Nouns and Pronouns

One of the basic elements that makes up the structure of sentences is a noun. There are different types of nouns but they all have the same general function. Today, we are going to discuss different types of nouns as well as pronouns. We’ll also talk about what they do and how to use them properly.

Nouns are words that name a person, place, or thing. For example, dad, son, jet fighter, influenza, chalk, Halsted St., and puppy are all nouns.

Person: sister, son
Place: school, Halstead St.
Thing: chalk, puppy, influenza

This may seem broad, but nouns can be broken down even further into different categories depending on what the noun is doing in the sentence.

Common Nouns

Common nouns, like most of the words mentioned here, are words that refer to general things:

  • canyon
  • woman
  • rabbit
  • book
  • table
  • wrench

These things do not have a specific name like John, or Eiffel Tower—those would be proper nouns, which we’ll discuss those later. Here’s an example of common nouns used in a sentence:

Dinner was ready at 6pm.

The common noun used in this example is dinner. Dinner, in this case, is a thing. Let’s look at one more.

The eggs were scrambled in the hot pan.

This sentence has two common nouns, eggs and pan because they are both things/objects in the sentence. Seems simple enough, right?

Proper Nouns

Proper nouns are people, places or things that have specific names or titles.

  • Grand Canyon
  • Margaret
  • Bugs Bunny
  • Texas
  • Pepsi
  • Pointville High School

The word dad is a common noun, but your dad’s name might be Drew. Drew is a proper noun. Chevy is the name of a brand of car, so it’s also a proper noun. In addition, proper nouns are always capitalized. Let’s see proper nouns in a sentence.

Aunt Jackie is my favorite aunt on my mom’s side.

Aunt Jackie is someone’s formal name, therefore it is a proper noun. Mom, in this sentence is not someone’s formal name, therefore it is just a common noun. Let’s look at one more example.

James proposed to Jessie near the Eiffel Tower in France.

This example is full of proper nouns. James and Jesse are the given names of people, while the Eiffel Tower is the proper name of an object and France is the official name of a country, a place.

Collective Nouns

Collective nouns are nouns that refer to a collective group or multiple number of something.

  • A class of students
  • A flock of birds
  • A team of players
  • A crowd of fans

Nouns can also come in plural and singular forms. Just as it sounds, some nouns describe a single object, person, or idea that stands alone or multiple objects, people, and ideas. Let’s look at an example and see if we can identify the singular nouns in the sentence:

The dog fell asleep on the porch with its toy nearby.

Here, we see a few singular nouns; there is only one dog, one porch, and one toy mentioned. Therefore, we know these are the singular nouns in this sentence.

Identifying plural nouns can be just as simple. Most nouns can be made plural by adding an s or es at the end of the word. Here, we’ll look at an example using our previous example and see if we can spot the plural nouns.

The dogs fell asleep on the porch with their toys nearby.

In this sentence, we made a few changes. We see now an s was added to dog and toy. By adding an s, these once singular nouns are now plural. Now the sentence is describing multiple dogs and toys on one porch. Here’s one more example:

The businesses had a huge increase in savings this year.

In this sentence, we can see that businesses is the plural noun because it is describing more than one business. We made the word plural by adding an es on the end. Remember, when making a singular noun plural, if the noun ends in ch, sh, x, z, s or sometimes o, we add es to the end of it. There are other rules to properly make singular nouns plural. For example, nouns that end in y must have the y taken out and replaced with ies.

Singular Noun – YPlural Noun
berryberries
armyarmies

There are always some exceptions to these rules, but the way you make a singular noun plural depends on what letter the word ends with. As you learn more words, these rules and exceptions will become easier to remember.

Singular NounPlural Noun
benchbenches
dishdishes
taxtaxes
heroheroes

Possessive Nouns

Possessive nouns are nouns that describe ownership of something. We show ownership by adding ‘s to the end of a noun, or an apostrophe to the end of a word that ends with an s. One way to determine which noun is the possessive noun is to identify the object and ask, “to whom or what does this belong?” No worries if this rule seems confusing, here are a few examples to practice:

Liz scratched Mom’s car while driving.

In this sentence, we see three nouns, but only one of them is possessive. Mom’s would be the possessive noun because the aforementioned car belongs to her, not Liz. Nouns that don’t refer to humans or animals can also be possessive. Here’s another. Can you spot the possessive noun in this sentence?

The buses’ doors were jammed, and the students couldn’t board.

In this example, the possessive noun is buses’, because the doors mentioned belong to the bus. Did you notice the placement of the apostrophe? Here, not only does buses end with an s, but buses’ is also plural. Remember, nouns that end with an s, like bus or boss, are made plural by adding an es at the end. When trying to make nouns that end with s possessive you must first determine if the noun is singular or plural to know where to put the apostrophe.

Noun Singular PossessivePlural Possessive
classclass’sclasses’
walruswalrus’swalruses’

To make a singular noun possessive, we simply add ’s to the end of it, even if the noun already ends in s, because we want to show that there is only one of this thing/person possessing something. When dealing with plural nouns that end in es, we make the noun possessive by adding the apostrophe at the end of the word.

Pronouns

Pronouns are words that take the place of nouns. To keep from sounding repetitive, pronouns can describe a person, place, or thing without naming it multiple times in the same sentence or paragraph. Pronouns also come in many forms. Today we’ll only talk about personal pronouns and a few others as well as nominative, objective, and possessive cases.

Personal Pronouns
heshetheyyou
himherthemI
usmeitwe

Like other nouns, pronouns can also be singular, plural, and possessive and represent a person or thing. Here is an example of a sentence with no pronouns.

Jasmine loves movies. Jasmine goes to the theatre often and has Jasmine’s own members’ pass.

These sentences sound strange. Most people don’t repeat someone’s name over and over like that. That’s why pronouns help eliminate redundancy. Take another look at these sentences with pronouns used instead.

Jasmine loves movies. She goes to the theatre often and has her own members’ pass.

This example looks and sounds a lot better. Here, we replaced Jasmine with the pronouns she and her.

Possessive Pronouns

As mentioned earlier, pronouns can also be possessive. We see that in the previous example Jasmine owns a members’ pass. So instead of saying Jasmine’s pass, we used the possessive pronoun her to describe her possession of the members’ pass. Other possessive pronouns include:

SingularPlural
his/herstheirs
mineours
yoursyours

Nominative and Objective Pronouns

When talking about pronouns it’s also important to mention nominative and objective case.

Nominative PronounsObjective Pronouns
Ime
youyou
hehim
sheher

Nominative case refers to a noun that is performing an action or verb. In contrast, objective case is a noun that is having an action/verb taken upon it. Here’s an example:

Mariah drank water.

Here, Mariah is in the nominative case because she is performing an action on the water—the verb drink.

Let’s look at an objective pronoun example:

Mariah caught the ball.

Here, the ball is the objective pronoun because it was the object that had an action performed on it, which was it being caught.

Indefinite Pronouns

Indefinite pronouns represent a person or thing that we don’t have a specific number of:

  • One
  • Other
  • None
  • Some
  • Anybody
  • Everybody
  • No one
  • Nobody

Here’s an example:

Anybody can learn another language.

In this case, the indefinite pronoun is anybody because it refers to an immeasurable amount of people.

Interrogative Pronouns

These pronouns are used to ask a question.

  • What
  • Which
  • Whom
  • Who
  • Whose

Here are two examples:

What is her name?
Whose keys are those?

Intensive pronouns

Intensive pronouns are pronouns that emphasize the pronouns that immediately precede it.

She herself made sure to set the alarm.

In this case, herself is meant to emphasize she, making herself the intensive pronoun.

I myself made time to work out before bed.

Here, myself refers to the pronoun I, making myself the intensive pronoun.

Reciprocal Pronouns

Reciprocal pronouns are words that express an action is happening to two or more people or things at the same time. Reciprocal pronouns include each other and one another

The students switched tests with one another.
We exchanged vows with each other.

Demonstrative Pronouns

Demonstrative pronouns are pronouns that point to specific things. Examples of demonstrative pronouns are this, that, these, and those.


Review

Nouns and pronouns are essential pieces needed to complete sentences. Before we end, let’s do a few practice examples to make sure we got the hang of all we went over today.

1. What kind of noun is Tuesday?

  1. Common noun
  2. Possessive noun
  3. Proper noun
  4. None of the above

2. Which of the following singular nouns was made plural incorrectly?

  1. singer → singers
  2. dish → dishes
  3. church → churches
  4. tax → taxs

Thanks for watching, and happy studying!

Practice Questions

Question #1:

 
Which of the following nouns represents the correct plural form of the word wrench?

Wrench

Wrenches

Wrench’s

Wrenchs

Answer:

Since the noun wrench ends with the ch, it is made plural by adding es to the end.

Question #2:

 
Fill in the blanks:

The _______ bright blue hue matched my freshly painted _______.

Skies, nail’s

Skie’s, nails

Sky’s, nails

Skys, nail’s

Answer:

The bright blue hue belongs to the sky, so the word sky needs to become possessive, which is formed by simply adding ‘s to the end. The word nail is not possessive in this case but is plural, so an s is added to the end.

Question #3:

 
Select the correct capitalization for the underlined nouns:

Last year, aunt kim took a trip to france with jerel and his mom.

aunt Kim, France, Jerel, mom

Aunt Kim, France, Jerel, mom

aunt Kim, France, Jerel, Mom

Aunt Kim, france, Jerel, Mom

Answer:

Aunt Kim is the given name of a person. This makes it a proper noun, which should be capitalized. France is the name of a country, which is also a proper noun and, therefore, capitalized. Jerel is a person’s name, which makes it another proper noun that should be capitalized. In this sentence, the word mom is not the given name of a person, so it is not a proper noun and is therefore left uncapitalized.

Question #4:

 
Which word is the collective noun in the following sentence?

The class of junior high students left their papers in the auditorium.

Class

Students

Papers

Auditorium

Answer:

Remember, collective nouns refer to a collective group or multiple number of something. The word auditorium is a common noun that references a single place, so it is not a collective noun. The words students and papers are both plural nouns, but neither word refers to a collective group. The only word that does that in this sentence is the word class, which refers to a group of people.

Question #5:

 
Fill in the blank:

All of the _______ cores were heaped in a pile under the table.

apples

apple’s

apples’s

apples’s

Answer:

This sentence is referring to the cores of multiple apples, so the plural possessive apples’ should fill in the blank.

Question #6:

 
Fill in the blanks:

Cameron was holding a large box; ____ was full of ____ favorite books.

it, she

they, hers

they, its

it, her

Answer:

The first blank should be filled by the pronoun it, which is referring back to the noun box. The second blank should be filled by the pronoun her, which is referring back to the proper noun Cameron.

Question #7:

 
Fill in the blank:

The crowd made _____ way to the auditorium just in time for the recital to begin.

its

it’s

their

they’re

Answer:

The word crowd is a collective noun, which means it refers to a group of people but is itself a singular noun. Because it is singular, the pronoun its should be used here.

Question #8:

 
The words other, nobody, anybody, and none are examples of which type of pronoun?

Interrogative

Indefinite

Intensive

Objective

Answer:

Indefinite pronouns represent a person or thing that we don’t have a specific number of.

Question #9:

 
Which of the following is a reciprocal pronoun?

Them

No one

Each other

Itself

Answer:

Reciprocal pronouns indicate that two or more people are carrying out an action at the same time.

Question #10:

 
What two types of pronouns are found in the following sentence:

I myself prefer biking over running.

Personal and intensive

Reciprocal and demonstrative

Demonstrative and personal

Intensive and indefinite

Answer:

In this sentence, the pronoun I is personal, and the pronoun myself is intensive.

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by Mometrix Test Preparation | Last Updated: October 7, 2021