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Know Your Noun From Your Verb – A Basic Grammar Lesson

Updated on June 10, 2011

It's something that we learnt at school and in most cases promptly forgot, unless we went on to study English in more depth, or learn a modern foreign language, but English grammar plays a part in our lives everyday. We do it naturally, but we all know how to conjugate verbs, and when to substitute a noun for a pronoun, even though we might not know the terms. If you're reading this shaking your head, convinced that you don't know what this is talking about, this is a brief refresher of basic grammar.

A noun is a naming word. It's the title of any item you can think of, e.g. screen, laptop, table, salt. Every sentence needs a noun in one way or another, and can include more.

A proper noun is a real name, e.g. Africa, Louise, Coronation Street.

A pronoun replaces a noun in a sentence. You wouldn't say - “I got home and took off my shoes. I cleaned my shoes and then put my shoes on the bottom stair so the next morning I could access my shoes quickly.” You would replace shoes with the word them. Other nouns can be replaced with I, you, he, she, it, they or them, depending on the context.

A verb is a doing word. Any word that you put “to” in front of is a noun, e.g. to run, to cry, to speak, to dedicate. These are conjugated depending on who it is doing the action, but in practice they remain the same in most cases, with the only difference is with the third person singular, where the verb gets an -s added to it – he runs, she speaks, etc.

An adverb is a describing word which describes a verb. You do something in a way which usually ends in -ly. So you run quickly, cry softly, speak confidently.

Whilst an adjective is a describing word to describe a noun. The pretty flowers, the sturdy table, the cleaned shoes.

Lastly, a preposition is a linking word. It describes what the noun is doing in relation to the verb, e.g. at, on, with, against.

A sentence needs a minimum of a subject and a predicate, so a noun and a verb – e.g. I am running. My mother cries. Whereas here are a couple of examples of non sentences: Cries softly – no subject (noun). My favourite shoes – no verb.

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    • sunitibahl9 profile image

      SBHK 5 years ago from India

      good one

    • profile image

      GADEL 5 years ago

      Very nice. Keep educating people about the basics of the language.

    • justmesuzanne profile image

      justmesuzanne 5 years ago from Texas

      Nice, basic review! Voted up and useful! :)

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