A noun is any word that defines a person, place, or
thing in a sentence.
Nouns give names to:
Concrete Things: Mary lost her books.
Abstract Ideas: His philosophy is really odd.
Abstract Qualities: He says that he lacks sensitivity.
Feelings: She feels great joy when she watches TV.
Actions: Parking won't be difficult in Toronto.
People: Mary Smith is project manager.
Animals: What kind of bear is Teddy Bear?
Places: University of Toronto is located in Toronto.
Common and Proper Nouns
Nouns can be divided into two categories: common nouns
and proper nouns.
Common Nouns are the name for ordinary things. Common nouns
refer to any of a class of people, places, or things. For
example, table, cat, tree, and country.
Proper Nouns are the name of someone or something that is
usually imagined as UNIQUE and they are ALWAYS CAPITALIZED.
For example, President Bush, Toronto, Wall Street, Toshiba,
Mass and Count Nouns
Every noun can be divided into count noun (or countable noun)
and mass noun (or uncountable noun).
Count Nouns are nouns that can be quantified or counted
with a number. Here are some examples:
Names of persons, animals, plants, insects, and their parts:
a girl, a cat, a rose, an ear, three girls, five cats, twelve
roses, and two ears.
Objects with a definite shape: a building, a balloon, a house,
an octopus, four buildings, six balloons, four houses, and two
Units of measurement and words of classification: a gram, a pound,
a piece, a lump, an item, a bit, a family, a state, a language,
a phrase, and a word.
Some abstract words: a hindrance, a scheme, an idea, a plan, a
taboo, and a rest.
Mass Nouns are uncountable by a number. Mass nouns are quantified
by a word that indicates amount.
Materials, Food, Metals, and natural qualities: bread, cotton,
wood, lightness, adolescence
Names of liquids, gases, and substances made of many small
particles: cappuccino, oil, smoke, oxygen, rice, sugar, salt,
Names of Languages: English, Spanish, French, Latin, Japanese,
Most gerunds : looking, listening, swimming, running, anticipating
Remember that a number cannot be used to quantify a mass noun.
Incorrect: four woods, one rice
To measure or classify mass nouns use "of" after a measurement: a
foot of wood, a pound of rice, a bar of chocolate, a piece of music,
a bag of money
Noun and Pronoun Case
Case refers to how nouns and pronouns are used in relation to
the other words in a sentence. The three cases are subjective,
objective, and possessive.
Subjective Case is sometimes called the nominative case. A noun
or pronoun is in the subjective when it is used as the subject
of the sentence or as a predicate noun. A predicate noun follows
a form of the "be" verb, and it renames the subject of the
sentence. Here are some examples:
Mary hopes to finish her homework tonight.
Joe danced in the statewide competition.
She is a clown. (The word clown is a predicate noun)
Objective Case is a noun or pronoun that is used as a direct
object, an indirect object, or an object of the preposition.
My sister prepared the dinner.
His cat crawled under the table.
The teacher gave us the money back.
Possessive Case is a noun or pronoun that is used to show
ownership of an object. Here are two examples:
Tom washed Mary's bag.
Where did you find his pen?
A Chart of Pronoun Cases
Subjective Objective Possessive
I Me My, Mine
You You Your, Yours
He Him His
She Her Her, Hers
It It Its
We Us Our, Ours
They Them Their, Theirs
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