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Parts of Speech - Nouns

  • Parts of speech is a term given to the placing of words into different categories based on their functions in a sentence to make language easier
  • In English, words are classified according to their function into eight groups otherwise known as Parts of Speech
  • These groups are:
    • Noun,
    • Pronoun,
    • Verb,
    • Adverb,
    • Adjective,
    • Preposition,
    • Conjunction,
    • Interjection
The Noun
  • A noun denotes the name given to any person, animal, place, thing, idea, quality, or action. For example, Charles, elephant, Lagos, bicycle, beauty, effort, etc.
Kinds of Nouns
  • Nouns are classified into groups, namely:
    • Proper Noun: This is a particular name of person, place or thing, and they usually begin with a capital letter wherever they appear in a sentence. For example, Chukwudi, John, Nigeria, United Kingdom, etc. Proper nouns also include names of people, countries, days and months of the year, and festivals.
    • Common Noun: This is the name given to things of the same kind. They are not begun in capital letters unless they begin a sentence. For example, Market, woman, man, book, country, etc.
    • Abstract Noun: This denotes quality, condition, action, or name of different subjects or discipline; things that can neither be seen or touched. For example, intelligence, honesty, wisdom, decision, slavery, poverty, sickness, etc.
    • Collective Noun: This is the name given to a group of the same kind, for example, army of soldiers, gang or robbers, crowd of spectators, host of angels, troupe of dancers, etc.
    • Material Noun: This denotes indefinite mass of matter. It is usually preceded by the definite article ‘the’ or an expression of quality. For example, bread, meat, garret, oil, grass, etc.
Noun Forming
  • A noun is either in the singular or plural number
  • The singular number shows one while the plural number shows more than one.
  • For example:
    • Singular: a boy, a book, a box, a child, etc.
    • Plural: two boys, four books, three boxes, ten children, etc.
  • The plural number is formed in different ways:
    • By adding ‘s’ as in:
      • bird – birds,
      • book – books,
      • girl – girls,
      • spoon – spoons,
      • roof – roofs, etc.
    • By adding ‘es’ as in:
      • bench – benches,
      • dress – dresses,
      • bunch – bunches,
      • church – churches, etc.
    • By changing ‘y’ at the end into ‘ies’ as in:
      • army – armies,
      • lady – ladies,
      • party – parties,
      • fly – flies, etc.
    • By adding ‘s’ only to the ‘y’ that comes after a vowel, as in:
      • boy – boys,
      • donkey – donkeys,
      • play – plays, etc.
    • By changing ‘f’ or ‘fe’ at the end into ‘ves’ as in:
      • calf – calves,
      • thief – thieves,
      • leaf – leaves,
      • wolf – wolves, etc.
    • By adding ‘s’ only to ‘f’ or ‘fe’ at the end, as in:
      • chief – chiefs,
      • gulf – gulfs,
      • roof – roofs, etc.
    • By changing in different ways, as in:
      • child – children,
      • mouse – mice,
      • ox – oxen,
      • tooth – teeth,
      • woman – women, etc.
    • By the singular not changing at all in the plural:
      • public – public,
      • dozen – dozen,
      • sheep – sheep,
      • equipment – equipment,
      • information – information, etc.
    • By having a plural form which is singular in use:
      • economics,
      • news,
      • politics,
      • gymnastics,
      • statistics,
      • alms, etc.
    • By having plural forms in compound nouns:
      • brother-in-law — brothers-in-law
      • bye-law — bye-laws
      • guest-of-honor — guests of honor, etc
Countable and Uncountable Nouns
  • Countable Nouns: This, as the name implies, denotes nouns that stand as objects which can be counted.
    • Such include: pen, paper, book, desk, key, chair, etc.
    • They appear in singular and plural form. For example, book – books, fan – fans, etc
    • They could take determiners such as: a, an, another, each, every, neither, either, etc.
  • Uncountable Nouns: Uncountable nouns are nouns that cannot be found as independent units and so cannot be counted. For example: salt, flour, water, powder, rice, garri, etc
    • Because uncountable nouns cannot be counted, they have no plurals, rather they take determiners such as: a lot of, much, little, etc.
    • When units of measurements are used, the nouns which stands for the unit of measurement takes a singular or plural number. For example, a bag of salt – bags of salt, a packet of sugar – packets of sugar
Quantifiers + Uncountable Nouns
  • Quantifiers are those words we use in sentences to measure or show quantity of things, usually used for uncountable nouns. For example, much, more, less, great deal of, a large quantity of, a little, etc.
Demonstratives + Singular and Plural Words
  • Demonstratives are the words we use in pointing out something in sentences. They are:
    • Singular Demonstratives: this, that
    • Plural Demonstratives: these, those
  • ‘This’ and ‘these’ are used in pointing things that are near whereas ‘that’ and ‘those’ are used for pointing at things that are far
  • ‘Any’ is used for countable and uncountable nouns. It is mostly used in the negative form and question. For example,
    • Is there any water for drinking?
    • Do you know any one I can get it from?
    • Has he any good thing to offer?
  • ‘Every’, ‘each’, and ‘another’ are quantifiers for singular countable nouns. For example:
    • Each boy has a responsibility
    • Collins gave everything he has
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