Noun is a part of speech that tells us what someone or something is called.
For example, a noun can be the name of person (Mary); a job title (engineer); the name of the thing (table); the name of a place (London); the name of the quality (brave); or the name of an action (shopping). Nouns are the names we give to people, things, places etc. in order to identify them.
All nouns can be divided into two classes. They may be either proper nouns or common nouns.
Proper nouns are used for a particular person, place, thing or even idea which is unique. It is generally written with a capital letter. Articles are not normally used in front of proper nouns
( *an India, a London). Proper nouns may include:
-personal names: Sonya, Barney
-forms of address: Mum, Dad, Uncle Tommy
-geographical names: Europe, London, United States of America
-place names: Madison Avenue, Prince Street
-months, days of the week, festivals: January, Monday, Christmas
-and sometimes seasons: Spring
Common nouns are those nouns which do not refer to the name of a particular person, place or thing. They refer to everything else. Within the group we have two sub-groups:
concrete nouns and abstract nouns.
Concrete nouns have their physical appearance and they can be divided like this:
-regular common nouns which are used as names for all live creatures and animate things ( a/the desk, a/the window, a/the woman, a/the horse etc)
-collective nouns which represent a group of people, animals or objects considered as a single unit (army, police, cattle, flock, leaves). These nouns usually take singular verbs- The committee has decided to make a new plan. They can be also used in plural since they are countable nouns.
-material nouns which represent substance or material (wood, milk, ice, air)
Abstract noun is an idea that we can’t touch, see or sense in any other way. It has no physical appearance and it exists in our minds only- an idea, a thought, a light, a hope, a situation, a beauty.
Countable and uncountable (or noncountable) nouns
The difference between countable and uncountable is very important in English language because distinguishing them is the only way a person can understand when to use singular or plural form and when to use indefinite (a/an) definite (the) or zero article (ᴓ).
Countable nouns are those ones that you can count (one book, two girls, three parrots, four boys). A countable noun can be made plural by adding of –s ( one girl, two girls)
Countable nouns are usually concrete noun: common and collective nouns.
If a noun is countable:
-we can use indefinite article a/an in front of it: a book, an apple
-it has its plural form (books, apples) and can be used with question How many? (How many apples? –Four apples.)
-we can use numbers with them: one book, two books.
Uncountable nouns are also called mass or noncountable nouns. English language is full of uncountable nouns. These are nouns that you cannot count nor make their plural ( sugar (as mass) *two sugars, water, ice, air, bread, kindness, coal, courage) Material nouns and some abstract nouns are in this group of uncountable nouns.
If a noun is uncountable:
-we do not normally use indefinite article a/an in front of it: Sugar is expensive.
-it does not normally have a plural and it can be used in the question How much? (How much milk/oil? –A lot of milk/ A little oil.)
-we cannot normally use a numbers in front of them.
Form of any noun may indicate:
-gender (special endings mark nouns ad feminine, masculine or neuter)
-case (special endings mark nouns according to their function in the sentence- subject, object etc)
- number (special endings mark singular or plural nouns)
In English language all nouns have natural gender. That means that:
-nouns which refer to male are in masculine gender (boy, uncle, father, brother etc) These nouns can be substituted by pronoun HE.
-nouns which refer to female are in feminine gender (sister, mother, aunt, girl etc) The substitute for these nouns is a pronoun SHE.
- nouns which refer to thing and animals (if an animal is a pet then it is referred to by HE or SHE because most of the owner treat their pets as humans) are neuter gender (book, horse, dog, chair). IT is a pronoun which is used instead of these nouns if necessary.
In English language there is also a common gender. This gender embraces those nouns that can be either in masculine or in feminine gender- baby, child, teenager, relative, cousin, parent, friend, patient, passenger, visitor etc
The most common way of making feminine nouns out of masculine nouns is by adding suffix –ess ( actor- actress, prince- princess, host-hostess, waiter-waitress)
Number (singular and plural)
Only countable nouns have a plural form.
1.Regular plural is formed
-by adding suffix –s after most nouns (cat- cats, tub- tubs, book- books). In this case the ending –s is pronounced as / s /.
-by adding suffix –es after nouns ending in –o, -s, -x, -ch, -sh, and y (potato- potatoes, class- classes, box- boxes, watch- watches, bush- bushes, country – countries). As you could notice there is spelling change in case with –y because of the rule: consonant + -y = ies unless it is a proper noun- in that case we add just –s (Fry- Frys, Kennedy- the Kennedys) The ending –es is pronounces / z / like in potatoes and / iz / like in houses, classes, boxes.
2. We have also irregular spelling when it comes to forming plural of these thirteen nous ending in –f :
wife- wives, knife-knives, loaf-loaves, leaf-leaves, thief-thieves, calf-calves, elf-elves, half-halves, life-lives, self-selves, sheaf-sheaves, shelf-shelves, wolf-wolves.
Other nouns ending in –f have regular spelling- roof- roofs, belief- belief etc.
3. We have also irregular spelling with changing internal vowels like in nouns foot- feet, man-men, woman-women, mouse-mice, louse-lice, goose-geese, tooth-teeth.
4. Also there are some irregular plurals that you cannot find grammatical explanation for yet just learn it by heart like in these cases:
child- children, ox-oxen, fish- fish, information-information.
Cases of nouns
There are three cases of nouns in English language:
Noun in nominative (Dog eats.) has usually subject function in the sentence while a noun in accusative ( I walked my dog.) performs the function of object in the sentence but still remains in the same form- Dog (Nom.)= dog (Acc.)
The only case a noun’s form is different than its basic form is genitive case and in English grammar is called possessive genitive or the possessive form.
These are five forms of genitive:
-add apostrophe ( ‘ ) and suffix -s to singular personal nouns: child + ‘s =child’s
-add ‘s to singular personal nouns ending in –s: actress + ‘s = actress’s
-add ‘s to the plural of irregular personal nouns: children + ‘s = children’s
-add just ‘ to the plural of personal nouns ending in –s: girls + ‘ = girls’
-add ‘s to some names ending in –s: James + ‘s= James’s but in some other cases like St Thomas you can either add –s or disregard it. In both cases it is pronounced / iz /.
The simplest rule to remember is: add ‘s to any personal noun unless it is in the form of a plural ending in –s in which case you just add an apostrophe ( ‘ ).
Genitive is used:
-for expressing belonging (something to someone)
Robert’s book, lion’s claw
-for measures, time or value
a day’s journey, a mile’s distance, a pound’s worth
-in some expressions likeat greengrocer’s, at St. Paul’s, at my aunt’s
- Verbs tenses
- Present Tenses
- Present Simple Tense
- Present Continous Tense
- Present Perfect Tense
- Present Perfect Continuous Tense
- Past Tenses
- Past Simple Tense
- Past Continuous (Progressive) Tense
- Past Perfect Tense
- Future Tenses
- The Simple Future Tense
- Future Continuous Tense
- Future Perfect Tense
- Future Perfect Continous Tense
- Stative and dynamic verbs
- Transitive and intransitive verbs
- Reflexive verbs
- Full verbs and auxiliary verbs
- Modal verbs
- Indirect speech