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Journalistic Writer: Effective Parts of Speech (Part 1)

Parts of speech can be divided into two categories:

Picture words

  • Nouns
  • Verbs
  • Adjectives
  • Adverbs

Function words





What is a Noun?

A noun is a word used to identify or name:

a person, (Jack , Anderson)

animal, (Lion, Monkey)

place, (Venus, Paris)

thing, (Fan, Glass)

and abstract idea. (Story, Time)

Nouns are usually the first words to learn in English grammar. The Underlined words in the following sentences are all nouns:

  • Late last year my brother 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 in a sentence can be

a subject,

a direct object,

an indirect object,

a subject complement,

an object complement,

an appositive,

an adjective or

an adverb.


Noun Gender

Noun gender is a system of noun classification. The gender classification is divided into two:

Masculine (masculine Nouns are for men)

Feminine (Feminine Nouns re for female)


Many common nouns, like “engineer” or “teacher,” can refer to both of male or female.


Noun Plurals

Most nouns change their form to indicate number by adding “-s” or “-es”, For example: boy and boys; box and boxes etc.


Possessive Nouns

In the possessive case, a noun or pronoun changes its form to show that it owns or possess something or is closely related to something else. Usually, nouns become possessive by adding a combination of an apostrophe and the letter “s.”

The red doll is Cassandra’s.

The only luggage that was lost in the plane was the prime minister’s.

The children’s mittens were scattered on the floor of the porch.


Types of Nouns

There are many different types of nouns. If you are interested in the details of these different types of nouns, you can read about them in the following sections.

Proper Nouns

the name of a specific person, place, or thing. The names of days of the week (Sunday), months December), institutions (Howard University), organizations (Red Cresent) etc are proper nouns. You have to write a proper noun with a capital letter, A proper noun is the opposite of a common noun:

Look at the following examples:

The Maroons were transported from Jamaica and forced to build the fortifications in Halifax.

Many people dread Monday mornings.

Abraham appears in the Talmud and in the Koran.

Common Nouns

A common noun is a noun denoting to a person, place, or thing in a generic sense –

Lets take some examples:

According to the sign, the nearest town is 60 miles away.


The road crew was startled by the sight of three large moose crossing the road.


Concrete Nouns

A concrete noun is a noun which names any tangible or intelligible thing (or anyone) that you can perceive through your five physical physical senses like touch, sight, taste, hearing, or smell. A concrete noun is the opposite to that of abstract noun.

The highlighted words in the following sentences are  the examples of concrete nouns:

The judge handed over the files to the clerk.

Whenever they take the dog to the beach, it spends hours chasing waves.

The book binder replaced the flimsy paper cover with a sturdy, cloth-covered board.

Abstract Nouns

An abstract noun is a noun which names anything which you can not perceive through your five physical senses, and this is opposite of a concrete noun. The highlighted words in the following sentences are all abstract nouns:

Buying the fire extinguisher was an afterthought.

Tillie is amused by people who are nostalgic about childhood.

Justice often seems to slip out of our grasp.

Some scientists believe that schizophrenia is transmitted genetically.

Countable Nouns

A countable noun (or count noun) is a noun with both a singular and a plural form, and it names anything (or anyone) that can be counted. In each of the following sentences, the highlighted words are countable nouns:

We painted the table red and the chairs blue.

Miriam found six silver dollars in the toe of a sock.

The oak tree lost three branches in the hurricane.


Non-Countable Nouns

A non-countable noun (or mass noun) is a noun which does not have a plural form, and which refers to something that you cannot usually count.

Joseph Priestly discovered oxygen.

We decided to sell the furniture.


Collective Nouns

A collective noun is a noun naming a group of things, animals, or persons. You could count the individual members of the group, but you usually think of the group as a whole or generally as one unit. In each of the following sentences, the highlighted word is a collective noun:

The flock of geese spends most of its time in the pasture.

The jury is dining on chicken tonight.

The steering committee meets every Wednesday afternoon.


The class was startled by the bursting light bulb.

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