Nouns and Verbs

Nouns
Nouns answer questions like “What is it?” and “Who is it?”
Nouns name things, people, places, and ideas: purses, gymnasts, theater, and democracy.
In some languages, like Spanish and Italian, nouns have gender. English, on the other hand, sometimes shows gender by changing the form of certain words.
Feminine
Masculine
Feminine
Masculine
wife
husband
actress
actor
woman
man
widow
widower
mother
father
waitress
waiter
aunt
uncle
princess
prince
girl
boy
heroine
hero
Many nouns are not gender specific, meaning that the word could apply to men and to women. (Teacher, parent, doctor, friend, teenager, student, cook, cousin, engineer, and lawyer are examples.) If it is important for your audience to know the sex of your subject, you can clarify by writing, “The male cook made tortillas.”
What are common nouns?
Common nouns are nouns that are not proper nouns.
So what are proper nouns?
Proper nouns are capitalized. Why? Proper nouns are specific names or titles. For example, instead of saying, “The girl went on vacation,” I could say, “Mary traveled to Florida.” In English, proper nouns are used for names (of people, streets, countries, cities, bodies of water, etc.), titles of people, titles of books, months of the year, days of the week, holidays, and adjectives relating to nationality nouns.
What needs to be capitalized in the following sentences?
·         janice read the red tent on saturday.
·         In december, we celebrate christmas.
·         The boy likes chinese food and french music.
Then what is a pronoun?
Pronouns take the place of nouns. They often replace proper nouns to add variety to our writing. For example, if you are writing a story about your brother (John), you do not want to write “John did this. John did that. John knew better.” Instead, you can write, “John broke the vase, and then he hid in his room.” The noun that the pronoun replaces is called the antecedent. Find the antecedent in the following sentences:
* Mary is a nurse. She works at Mercy Hospital.
* Ben is a teacher; he works at MSU.
*The students played basketball, and then they ate pizza.
Some pronouns to remember: I, me, my, mine, you, your, yours, he, him, his, she, her, hers, it, its, we, us, our, ours, they, them, their, theirs, myself, yourself, himself, herself, itself, oneself, ourselves, yourselves, and themselves.
What is the difference between “he” and “him”—aside from the spelling?
He is the subject of the sentence, and “him” is used as a direct object.
What is a direct object?
Every sentence in English must have a subject and a verb. The subject is the person or thing doing the action. The direct object is the person or thing receiving the action.
·         Beth sings a song.
·         Jeremy made a cake.
·         Steve painted the house.
I’ve heard people talk about countable and uncountable nouns. What does that mean?
Countable nouns can be counted.
Examples include cat, store, idea, and pen.
I have two cats. We went to eight stores. Julie had several good ideas. Three pens disappeared from my desk.
Some nouns are not countable.
Examples include sugar, air, rice, tea, knowledge, anger, love, and fear. (These words typically do not have a plural form.)
Plural nouns
In English, we typically make nouns plural by adding –s or –es. How do you know when to add “s” and when to add “es”? If the word ends with two consonants, you typically need to add “es.”
Singular
Plural
hat
hats
ocean
oceans
game
games
dish
dishes
A noun ending in –y preceded by a consonant makes the plural with –ies.
Singular
Plural
a cry
cries
a fly
flies
a poppy
poppies
a baby
babies
Verbs
Irregular plural forms can confuse people. Some of these “rule breakers” are in the following list:
Singular
Plural
Singular
Plural
woman
women
man
men
child
children
tooth
teeth
foot
feet
person
people
leaf
leaves
half
halves
knife
knives
wife
wives
life
lives
loaf
loaves
potato
potatoes
cactus
cacti
nucleus
nuclei
syllabus
syllabi
analysis
analyses
diagnosis
diagnoses
oasis
oases
thesis
theses
crisis
crises
phenomenon
phenomena
datum
data
criterion
criteria
Some nouns are the same in the singular and plural forms.
(Sheep, fish, species, and aircraft are several examples.)
COMPOUND WORDS
Words like water and melon can be joined together to form a different word: watermelon.
bed + room = bedroom                        boy + friend = boyfriend
police + man = policeman                     hair + cut = haircut
You must learn these words and others like them. Having the computer check the spelling will not help because the words are spelled correctly even when they are not joined together.
VERBS are action words
When you are writing or speaking, verbs can make your story more interesting.
For example: The girl walked to the store.
The girl sauntered to the store.
In our conversations, we often use verbs like got, went, and saw.
But we can use different verbs to be more specific. Did you “go to the park,” or did you “jog at the park?”
Think of verbs to replace the verbs in the following sentences:
·         Jenny went to the movie.
·         Jeff got a new cell phone.
·         Tammy saw a lizard on the sidewalk.
Main verbs change form (tense) to indicate when something happened. If a word does not indicate tense, it is not a main verb. All main verbs have FIVE forms, with the exception of “BE,” which has eight.
Base Form talk, sing
Past Tense Yesterday I (talked, sang).
Past Participle In the past, I have (talked, sung).
Present Participle Right now I am (talking, singing).
-s Form Usually he/she/it (talks, sings).
What is a gerund?
Gerunds are the –ing form of verbs that are used as nouns. They usually name an action occurring before the action of the main verb. (The following verbs can only be followed by a gerund: admit, appreciate, avoid, complete, deny, discuss, dislike, enjoy, finish, imagine, keep, miss, postpone, practice, put off, quit, recall, recommend, resist, risk, suggest, and tolerate.)
Verb + Gerund = She admits wanting the best seat.
(The wanting occurs BEFORE the admission.)
What is an infinitive?
Infinitives include the word “to.” These words name an action that occurs AFTER the action of the main verb. Some verbs that are followed by an infinitive include: afford, agree, arrange, ask, beg, choose, claim, decide, deserve, expect, fail, hope, manage, need, offer, plan, pretend, promise, refuse, want, and wish.
Verb + Infinitive = She wants to win.
(The winning would happen AFTER the wanting.)
What are helping verbs? (They are the same thing as “auxiliary verbs.”)
Some helping verbs—mostly forms of be, have, and do—show time (will have been playing, has played) or are used for emphasis (does play). Forms of do are also used to ask questions (Do you play?).
be, am, is                                  being, been                   do, does, did
are, was, were                          have, has, had
Other helping verbs, called modals, signify the manner (or mode) of an action. Unlike the auxiliaries be, have, and do, one-word modals such as may, must, and will are almost never used alone as main verbs, nor do they change form to show person or number. Modals DO NOT add –s endings, and two modals are never used together.
One-word modals: can, could, may, might, will, would, shall, should, and must.
Where are the modals and main verbs in the following sentences?
·         Despite the weather, Jane will jog three miles.
·         Rachel would give the candy to you if you asked nicely.
·         You should write a letter to your grandparents.
These irregular verbs have to be memorized:
Present
Past
Past Participle
be
was, were
been
become
became
become
begin
began
begun
blow
blew
blown
break
broke
broken
bring
brought
brought
buy
bought
bought
catch
caught
caught
choose
chose
chosen
come
came
come
deal
dealt
dealt
do
did
done
drink
drank
drunk
drive
drove
driven
eat
ate
eaten
fall
fell
fallen
feed
fed
fed
fight
fought
fought
find
found
found
fly
flew
flown
forbid
forbade
forbidden
forget
forgot
forgotten
forgive
forgave
forgiven
freeze
froze
frozen
get
got
gotten
give
gave
given
go
went
gone
grow
grew
grown
have
had
had
hide
hid
hidden
For a complete list, visit http://owl.english.purdue.edu and type in “Irregular verbs”
in the search box.
Information for these handouts was compiled from the Online Writing Lab at Purdue, A Writer’s Resource, and Keys for Writers.