2011-10-31

Stuck on Structure -
The Eight Parts of Speech – Part One

When last we talked I mentioned that I was going to go back to the basics and what’s more basic than the eight parts of speech? These “eight parts of speech” are the basic types of words that English has and are: nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, pronouns, conjunctions, prepositions and interjections.

Right about now you’re probably saying to yourself, “Is she crazy? I learned all this stuff in grade school.” I’m sure you can identify bookcase as a noun, and as a conjunction and run as a verb, but if you know how these words function you’ll have a better understanding of when it’s appropriate to use it them a sentence.

We’ll start with the noun. As I’m sure you already know, a noun is basically a person, place or thing. But nouns can have different functions in a sentence. Some nouns function as subjects while others function as objects or complements. For example, a noun like "Helen" might function in the following ways:

Subject - Helen loves long walks on the beach.
Object of a Preposition - He gave the plane tickets to Helen.
Subject complement - The person to ask is Helen.

Types of Nouns:

Proper nouns are the names of specific things, people, or places, and usually begin with a capital letter. Examples: Niagara Falls, Johnny Depp, the Superbowl

Common nouns are general names such as person, house, or book.

Concrete nouns refer to things which you can sense such as clock and telephone.

Abstract nouns refer to ideas or qualities such as truth and justice.

Count nouns come in singular (dollar, piece, orange) or plural (dollars, pieces, oranges) and refer to anything which can be counted.

Mass nouns refer to items that cannot be counted such as time, money, and justice.

Collective nouns refer to groups of people or things such as staff, gang, and bunch.

Possessive nouns express ownership of something, usually of the following noun. When a singular noun is made possessive, it’s usually done by adding an apostrophe and an s. For example: It was the cat’s toy.
If the noun is plural, however, it usually becomes so by adding the apostrophe after the s ending: It was the cats’ territory.

And just to leave you completely confused, if the noun is plural but does not end in s, it becomes possessive by adding the apostrophe s: He belonged to the men’s club.

1 comment:

Southpaw said...

I kid you not I was just having a discussion with a couple of friends about Jones, Jones' and Joneses.

And who doesn't love School House Rock!