Naming words for better understanding

A noun is a word that represents a person, a place, or a thing. A thing in this definition can be a physical entity or it can be an abstract idea. A noun may be used as a subject of a sentence, as a direct object, as an indirect object, or it may be used as the object of a preposition.

A. Noun as subject


1. Carpenters
 drive nails with air powered guns.
2. Blackhawk was a famous American Indian.

Carpenters are the subject of the first sentence. Blackhawk is the subject of the second sentence.

B. Noun as direct object

1. Mr. Liu washed the car.
2. The authorities commended Roberta.

Identify a direct object by asking what or whom.

First sentence – Mr. Liu washed what? Answer: car. Car is the direct object of the verb washed.

Second sentence – The authorities commended whom? Answer: Roberta. Roberta is the direct object of the verb commended.

C. Noun as indirect object

1. I sent Stephanie the camera.
2. He bought the dog a kennel.

Identify an indirect object by asking to what, for what, or to whom, for whom.

First sentence – I sent the camera to whom? Answer: Stephanie. Stephanie is the indirect object.

Second sentence – He bought a kennel for what? Answer: dog. Dog is the indirect object.

D. Noun as object of a preposition

1. He pulled the little red wagon to the store.
2. From her perspective, the meeting was a success.

First sentence – The preposition is to, and the object of that preposition is the noun store.
Second sentence – The preposition is from, and the object of that preposition is the noun perspective.

Types of Noun:

Noun TypeExamples
Common Nouns name people, places or things that are not specific.man, mountain, state, ocean, country, building, cat, airline
Proper Nouns name specific people, places, or things.Walt Disney, Mount Kilimanjaro, Minnesota, Atlantic Ocean, Australia, Empire State Building, Fluffy, Sun Country
Abstract Nouns name nouns that you can’t perceive with your five sense.love, wealth, happiness, pride, fear, religion, belief, history, communication
Concrete Nouns name nouns that you can perceive with your five senses.house, ocean, Uncle Mike, bird, photograph, banana, eyes, light, sun, dog, suitcase, flowers
Countable Nouns name nouns that you can count.bed, cat, movie, train, country, book, phone, match, speaker, clock, pen, David, violin
Uncountable Nouns name nouns that you can’t count.milk, rice, snow, rain, water, food, music
Compound Nouns are made up of two or more words.tablecloth, eyeglasses, New York, photograph, daughter-in-law, pigtails, sunlight, snowflake
Collective Nouns refer to things or people as a unit.bunch, audience, flock, team, group, family, band, village
Singular Nouns name one person, place, thing, or idea.cat, sock, ship, hero, monkey, baby, match
Plural Nouns name more than one person, place, thing, or idea.cats, socks, ships, heroes, monkeys, babies, matches

Spelling Rules for Making Plural Nouns

1.      Normal Nouns

Normal nouns are made plural simply by adding an s. Because normal nouns are very numerous, this is a very limited list.

SingularPlural
artichokeartichokes
bubblebubbles
chartcharts
drumdrum
eggeggs

2.      Nouns ending in s, x, z, ch, or sh

Nouns that end in s, x, z, ch, or sh are made plural by adding es. The list below includes only a small sampling.

SingularPlural
bossbosses
busbuses
classclasses
foxfoxes
boxboxes
axaxes
buzzbuzzes
fizzfizzes
witchwitches
stitchstitches
rashrashes
dishdishes
marshmarshes

3.      Nouns ending in y, preceded by a consonant

Nouns that end in y, preceded by a consonant, are made plural by replacing the y with ies.

SingularPlural
abilityabilities
batterybatteries
candycandies
citycities
energyenergies

4.      Nouns ending in y, preceded by a vowel

Nouns that end in y, preceded by a vowel, are treated like normal nouns: just add s.

SingularPlural
daydays
playplays
toytoys
valleyvalleys

5.      Nouns ending in o, preceded by a consonant

Some nouns that end in o, preceded by a consonant, are made plural by adding es.

SingularPlural
echoechoes
heroheroes
potatopotatoes
tomatotomatoes
tomatotomatoes
zerozeroes

 Other nouns that end in o and are preceded by a consonant are made plural by just adding s. If in doubt, check a dictionary.

SingularPlural
casinocasinos
discodiscos
egosegos
Introintros
infernoinfernos
photophotos
promopromos
ratioratios

 Still other nouns ending in o and preceded by a consonant have both recognized plural forms: add either s or es. If in doubt, check a dictionary.

SingularPlural
buffalobuffalos or buffaloes
halohalos or haloes
mosquitomosquitos or mosquitoes
gazebogazebos or  gazeboes
tornadotornados or tornadoes
embargoembargos or embargoes

6.      Nouns ending in f or fe

Some nouns that end in f or fe become plural by changing the f or fe to ves.

SingularPlural
calfcalves
elfelves
halfhalves
knifeknives
leafleaves
lifelives
shelfshelves
wifewives

 Other nouns that end in f or fe are treated as normal nouns: just add s.

SingularPlural
beliefbeliefs
briefbriefs
chefchefs
chiefchiefs
cliffcliffs
gulfgulfs
proofproofs
safesafes

A small group of nouns that end in f can be made plural either way:

SingularPlural
hoofhoofs or hooves
dwarfdwarfs or dwarves
scarfscarfs or scarves
loafloafs or loaves
staffstaffs or staves
wharfwharfs or wharves

7.      Irregular Plurals

Many nouns are just, well, different. There’s nothing to do but learn which these are. If in doubt, consult a dictionary.

1.      Some nouns ending in us are made plural by changing the us to i.

SingularPlural
alumnusalumni
cactuscacti
focusfocuses or foci
fungusfunguses or fungi
octopusoctopuses or octopi
nucleusnuclei
radiusradii
stimulusstimuli

2.    

           Some nouns ending in is are made plural by changing the is to es.

SingularPlural
axisaxes
analysisanalyses
basisbases
crisiscrises
diagnosisdiagnoses
ellipsisellipses
hypothesishypotheses
oasisoases
paralysisparalyses
synthesissyntheses
synopsissynopses
thesistheses

3.     

        Some nouns ending in ix or ex are made plural by changing the ix to ices.

SingularPlural
appendixappendices
indexindices
matrixmatrices
vertexvertices

Some nouns ending in eau are made plural by changing the eau to eaux.

SingularPlural
beaubeaux
bureaubureaus or bureaux
chateauchateaux
tableautableaux or tableaus

4.     

       Some nouns become plural by changing the ending to en.

SingularPlural
childchildren
manmen
oxoxen
womanwomen

5.      Some nouns become plural by changing the ending to a.

SingularPlural
bacteriumbacteria
corpuscorpora
criterioncriteria
curriculumcurricula
datumdata
genusgenera
mediummedia
memorandummemoranda
phenomenonphenomena
stratumstrata

6.      Some nouns become plural by changing oo to ee.

SingularPlural
footfeet
goosegeese
toothteeth

7.      Some nouns become plural by changing the ending a to ae.

SingularPlural
antennaantennae or antennas
formulaformulae or formulas
nebulanebulae or nebulas
vertebravertebrae

8.      Some nouns become plural by replacing ouse with ice.

SingularPlural
louselice
mousemice

Exceptional Nouns:

1.      Some nouns don’t change at all between singular and plural forms.

SingularPlural
aircraftaircraft
deerdeer
meansmeans
moosemoose
offspringoffspring
seriesseries
sheepsheep
speciesspecies

2.      Some nouns only have a plural form.

Plural
dregspliers
gritsscissors
mumpsshorts
newsvictuals

3.      Some nouns have only a singular form in ordinary usage (some of these, like money, cotton, and sugar can be plural when talking about particular kinds).

Singular
coffeemoney
cornsilver
cottonsugar
goldwheat

4.      Some nouns naming animals have two plural forms.

SingularPlural
antelopeantelope or antelopes
codcod or cods
elkelk or elks
fishfish or fishes
flounderflounder or flounders
grousegrouse or grouses
herringherring or herrings
quailquail or quails
reindeerreindeer or reindeers
salmonsalmon or salmons

5.      Compound nouns are usually made plural by making the first noun part plural.

SingularPlural
attorney-generalattorneys-general
brother-in-lawbrothers-in-law
father-in-lawfathers-in-law
mother-in-lawmothers-in-law
run batted inruns batted in
sister-in-lawsisters-in-law

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