Nouns are easy - right? Verbs change times from past to present to future, but a noun is just a noun. Still, now that you are at the Intermediate level there are a few things about nouns that you should remember. In this first exercise we are going to review -
The main uses of nouns that we will look at today are the subject, object, possessive, indirect object, and complement. Yes, there are other uses as well, like the vocative. But first, let's look at subject, object, possessive, indirect object, and complement.
Remember, with an English noun the ending does not change to tell you if it is a subject, object or complement. You have to decide from its position in the sentence.
Here I will quickly explain what countable and uncountable nouns are, and we will look at the different grammar for each type.
Countable nouns are as their name says - countable. You can count them. How many rooms in your house? Count them. How many brothers do you have? Count them (and remember that 0 is also a number!)
Uncountable nouns can't be counted. How many coffee in a cup? How many air in this room? How many interest are you feeling in this exercise? Uncountable nouns are often liquids, like water or tea, feelings like happiness, or ideas like freedom. (And remember that to the English money is uncountable - we count pounds and pennies.)
Uncountable nouns are usually singluar. So "coffee is bitter", but "the cups are dirty". When describing amounts, we use many for countable nouns, and much for uncountable nouns in questions and negatives. (For example: Did you have much trouble understanding that? Not too much I hope. But not Well, maybe you had much trouble understanding it.)
But we can use a lot (of) almost any time. So to be safe, this is the one to use.
(There were a lot of cars in town, but we did not have a lot of trouble finding a lot of shops selling a lot of soap. Do you need a lot of time to read this?)
Finally, remember that most uncountable nouns can be counted in a different way. Water is uncountable, but litres of water can be counted. We can also count loaves of bread, or packets of sugar. But no-one has found a way to count happiness or fun.
Later, we have a whole lesson on gerunds, so here we will only mention that they are verbs that you use as nouns. In many other languages, the infinitive is used instead. So you might say "I like to read". where an Englishman will say "I like reading". Because English is a very flexible language, both uses are correct. But English sentences must have a subject, and subjects can't be verbs. And it is easier to say "Smoking is forbidden" than to say "It is forbidden to smoke".
Remember: there is a big difference between gerunds which are like nouns and present participles which are like adjectives. Don't think of them just as "-ing" words. In grammar they are completely different!
Proper nouns are names. In English if it is a name, you write it with a capital letter. Notice the capital E in English. For English speakers, nationalities are names, and countries are names. Cities are names too. (Joe comes from New Brunswick in the United States. He is American.)
We also consider dates as proper nouns, but not numbers. (Wednesday the seventh of August.)
Sometimes words have the same idea, but are said differently, depending on their type. So you have "high" (adjective) and "height" (noun). Sometimes English people just use the verb or adjective and make it into a noun by changing the suffix. So "happy" (adjective) becomes "happiness" (noun). A very common suffix for this is "-ment", as in "government, statement, astonishment", and so on. Also we use "-er" to signigy one who does the verb. So teachers teach, drivers drive motor cars, and engineers work with engines.
Still think nouns are easy? Ok then - here are some exercises for you! Click the blue triangle.
Countries and nationalities