English Nouns, Articles and Pronouns
The noun is the subject of the sentence. It is the person, item, place, feeling or thing in a sentence: The dog / A dog / An egg
Nouns can be material items, such as a book, a cloud or a tractor; places, such as London or the train station; people or animals, such as John or a cat; or a feeling/emotion, such as happiness or satisfaction. Nouns can be other ‘things’ too, such as humour.
A proper noun is the name of something, your own name for example, or the name of a city, a film or a day of the week.
An article is the word preceding the noun, telling us if we know the specific noun or if the noun is a general noun. For example, ‘Lucy is the woman who works at the shop, but there is a man that works there too’. The implication here is that the speaker does not know the man.
A = indefinite article (not referring to a specific dog) (‘A’ becomes ‘An’ when the noun begins with a vowel (a, e, i, o, u)
The = definite article (referring to a specific dog)
Countable and Uncountable nouns
Countable nouns refer to those nouns which we can count, for example: books, desks, pens, litres, dogs, cars and people
- Countable nouns can be singular or plural, for example: ‘a dog’, ‘the dogs’.
- Singular countable nouns must use either a definite article (‘the’), an indefinite article (‘a’ or ‘an’) or an adjective pronoun (‘my’, ‘your’, ‘his’, ‘our’ etc.) in front of them in a sentence.
- Plural countable nouns can omit an article or adjective pronoun, for example: ‘I like cakes, ‘He repairs cars at the garage’, ‘They take pens to school’.
- Words denoting quantity can be used with countable nouns, for example: ‘a few’, ‘many’, ‘lots of’, ‘not many’. For example: ‘We read lots of books’.
Uncountable nouns refer to those nouns which cannot count, for example, water, happiness, jealousy, news, money, sugar, electricity, trust, time.
- Uncountable nouns take a singular verb.
- Indefinite articles are not used with uncountable nouns. Instead we can use the word ‘of’, for example: ‘a pound of sugar’, ‘a bottle of water’.
- We can also use the words ‘some’, ‘any’.
Pronouns are sometimes used instead of proper nouns.
Subject pronouns are: I, you, he, she, it, we, they
For example: I closed the door; you can drive the car, they made the cakes.
Object pronouns are: me, you, him, her, it, our, them
For example: The present is for me, That is her scarf, Our house is large.
Personal pronouns are: my/mine, your/yours, his, her/hers, its (no apostrophe), our/ours, their/theirs
Personal pronouns can be either possessive pronouns (mine, yours, his, etc.) which come at the end of the sentence. (e.g. ‘the book is mine’) or possessive adjectives which are always used just before the noun or the description of the noun ( ‘that is my big, red book’)
Reflexive pronouns are: myself, yourself, himself, herself, itself, ourselves, themselves. reflexive pronouns are rarely used in English.
One occasion where reflexive pronouns are used is for emphasis. For example, ‘I made the dinner myself’, ‘I need you to read the book yourself’.
Other times are when the pronoun is the object of a preposition referring to a subject. For example: ‘He enjoyed going on holiday by himself’, ‘She bought a new dress for herself’,
The last occasion to use reflexive pronouns is when they are used with reflexive verbs. For example: ‘I hope that you enjoy yourself’, ‘They have hurt themselves’, ‘We convinced ourselves to go’.
Read more about Noun Inflections.