Nouns are naming words; they name a person, place, thing, quality, emotion, or idea. They can be a single word, a phrase, or a clause.
A noun phrase is a group of words without a verb.
Example: You must pass a test before becoming a driver.
A noun clause is a group of words with a subject and verb that does not express a complete thought by itself.
Example: Whoever made the mess in the kitchen has to clean it up.
Nouns take many forms:
Common—a noun that does not name a specific person, place, or thing: boy, store, river.
Proper—a noun that names a certain person, place, or thing: Tom Green, Home Depot, Nile River.
Compound—a noun made up of two or more words: mother-in-law, motorcycle, hot dog.
Collective—a singular noun that describes a group: herd, fleet, team.
Concrete—a noun that names something tangible: ball, table, tree.
Abstract—a noun that names a quality, emotion, or idea: honesty, love, surliness.
Countable—nouns that form plurals simply by adding -s or –es: dogs, houses, dishes.
Non-countable—nouns that have no plural: peace, childhood, poverty.
Gerund—a noun ending in –ing: reading, coaching, playing.
Nouns function in several ways:
Subject—who or what the sentence is about.
Example: My brother’s dog is a black and tan setter.
Direct Object—a noun that receives the action from the subject and verb.
Example: Clinton Anderson will run a clinic on natural horsemanship in April.
Indirect Object—a noun that receives the action from the verb indirectly; it answers the question “to or for whom or what.”
Example: The coach threw the team a surprise party.
Object of Preposition—a noun that follows a preposition and is linked to another noun or pronoun.
Example: The hospital announced it would hold a class for new parents.
Predicate Nominative—a noun that comes after a state of being verb and renames the subject.
Example: George Washington is known as the Father of Our Country.
Pronouns are naming words used in place of nouns. They can be singular or plural, and function in several ways.
Subjective—function as the subject or predicate nominative
I, you, he, she, it, we, they
Objective—function as the direct or indirect object, or the object of a preposition
me, you, him, her, it, us, them
my, mine, your(s), his, her(s), its, our(s), their(s)
Reflexive and Intensive Pronouns: myself, yourself, itself, himself, herself, oneself, ourselves, yourself, themselves.
Reflexive pronouns refer back to a person or thing.
Example: We finished the project ourselves without help from the teacher.
Intensive pronouns emphasize another noun or pronoun.
Example: The skateboarder hurt himself when he fell.
Demonstrative Pronouns point out certain nouns.
Example: These are my dogs.
Relative Pronouns “relate” to a noun and introduce an adjective clause.
Example: The Swensons, whose house is for sale, are moving to Kentucky.
Interrogative Pronouns ask the question who, whom, whose, which, or what.
Example: Who ran the fastest mile in the race today?
Extended and Indefinite Pronouns:
Extended Pronouns often begin a noun clause; the list includes whatever, whoever, whomever, and whosoever.
Example: The coach will give a trophy to whoever finishes the tournament.
Indefinite Pronouns are generalized; the list includes any, anyone, all, each, everybody, everyone, anybody, some, someone, none, no one, nobody, and both.
Example: Anyone can learn to swim.
Verbs denote the action or state of being of the subject, or link the subject to the action or state of being.
Action verbs show what the subject is doing.
Example: Bob and Marion climbed the steep hill.
State of being verbs expresses a condition of existence.
Example: Deanna Roberts is the best student at Lincoln High School.
Linking verbs connect the subject to a word following the verb that describes or renames the subject; they are most commonly one of the various forms of “to be” (am, is, are, was, were, being, been).
Example: John remained calm when the dog barked at him.
Helping verbs assist the main verb in telling about the subject’s action or state of being.
Example: Susan has gone to bed for the night.
Adjectives modify nouns; they describe, change, limit, transform, or qualify. They answer the questions Which one? What kind? and How many? They may be placed before or after a noun (or pronoun), or after a state of being verb or a linking verb.
The large, old, red barn was about to fall down.
These are the rules of the game.
Seventeen geese flew over the house last night.
The lumberjack, tired and sore, climbed into his truck to drive home.
My husband became angry when he saw the dent in the truck.
Adverbs modify verbs, adjectives, or other adverbs; they describe, change, limit, transform, or qualify. They answer the questions How? When? Where? and To what extent?. They are often formed by adding –ly to a word.
Cindy playfully danced around her father’s chair.
The exceedingly beautiful horse turned everyone’s head.
The students’ tests were very poorly done.
Period, exclamation, and question marks
Sentences end in a punctuation mark that helps the reader determine what kind of sentence it is.
A period is an end mark in a declarative sentence—a sentence making a statement.
Example: Supper will be ready in twenty minutes.
A question mark is an end mark in an interrogative sentence—a sentence asking a question.
Example: What time do I have to go to bed tonight?
An exclamation point follows an interjection—a sentence making an exclamation.
Example: Wow! Look how far he hit the ball!
Commas show a break in the action or create a pause in the sentence.
Use commas with coordinating conjunctions (and, but, nor, for, and yet) to separate the main clause(s).
Example: James wanted to go to the movies, but Denise wanted to stay home.
Use commas to separate two or more main clauses.
Example: Diane likes peas, Judy likes corn, and David likes carrots.
Use commas to separate the items in a series.
Example: You will need a tent, sleeping bag, flashlight, and compass for the camping trip.
Use commas to separate an introductory clause.
Example: While driving home from work, Jennifer found a lost dog.
Use commas to set off introductory compound adjectives.
Example: Tired and hungry, the dog still wagged his tail.
Use commas to set off expressions that interrupt the flow of the sentence.
Example: There was, after all, an opportunity to take a nap.
Use commas to set off a nonessential phrase or clause.
Example: Mrs. Anderson, who was my fifth grade teacher, has a beautiful flower garden.
Use commas to set off a direct address.
Example: Theodore, I told you to go wash your hands.
Semicolon and colon
The semicolon and colon are used to show a relationship to what was previously stated. They are stronger than a comma, but not as strong as a period.
Use a semicolon to make the relationship between two clauses absolute.
Example: Dancers who never miss class usually do well in the recital; however, students need to practice at home, too.
Use a semicolon to separate independent clauses.
Example: Don and Renee are going on a cruise in two weeks; they are sailing to the Caribbean.
Use a colon to introduce a list or statement.
Example: Bring the following to the beach: sunglasses, a towel, a bathing suit, and sun block.
Use a colon in formal address.
Example: Ladies and Gentlemen:
Use a colon after a clause that is followed by an explanatory clause.
Example: Tony smiled broadly as he walked in the door: He had just bowled a perfect game.
Parentheses enclose material that interrupts the flow of the sentence.
To pass the exam, you need to (1) pay attention in class, (2) take notes, and (3) study the textbook.
It is important (according to some people) to eat organic food.
Quotation marks indicate direct speech. They are also used to indicate titles of poems, essays, plays, and stories.
“No, I'm not going to the game today,” he said.
“I can't,” she said, “I have to work.”
Robert Frost wrote “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening.”