Parts of Speech. Nouns, Pronouns, and Verbs

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Nouns, Pronouns, and Verbs

A noun is a word that names a person, place, a thing, or an idea.

Personwoman, man, Juanita Brown, great grandfather

Placeplanet, Texas, farm, high school

Thing dolphin, parrot, ivy, bookmark

Idea success, affection, freedom, courage

A concrete noun names an object that occupies space or can be recognized by any of the senses. Concrete nouns are things you can see, hear, taste, touch, smell, or feel.

Thorn stars thunder gas milk

child drum velvet headache dove

An abstract noun names an idea, a quality, or a characteristic.

Excitement honesty innocence happiness harmony

truth bravery softness fear peace

Most nouns can take either a singular or a plural form, depending upon whether they name one person, place, thing, or idea or more than one.

SINGULAR desk, bench, sky, wolf, man

PLURAL desks, benches, skies, wolves, men

The possessive form of a noun can show possession, ownership, or the relationship between two nouns.


the girl's coatThe girls' coats

a business's debts those business' debts

a prince's crown the princes' crowns

a man's voiceThe men's voices

A proper noun is the name of a particular person, place, thing, or idea.

A common noun is the general-not the particular-name of a person, place, thing, or idea.

Proper nouns are capitalized, whereas common nouns are not usually capitalized

A collective noun names a group.

Armycommittee (The) public

team choir (a) pride (of lions)

You can consider collective nouns either singular or plural, depending upon the meaning you wish to convey. If a collective noun refers to a group as a whole, it is considered singular. If a collective noun refers to the individual members of a group, it is considered plural. Note the differences in meaning in the following examples:

SINGULAR The committee wants our attention

PLURAL The committee have gone their separate ways.

SINGULAR The class likes to read plays.

PLURAL The class take their seats.

A pronoun is a word that takes the place of a noun, a group of words acting as a noun, or another pronoun. The word or group of words that a pronoun refers to is called its antecedent.

A personal pronoun refers to a specific person or thing by indicating the person speaking 9 the first person), the person being spoken to (the second person), or any other person or thing being spoken about (the third person).

Personal Pronouns

Singular Plural




I, me


he, him

she, her

itwe, us


they, them

FIRST PERSONThomas went with me to the game. [Me refers to the person speaking.]

SECOND PERSONAsk Gina to show you the article. [You refers to the person being addressed.]

THIRD PERSONHe gave them a poor excuse. [He and them refer to the persons being discussed.]

Third-person singular pronouns express genders. He and him are masculine; she and her are feminine; it is neuter (neither masculine nor feminine).

The possessive pronouns in the following chart take the place of the possessive forms of nouns.

Possessive Pronouns





your, yours


her, hers

itsour, ours

your, yours

their, theirs

The first form of each pronoun in the preceding chart can be used before a noun. The second form is used alone, like a noun.

USED BEFORE A NOUNThis is her radio.

Its battery is new.

USED ALONThis radio is hers.

A demonstrative pronoun points out specific persons, places, things, or ideas.

Demonstrative Pronouns


PLURALthese those

A demonstrative pronoun can come before or after its antecedent. An antecedent may also be understood.

BEFORE ANTECEDENT This is the hat I want.

These are the potatoes left over from dinner.

AFTER ANTECEDENT My old shoes are nicer than those.

UNDERSTOOD ANTECEDENT Show me that (thing)again.

An interrogative pronoun is used to form questions.

Who? Whom? Whose? What? Which?

Who are those strangers?

Whom should I invite?

Whose did you borrow?

What did you say?

Which of these personal computers shall I buy?

The intensive forms of the interrogative pronouns are whoever, whosoever, whomever, whichever, and whatever.

Whoever told you that?Whatever did you say?

A relative pronoun is used to begin a special subject-verb word group called a subordinate clause.

Whowhose whomever that what

whom whoever which whichever whatever

The pilot who landed the plane is my cousin. [The relative pronoun who begins the subordinate clause who landed the plane.]

The plane, which landed late, carried our friends. [The relative pronoun which begins the subordinate clause which landed late.]

An indefinite pronoun refers to persons, places, or things in a more general way than a noun does.

Jacob seems to know everyone at school. [The indefinite pronoun everyone refers to people in general.]

I'm going to bake something special. [The indefinite pronoun something does not indicate to what it specifically refers.]

We served the bread, not knowing some was stale. [The indefinite pronoun some has the specific antecedent bread.]

Some Indefinite Pronouns


















no onenothing









A verb is a word that expresses action or a state of being and is necessary to make a statement.

Business people work.

The curtain closed too soon.

Artists are creative.

A verb has the ability to express time-present, past, and future-by means of tense.

PRESENT TENSE We hear a car outside.

PAST TENSE We heard a car outside.

FUTURE TENSE We will hear a car outside.

An action verb tells what someone or something does.

Action verbs can express either physical or mental action.

PHYSICAL ACTION The huge linemen lead the charge through the defense.

MENTAL ACTION The coaches plan the team's strategy before each game.

A transitive verb is an action verb that is followed by a word or words that answer the question what? Or whom?

Chipmunks climb small trees to get at berries and nuts. [The action verb climb is followed by the noun trees, which answers the question climb what?]

An intransitive verb is an action verb that is not followed by a word that answers the question what? or whom?

Chipmunks also climb much of the time simply to escape from their enemies. [The action verb is followed by words that tell when and why.]

To decide if a verb in a sentence is transitive or intransitive, ask what? or whom? after the verb. If the answer is given in the sentence, the verb is transitive. If the answer is not given in the sentence, the verb is intransitive.

Many action verbs can be either transitive or intransitive, depending on how they are used ina sentence.

TRANSITIVE Jill usually ate her sandwich in the cafeteria.[Sandwich tells what Jill ate.]

INTRANSITIVE Jill ate right before class today. [Right before class today tells when Jill ate.]

Some verbs have only transitive or intransitive uses. A dictionary will indicate how a verb may be used.

A linking verb links, or joins, the subject of a sentence (often a noun or pronoun)with a word or expression that identifies or describes the subject. A linking verb does not show action.

The most commonly used linking verb is be in all its forms-am, is, are, was, were, will be, has been, was being.

I am a musician.

That singer is an artist.

The days were hot.

Those are mosquitoes.

Several verbs other than the forms of be can also act as linking verbs.

Other Linking Verbs









The cake tastes good.

He grew taller over the summer

She felt good about the election results.

He seems better today.