IDENTIFYING NOUNS AND ADJECTIVES



In this session, you will learn how to identify
·        Nouns
·        Gerunds and infinitives as nouns
·        Adjectives
·        Participles as adjectives.



Introduction
What is a part of speech? Well, every word we use in English performs one of eight functions. Each of these functions is a part of speech. A great many words serve as several parts of speech because the part is determined by the function of that particular word in the sentence. We'll talk about this later in the program.

But first, let's review some facts about the noun.

Nouns
A noun is a name of a person, place, thing, idea, action, quality, or event.

The following list contains nouns that name persons:
Mary, sister, Mr. Jones, teacher, members, mother-in-law.

The following list contains nouns that name places:
Montreal, home, suburbs, Somalia, colleges, Lake Louise.

The following list contains nouns that name things:
Automobile, house, Monday, Skydome, sandwich, trucks.

The following list contains nouns that name ideas:
Democracy, mathematics, gravity, law, solitude.

The following list contains nouns that name some common actions:
eating, to eat, sleeping, to sleep, camping, to camp.
           
The following list contains nouns that name qualities:
Beauty, patience, majesty, loyalty, stupidity, importance.

The following list contains nouns that name events:
The Great War, The Gold Rush, The Riel Rebellion, The Renaissance.

Proper nouns
A noun beginning with a capital letter is a proper noun:
"Jose," "Ottawa," "Monday" are proper nouns.

Proper nouns made up of more than one word are called "proper-noun phrases":
"Ms. Murphy," "Prime Minister Chretien," and "Vice-Chancellor Bodine," are proper noun phrases.

Proper-noun phrases must be considered as single nouns.

Gerunds
Words such as "running" may be nouns if the action of "running" is not taking place in the sentence. In the sentence

"Jogging is a healthful activity,"

the word "jogging" is the name of an action. So "jogging" is a gerund, an "ing" form of a word that acts as a noun.

Infinitives
Combinations of "to" plus an action (to run), known as infinitives, are always nouns. For example, in the sentence

"Serpa wanted to pass her test with honours,"

the phrase "to pass" is a noun, naming something that Serpa wanted.

Whether a noun names a person, place, thing, idea, action, quality, or event depends on how the noun functions in the sentence.

Now let's review some facts about the adjective

Adjectives
An adjective is a word that describes (or modifies) a noun or a pronoun.

An adjective tells the reader something about the noun or the pronoun. An adjective makes a noun or pronoun more exact by telling some of the things listed below:

What colour: "the blue towel"
How many: "four letters"
Where from: "Italian marble"
How big: "the huge room"
What size, shape, temperature: "a six-foot fence,"  "a square hole," "a hot drink"
What age, weight, height: "the old barn," "the heavy load," "the tall building"
What texture, consistency, construction: "the rough surface," "the thick fog," "the brick mansion"
What condition: "a dilapidated cabin," "a tired man"
What type: "a dining table."

Participles
The present and past participles can be used as adjectives. For example, in the sentence

"We admired the setting sun,"

there is no action of setting going on in the sentence. "Setting" is the present participle of the verb to set and is functioning as an adjective describing the noun "sun."

In the sentence

"Sam's repeated questions annoyed us,"

there is no action of repeating going on in the sentence. "Repeated" is the past participle of the verb to repeat and is functioning as an adjective describing the noun "questions."

To simplify matters, we will consider the words "a," "an," and "the" as adjectives.

The same word can be a noun or an adjective; how the word functions in the sentence determines which it will be.


Exercises
Select the answer that correctly identifies the function (part of speech) of the words in parentheses (brackets). Work from left to right as the words appear in the sentence. The answers appear after the last question.

Example: The (production) (manager) mailed the (letter) herself.
Answer: adjective noun noun

1.     (Mr. Steinberg) wanted (to read) the (sales) contract.
A. adjective adjective adjective
B. adjective adjective noun
C. adjective noun noun
D. noun noun noun
E. noun adjective noun
F. noun noun adjective

2.     (To graduate) with honours is an (admirable) (goal).
A. adjective adjective adjective
B. adjective adjective noun
C. adjective noun noun
D. noun noun noun
E. noun adjective noun
F. noun noun adjective


3.     (Running) and (walking) are not (demanding) activities.
A. adjective adjective adjective
B. adjective adjective noun
C. adjective noun noun
D. noun noun noun
E. noun adjective noun
F. noun noun adjective

4.     (To write) and (to speak) well require (practice).
A. adjective adjective adjective
B. adjective adjective noun
C. adjective noun noun
D. noun noun noun
E. noun adjective noun
F. noun noun adjective

5.     (Effective) (studying) will improve your (grades).
A. adjective adjective adjective
B. adjective adjective noun
C. adjective noun noun
D. noun noun noun
E. noun adjective noun
F. noun noun adjective

6.     (Some) (hungry) (Bosnian) refugees asked for food.
A. adjective adjective adjective
B. adjective adjective noun
C. adjective noun noun
D. noun noun noun
E. noun adjective noun
F. noun noun adjective

7.     On a (cool) (Monday) (morning), we left the city behind.
A. adjective adjective adjective
B. adjective adjective noun
C. adjective noun noun
D. noun noun noun
E. noun adjective noun
F. noun noun adjective

8.     The (children) played in the (fluffy) white (snow).
A. adjective adjective adjective
B. adjective adjective noun
C. adjective noun noun
D. noun noun noun
E. noun adjective noun
F. noun noun adjective


9.     The (noise) and the (wind) made (concentration) impossible.
A. adjective adjective adjective
B. adjective adjective noun
C. adjective noun noun
D. noun noun noun
E. noun adjective noun
F. noun noun adjective

10.  The (old) (tired) (horse) could barely pull the milk cart.
A. adjective adjective adjective
B. adjective adjective noun
C. adjective noun noun
D. noun noun noun
E. noun adjective noun
F. noun noun adjective

Answers
1, F. 2, E. 3, F. 4, D. 5, C. 6, A. 7, B. 8, E. 9, D. 10, B.