rings.
- they are used to refer to general things rather than anything specific;
- they don’t necessarily begin with a capital letter unless they are placed at the beginning of a sentence.
- e.g. I like a biscuit with my coffee.
- e.g. Dogs can be stupid at times
- they are used for things you can actually touch, see, taste, feel and hear – tangible things;
- e.g. Sit on that chair
- e.g. Oranges and bananas are good for you
- they refer to ideas, concepts, emotions and things you can’t touch, see, taste, feel and hear – intangible things
- e.g. Success comes easily to some people
- e.g. He has a love for nature
- they refer to groups of things, people or animals;
- e.g. a team of people
- e.g. a parliament of owls
That’s it for nouns, next up I’ll be looking at verbs. Look out for another quick quiz.
In the meantime, contact me if you would like to know more about how I could help you to overcome any fears or lack of confidence you may have about your writing.
Peter Clarke (aka ‘The OopsProofer)
07843 304743 or firstname.lastname@example.org