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Nouns and Pronouns: What are They and How are They Used?

What are nouns?

A noun can be described as a person, place, thing, or idea. A noun can be used as subject of a sentence, or an object of a verb or prepositional phrase.

usually ate lunch alone. [Sally is the subject]
New York City is bustling with people. [New York City is the subject; people is the object or prepositional phrase]
The field was covered in trash. [field is the subject]
The theme of the story was to always keep hope. [theme is the subject; hope is the object of verb phrase]

There are two types of nouns: common and proper.

Common Nouns:
These are your basic nouns, such as dog and tree. A common noun is a person, place, thing, or idea and are only capitalized when at the beginning of a sentence.

A common noun can be singular or plural.

Singular Nouns: These nouns describe one thing (cat, house, stick).
Plural Nouns: These nouns describe a group of objects (cats, houses, sticks). The transformation from singular to plural varies between nouns.

Here are the basics:

For most nouns, add an 's' to make it plural.
If a noun ends in 's', 'ss', 'sh', 'ch', 'x', or 'z', add 'es' to make it plural.
Some nouns are the same when singular and plural. In this case, keep it the same.
Some nouns ending in "f' need to have the 'f' changed to 'v' and have an 'es' added to the end to make it become plural.
For words that end in 'y', drop the 'y' and add 'ies'.
However, if a word ends in 'y' but has a vowel before it, add an 's' to make it become plural.
To make a hyphenated word become plural, make the first word plural.

The two main types of common nouns are concrete and abstract.

Concrete Nouns
: Like the name implies, concrete nouns are ones you can touch, like concrete, but that's not the only way to tell. If it is a physical thing, like an ice cream cone or a car, it is a concrete noun. Essentially, concrete nouns are people, places, and things.

Abstract Noun
: Abstract nous are, essentially, abstract. They're ideas, like hope and freedom. Unlike their tangible counterparts (concrete nouns), abstract nouns cannot be identified by taste, touch, scent, sound, or sight.

Proper Nouns:
These are the nouns you would see capitalized, such as United Nations and Uncle Bob. A proper noun is the name of a person, place, thing, or idea.


What are pronouns?

A pronoun takes the place of a noun. They will always play the role of a noun in a sentence.

The hiking trail travels through both woodlands and urban neighborhoods. It takes you to many interesting places, including a natural water spring. (it is the pronoun replacing hiking trail)

A pronoun replacing a noun representing a person is called a personal pronoun. These are the main types of pronouns, as pronouns are often seen as being used in this way. However, there are eight other types of pronouns: demonstrative, interrogative, indefinite, possessive, reciprocal, relative, reflexive, and intensive pronouns.

Demonstrative Pronouns: These pronouns tell us whether it is replacing something singular or plural and if it is close or far away. The four demonstrative pronouns are this, that, those, and these.

and that replace singular nouns. This represents something near you, while that represents something away from you.

is very bright. (This represents something near you)
I can see that from over here. (That represents something away from you)

Those and these replace plural nouns. Those represents something away from you, while these represents something near you.

These chips taste strange. (These represents something near you)
Those shoes have a very strong stench. (Those represents something away from you)

Interrogative Pronouns: These pronouns are used when asking a question. These pronouns will indicate that they are interrogative because they are used in an interrogative way. There are five interrogative pronouns: who, whom, whose, what, and which.

Use what and which when asking about a person or thing.

is that noise?
Which shirt would you like to buy?

Use who and whom (which shows up very rarely) when asking about a person.

Who parked their car in front of my house?
To whom are you sending this letter to?

Use whose when asking about people or things, always related to possession.

dog is this?

Indefinite Pronouns: These pronouns do not refer to any person, amount, or thing in particular. There are many indefinite pronouns, including: any, anybody, anyone, either, neither, nobody, no, someone, some, every, all, both, each, any, some, several, enough, many, and much.
Note that indefinite pronouns will never be plural, therefore the verb or noun they refer to will also be singular.

stole my lunch!
Does anyone know what's happening?
Someone broke the lamp.
Every duck flew away.

Possessive Pronouns: These nouns indicate ownership of something. Some possessive pronouns include: my, mine, our, ours, its, his, her, hers, their, theirs, your, and yours.

Your dog is very loud and obnoxious.
Their house is very old.
That pen is mine, not yours.
Our club is growing larger.

Reciprocal Nouns: These nouns indicate that two or more people have carried or are carrying out some action. They are used every time mutual actions occur simultaneously. Generally, the two reciprocal pronouns are each other and one another.

Use each other when referring to two people.
The friends gave each other high fives.

Use one another when referring to more than two people.
The students chatted with one another during passing period.

Relative Pronouns: These pronouns are used to refer to previously mentioned nouns, but can also be used to join two sentences. A few relative pronouns include: which, that, whose, whoever, whomever, who, whom, what, when, and where.

I already ruined the shirt that I bought yesterday.
The store down the street, where we used to buy most of our food, went out of business.
The party, which lasted for six hours, was a success.

Reflexive Pronouns: These nouns indicate that the person realizing the action of the verb is the recipient of the action. They are preceded by the adverb, adjective, pronoun, or noun that it refers to, as long as they are both located in the same clause. The reflexive pronouns are: myself, yourself, herself, himself, itself, yourselves, ourselves, and themselves.

Nobody wanted to take out the trash, so I did it myself.
She often looked at herself in the mirror for several minutes.
We decided to do the job ourselves.

Intensive Pronouns: These nouns are almost identical to reflexive pronouns. They are pronouns that end in self or selves and place emphasis on its antecedent, or the word preceding it, by referring to another noun or pronoun used earlier in the sentence. Because of this, they are often called emphatic pronouns. The intensive pronouns are: himself, herself, yourself, themselves, and ourselves.

You can tell if a word is an intensive pronouns by removing the word from the sentence. If the sentence still makes sense, the word is an intensive pronoun. This is because intensive pronouns aren't essential to the meaning of a sentence; it's purpose is to emphasis on a word.

Hannah made herself dinner.
Hannah made dinner.

He made that himself.
He made that.

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