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What is a Noun?
A noun is a word used to name a person, animal, place, thing, and abstract idea. Nouns are usually the first words which small children learn. The highlighted words in the following sentences are all nouns:
Late last year our neighbours bought a goat.
Portia White was an opera singer.
The bus inspector looked at all the passengers' passes.
According to Plutarch,the library at Alexandria was destroyed in 48 B.C.
Philosophy is of little comfort to the starving.
A noun can function in a sentence as a subject, a direct object, an indirect object, a subject complement, an object complement, an appositive, anadjective or an adverb.
What is a Verb?
The verb is perhaps the most important part of the sentence. A verb orcompound verb asserts something about the subject ofthe sentence and express actions, events, or states of being. The verb or compound verb is the critical element of the predicate of a sentence.
In each of the following sentences, the verb or compound verb ishighlighted:
Dracula bites his victims on the neck.
The verb "bites" describes the action Dracula takes.
In early October, Giselle will plant twenty tulip bulbs.
Here the compound verb"will plant" describes an action that will take place in the future.
My first teacher was Miss Crawford, but I remember the janitor Mr. Weatherbee more vividly.
In this sentence, the verb "was" (the simple past tense of "is") identifies a particular person and the verb "remembered" describes a mental action.
Karl Creelman bicycled around the world in 1899, but his diaries and his bicycle weredestroyed.
In this sentence, the compound verb "were destroyed" describes an action which took place in the past.
What Is An Adjective?
An adjective modifies a noun or a pronoun by describing, identifying, or quantifying words. An adjective usually precedes the noun or the pronoun which it modifies.
In the following examples, the highlighted words are adjectives:
The truck-shaped balloonfloated over the treetops.
Mrs. Morrison papered her kitchen walls with hideous wall paper.
The small boat foundered on the wine dark sea.
The coal mines are dark and dank.
Many stores have already begun to play irritating Christmasmusic.
A battered music box sat on the mahogany sideboard.
The back room was filled with large, yellow rain boots.
An adjective can be modified by an adverb, or bya phrase or clausefunctioning as an adverb. In the sentence
My husband knits intricately patterned mittens.
for example, the adverb "intricately" modifies the adjective "patterned."
Some nouns, many pronouns, and many participle phrases can also act as adjectives. In the sentence
Eleanor listened to the muffled sounds of the radio hidden under her pillow.
for example,both highlighted adjectives are past participles.
Grammarians also consider articles ("the," "a," "an") to be adjectives.
Possessive Adjectives
A possessive adjective ("my," "your," "his," "her," "its," "our," "their") is similar or identical to a possessive pronoun; however, it is used as an adjective and modifies a noun or a noun phrase, as in the following sentences:
I can't complete my assignment because I don'thave the textbook.
In this sentence, the possessive adjective "my" modifies "assignment" and the noun phrase "my assignment" functions as an object. Note that the possessive pronoun form "mine" is not used to modify a noun or noun phrase.
What is your phone number.
Here the possessive adjective "your" is used to modify the noun phrase "phone number"; the entire noun phrase "your phone number"is asubject complement. Note that the possessive pronoun form "yours" is not used to modify a noun or a noun phrase.
The bakery sold his favourite type of bread.
In this example, the possessive adjective "his" modifies the noun phrase "favourite type of bread" and the entire noun phrase "his favourite type of bread" is the direct object of the verb "sold."
After many years, she returned...
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