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  English Grammar: Parts of Speech Nouns

Video: Gender of Nouns

Words are divided into classes, according to the different purposes which they answer in speech. There are eight classes of words, or, as they are commonly called, PARTS of SPEECH. These are-

1. Noun.
2. Adjective, to which the Articles belong.
3. Pronoun.
4. Verb.
5. Adverb.
6. Preposition.
7. Conjunction.
8. Interjection. 

The Noun.

A NOUN is a word which is the name of something. There are two kinds of nouns: Proper Nouns and Common Nouns.

PROPER NOUNS are such as denote only one person or thing of a kind : Adam, Noah, Alexander, William the Conqueror; Thames, Avon; Victory, City of Glasgow (names of ships) ; Excalibur (name of the fabulous sword of King Arthur).

Note. 1. The same proper name may be given to a number of individuals. Thus there are many Johns, "Williams, &c.; several rivers called Avon; and more than one town named Boston. Still these names are strictly Proper Nouns, since they have been in each case separately given, and do not belong to all objects of the same kind.

Note. 2. Proper Names are sometimes used to denote a class or group: as, the Caesars; the family of the Scipios; the Howards : meaning all those bearing the same proper name. Or the name of a well-known individual may be applied to others possessing similar features: as, the modern Solon; the infant Saphos". In such cases the Proper Name is used as a Common one. Many Common Nouns have in this way been formed from Proper Nouns: epicure from Epicure or Epicurus, the philosopher; Academy, from a gymnasium at Athens so named.

COMMON NOUNS: -All nouns which are not Proper are Common. They denote the same kind of thing under whatever circumstances it may be found: man, city, river, ship; air, water, gold, iron; beauty, truth, time, space.

Three kinds of Common Nouns require to be specially noted: Collective Nouns or Nouns of Multitude, Abstract Nouns, and Names of Materials.

(1) Collective Nouns -A Collective Noun denotes a number of persons or things forming one body: a crowd of persons ; a group of states or stars; a committee, a jury, a parliament; Her Majesty's Government; the Ministry.

Note. 1. Collective Nouns are sometimes used so as to refer to the individuals composing the group rather than to the group itself. Thus we say, the crowd (that is, (the people in the crowd) were noisy , the jury (that is, the men. composing the jury) were not agreed.

Note. 2. Collective Nouns are Neuter, although they denote an aggregate of persons male or female: army, mob.

(2) Abstract Nouns .-Abstract Nouns are the names not of objects but of ideas.

The following kinds of Abstract Nouns may be enumerated -
1. Names of qualities: whiteness, blackness, 'bitterness, 'height, depth, 'breadth, length, wisdom, foolishness, stupidity.
2. Names of states or conditions of things: life, death, time, space, eternity, sovereignty, reign, regency,  friendship, leadership, orphancy, widowhood, minority.
3. Names of passions and powers of the mind: love, jealousy, hatred, memory, imagination.
4. Names of actions or processes: reading, writing, multiplication, justification, punishment, coronation, abdication.
5. Names of arts and sciences: poetry, sculpture, astronomy, chemistry, ecology.

Note. The word abstract is derived from the Latin word "abstractus" (abstraho), drawn off; implying that a quality or state is thought of by itself, and detached from an object. Thus when we speak of the size of a globe, attention is directed to its size only, without regard to the colour, weight, or material of the globe.

(3) Names of Materials : as, gold, silver, wood, stone.

Nouns have Gender, Number and Case.

Next...Gender

  Nouns-gender Nouns-number Nouns-gender-sex Index
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