A noun is the name of a person, animal, place, thing, or idea. A pronoun is a word that can take the place of a noun or substitute for the noun.
Noun examples: ball, boy, car, dog, fox, girl, house, joke, man, person, toy, woman, truth, thought
Pronoun examples: I, you, he, she, it, we, they, me, him, her, myself, himself, herself, itself, this, that, these, those, each, few, many, who, whoever, whose, someone, everybody, etc.
Nouns can be classified as common nouns or proper nouns. A proper noun is the name of a specific person, place, or thing and is always capitalized. Names of people, countries and languages are considered to be proper nouns. Examples: John, Julie, China, the United States, the Statue of Liberty, the Golden Gate Bridge, the Pacific Ocean, the Chinese language, the English language.
Nouns can be countable or uncountable. If countable, the plural is typically formed by adding ‘s’ or ‘es’. If uncountable, usually the singular form is used. Uncountable nouns cannot use “a/an” alone because these determiners means “one”. In other words, we cannot say “a snow” but we can say “a little snow”.
- Car, cars, two cars, five boys, ten houses (countable)
- Snow, rain, sleet, hail, mud, advice (uncountable)
Examples of uncountable nouns with determiners (specifiers or measure words):
- Some snow, a little snow, a lot of snow, no snow, so much snow, flakes of snow
- Some rain, a little rain, a lot of rain, no rain, so much rain, drops of rain
- Some advice, any advice, a little advice, a piece of advice
Some nouns are called collective nouns because they represent a group of some type. Collective nouns may be singular or plural. If singular, it is subjective whether it takes a singular or plural verb. Which you use depends on whether the speaker is using it as a single unit or as a collection of many individual parts.
- Team, family, flock, committee
- The team is tired (single unit).
- The team are tired (individual members).
Many singular nouns need a determiner in front of them. Determiners are adjectives that tell if the noun is specific or nonspecific. A determiner indicates how many, whose, which one, or some other information about the noun that follows it.
- We cannot say “Ball is round.” We must say a ball, the ball, that ball, any ball, which ball, his ball, etc. There must be some measure word or specifier word in front of the noun to describe it.
- Plural nouns do not require determiners like singular nouns do but can be used with determiners as desired. We can say, “Balls are round.” We can also say the balls, those balls, any balls, his balls, etc.
- As mentioned earlier, uncountable nouns normally cannot use “a/an” alone but may require “a/an” if a determiner is used with the noun. In other words, we cannot say “a snow” but we can say “a little snow” or “a light snow” or “a heavy snow”.
There are many types of pronouns. These types need not be memorized now. Just be aware that there are many types. Regardless of type, the pronoun will always substitute for (stand for) a noun.
Fill in the blanks or find the errors in the following sentences:
- Girl in the car is pretty. (Find one error.)
- The committee cast its vote/their votes. (View committee as many individuals.)
- We had two rains last week. (Find one error.)
- We will have a snow tomorrow. (Find one error.)
- I saw them walking along the road. (How many pronouns are in this sentence?)
- Let’s go to france and italy! (Find two errors.)
- John suggested that he and pete go see a movie. (Find one error.)
- I walked dog and two cats in the park. (Find one error.)
- These are your socks, aren’t they? (How many pronouns are in this sentence?)
- Let me give you two advices. (Find any errors.)