A noun (sometimes called a nominative) is that part of speech which names someone or something.
Nouns supply information to a sentence by answering the question who? or what?
When nouns name ordinary, everyday people or things, such as boy or car, they are called common nouns.
When nouns name a specific, one-of-a-kind person or thing, such as John or Toyota, they are called proper nouns and are capitalized.
Nouns function in many different ways inside a sentence. They are used as subjects, predicate nouns, direct objects, indirect objects, objective complements, objects of prepositions, and appositives. See Types of Sentences.
A pronoun is that part of speech which substitutes for a noun and takes the place of the noun. The noun that the pronoun replaces is called the antecedent of the pronoun. That noun should usually be used before using any pronoun that refers to it.
Pronouns are usually classified into the following types:
Interogative pronouns ask a question that can be answered with a noun; for example,"Who has my calculator?" or "What is that?" (But not "When are we going?" or "Why did she slap you?" because these can not be answered with a noun.)
Demonstrative pronouns point out something. This, That, These, and Those are examples of demonstrative pronouns. This (singular) and These (plural) refer to things near, while That (singular) and Those (plural) refer to things more distant.
Indefinite pronouns allow us to discuss people, objects, or situations even when we do not have all the facts. For example, "Someone sent me flowers." allows us to discuss a person and an event even though we do not know who that someone is. Indefinite pronouns are extremely useful, but should not be used when the specific information is known.
Personal pronouns usually take the place of the names of people and objects when we do know the person's or object's name. For example, I can refer to Uncle Arthur as he or him. I can refer to the Toyota Camry as it.
Personal pronouns have inflections, which is a fancy word for characteristics or properties. These inflections are number, case, person, and gender.
Number refers to how many, either singular or plural; for example, the personal pronoun he is singular, whereas they is plural.
Case refers to the usage of the pronoun in the sentence. If the pronoun is used as a subject or predicate noun, it is nominative case. If the pronoun is used as the direct object, indirect object, object of a preposition, or the subject of an infinitive, it is objective case. If the pronoun shows ownership, it is possessive case.
Person refers to the relationship between the individual to whom the pronoun refers and the speaker or writer of the sentence. If the speaker or writer refers to himself/herself, first person is being used. If the speaker or writer refers to the listener or reader, second person is being used. If the speaker or writer is referring to anyone else, third person is being used.
Gender refers to the sex of the antecedent. Masculine, feminine, neuter, and common are the gender inflections. Masculine and feminine are self-explanatory. Neuter pronouns refer to things without gender and to things whose gender is not known; for example, "I watched the dog as it caught the rabbit." (I don't know the gender of the dog.)
Common gender pronouns refer to either males or females or to a group with both genders present; for example, "They were playing kick ball" could refer to all boys, all girls, or a coed game.
base form: This is the fundamental form used with the pronoun "I"; for example, "I walk to school."
present participle: This form is always created by adding "ing" to the base form; for example, "walking."
past: This form is different for regular and irregular verbs. Regular verbs form the past form by adding "ed" to the base form. Irregular verbs form the past by changing the spelling of the base form.
past participle: This form is different for regular and irregular verbs. Regular verbs form the past participle form by adding "ed" to the base form. Irregular verbs form the past participle by changing the spelling of the base form.
Action Verbs are simply verbs that indicate action. Not all action can be physically observed. "John thought about his future" contains the action verb "thought"; clearly, we cannot physically see the thinking process. An action verb expresses that something happens, observable or not. Action verbs can also be used to show ownership; for example, "I have a headache" may not show observable action, but contains the action verb "have." Action verbs can be either transitive or intransitive. They can be either active voice or passive voice.
Linking Verbs do not show action, but show a state of being. As a part of speech, linking verbs do not actually exist. Though many text books give a list of linking verbs, a verb cannot be considered a linking verb unless it is actually linking a subject complement to the subject of the sentence. Rather than memorize a list of linking verbs (which may not be linking in a given sentence), it is much better to understand the structure of sentences that use linking verbs. Compare these two sentences: "Mary looked at the photograph" and "Mary looked lovely." The word "photograph" does not refer to Mary in the first sentence; "looked" is not being used as a linking verb. The word "lovely" does refer to Mary in the second sentence; "looked" is being used as a linking verb. Not all verbs that show a state of being are used as linking verbs. Consider this sentence: Jane is here. The state-of-being verb "is" does not link "Jane" and "here"; "here" does not rename or describe "Jane." Perhaps we should say that all verbs are either action verbs or state-of-being verbs and that linking verbs are one type of state-of-being verbs; however, most text books do not present this information in this way.
Transitive Verbs are action verbs that have a direct object. "Trans" means "across." Transitive verbs carry action performed by the subject "across" the verb to the direct object.
Intransitive Verbs are either action verbs that do not have a direct object, or they are linking verbs (since linking verbs have a subject complement, but no direct object).
A action verb is said to be in the active voice only when the subject is performing the action.
A action verb is said to be in the passive voice when the subject is being acted upon. Passive voice verb phrases always use a form of the verb "be" + the past participle form of the verb. Compare these two sentences: "John read the book" and "The book was read by John." In the first sentence, the subject "John" is performing the action of reading; the verb is in the active voice. In the second sentence, the subject "book" is not performing any action; it is receiving the action. The book is not reading; the book is being read. The verb is in the passive voice. Use active voice when possible; active voice creates stronger mental images.
REVIEW & CONCLUSIONS:
All transitive verbs are in the active voice (John mailed the letter), but not all active voice verbs are transitive (John sings well).
All linking verbs are intransitive (Jane is intelligent), but not all intransitive verbs are linking verbs (Jane sings well, too).
All passive voice verbs are intransitive (Walter was bitten by a snake), but not all intransitive verbs are in the passive voice (Walter sings poorly).
Verb have tenses, structures that show the timing of the action or state of being expressed by the verb. The following are in active voice, as the subect is performing the action.
Simple Present: "John walks to school...."
Simple Past: "John walked to school...."
Simple Future: "John will walk to school...."
Perfect Tenses: "have" + the past participle form of the verb.
Present Perfect: "John has walked to school...."
Past Perfect: "John had walked to school...."
Future: "John will have walked to school...."
Progressive Tenses: "be" + the present participle form of the verb.
Present Progressive: "John is walking to school...."
Past Progressive: "John was walking to school...."
Future Progressive: "John will be walking to school...."
Perfect Progressive Tenses: "have" + "been" + the present participle form of the verb.
Present Perfect Progressive: "John has been walking to school...."
Past Perfect Progressive: "John had been walking to school...."
Future Perfect Progressive: "John will have been walking to school...."
♦ Check Your Understanding: ♦
Begin by determining whether the verbs in the following sentences are action verbs or linking verbs.
If a verb is an action verb, determine if it is transitive or intransitive.
If a verb is an action verb, determine if it is active voice or passive voice.
If a verb is a linking verb, indicated that it is intransitive.
Adjectives are modifiers, that is they alter or clarify the meaning of a noun. To determine whether a part of speech is used as an adjective, we must first consider the type of information the word provides to the sentence. Adjectives provide four basic types of information; that is to say, they answer four fundamental questions:
Which one? "I prefer the green car." "Green" indicates which one of the cars we prefer.
What kind? "John is the funniest guy in school." "Funniest" indicates what kind of a guy John is.
How many? "Give me six of the chocolate donuts." "Six" indicates how many donuts we want.
How much? "I spilled a little milk on the couch." "Little" indicates how much milk we spilled.
Adjectives usually precede the nouns they modify. An important exception to this rule is in a sentence containing a predicate adjective; in this case, the adjective comes after the linking verb and modifies the subject.
Adverbs are also modifiers, but they alter or clarify the meaning of a verb, an adjective, or another adverb.
Adverb modifying a verb: "We walked slowly." "Slowly" modifies the verb "walked."
Adverb modifying an adjective: "The kitten had incredibly soft fur." "Incredibly" modifies the adjective "soft."
Adverb modifying another adverb: "We walked very slowly." "Very" modifies the adverb "slowly."
To determine whether a part of speech is used as an adverb, we must first consider the type of information the word provides to the sentence. Adverbs provide six basic types of information; that is to say, they answer six fundamental questions:
When? "She arrived late." "Late" indicates when she arrived.
Where? "John, sit here." "Here" indicates where John is to sit.
Why? "Because Jane is the youngest, she can go first." "Because Jane is the youngest" indicates why Jane gets to go first. (Note: why is a question usually answered by an adverb clause.)
How? "John quietly peeked in the window." "Quietly" indicates how John peeked in the window.
On or under what condition? "If you need money for college, try to get a federal grant." "If you need money for college" indicates on or under what condition you should try to get a federal grant. (Note: on or under what condition is a question usually answered by an adverb clause.)
To what extent or degree? "The cold wind made football practice extremely uncomforatable." "Extremely" indicates to what extent or degree practice was uncomfortable.
Prepositions, somewhat like conjunctions, connect or join words, but unlike conjunctions, prepositions always combine with a noun or pronoun (called the "object of the preposition") to form a prepositional phrase, which is then used as an adjective or as an adverb to modify another word.
John made a peanut butter sandwich for his sister.
The preposition "for" connects the object of the preposition "sister" to the verb "made," telling "why" John made the sandwich.
Interjections show emotion and may appear alone or as part of a sentence; however, interjections are not grammatically related to the sentence in which they appear. They are sometimes referred to as absolutes. As a rule, interjections showing strong emotion are written as a separate sentence; they are punctuated with an exclamation point. Interjections showing mild emotion are often written as part of a sentence, but separated from the sentence with a comma.