English Grammar-Nouns

Terms in this set (11)

Uncountable nouns are for the things that we cannot count with numbers. They may be the names for abstract ideas or qualities or for physical objects that are too small or too amorphous to be counted (liquids, powders, gases, etc.). Uncountable nouns are used with a singular verb. They usually do not have a plural form.



We cannot use a/an with these nouns. To express a quantity of an uncountable noun, use a word or expression like some, a lot of, much, a bit of, a great deal of , or else use an exact measurement like a cup of, a bag of, 1kg of, 1L of, a handful of, a pinch of, an hour of, a day of. If you want to ask about the quantity of an uncountable noun, you ask "How much?"


There has been a lot of research into the causes of this disease.
He gave me a great deal of advice before my interview.
Can you give me some information about uncountable nouns?
He did not have much sugar left.
Measure 1 cup of water, 300g of flour, and 1 teaspoon of salt.
How much rice do you want?

Some nouns are countable in other languages but uncountable in English. They must follow the rules for uncountable nouns. The most common ones are:
accommodation, advice, baggage, behavior, bread, furniture, information, luggage, news, progress, traffic, travel, trouble, weather, work

I would like to give you some advice.
How much bread should I bring?
I didn't make much progress today.
This looks like a lot of trouble to me.
We did an hour of work yesterday.
Be careful with the noun hair which is normally uncountable in English, so it is not used in the plural. It can be countable only when referring to individual hairs.


She has long blond hair.
The child's hair was curly.
I washed my hair yesterday.
My father is getting a few grey hairs now. (refers to individual hairs)
I found a hair in my soup! (refers to a single strand of hair)
Pronouns replace nouns. A different pronoun is required depending on two elements: the noun being replaced and the function that noun has in the sentence. In English, pronouns only take the gender of the noun they replace in the 3rd person singular form. The 2nd person plural pronouns are identical to the 2nd person singular pronouns except for the reflexive pronoun.

Subject pronouns replace nouns that are the subject of their clause. In the 3rd person, subject pronouns are often used to avoid repetition of the subject's name.

I am 16.
You seem lost.
Jim is angry, and he wants Sally to apologize.
This table is old. It needs to be repainted.
We aren't coming.
They don't like pancakes.

Object pronouns are used to replace nouns that are the direct or indirect object of a clause.

Give the book to me.
The teacher wants to talk to you.
Jake is hurt because Bill hit him.
Rachid recieved a letter from her last week.
Mark can't find it.
Don't be angry with us.
Tell them to hurry up!

Possessive adjectives are not pronouns, but rather determiners. It is useful to learn them at the same time as pronouns, however, because they are similar in form to the possessive pronouns. Possessive adjectives function as adjectives, so they appear before the noun they modify. They do not replace a noun as pronouns do.

Did mother find my shoes?
Mrs. Baker wants to see your homework.
Can Jake bring over his baseball cards?
Samantha will fix her bike tomorrow.
The cat broke its leg.
This is our house.
Where is their school?

Possessive pronouns replace possessive nouns as either the subject or the object of a clause. Because the noun being replaced doesn't appear in the sentence, it must be clear from the context.

This bag is mine.
Yours is not blue.
That bag looks like his.
These shoes are not hers.
That car is ours.
Theirs is parked in the garage.

Reflexive and intensive pronouns are the same set of words but they have different functions in a sentence.

Reflexive pronouns refer back to the subject of the clause because the subject of the action is also the direct or indirect object. Only certain types of verbs can be reflexive. You cannot remove a reflexive pronoun from a sentence because the remaining sentence would be grammatically incorrect.

I told myself to calm down.
You cut yourself on this nail?
He hurt himself on the stairs.
She found herself in a dangerous part of town.
The cat threw itself under my car!
We blame ourselves for the fire.
The children can take care of themselves.

Intensive pronouns emphasize the subject of a clause. They are not the object of the action. The intensive pronoun can always be removed from a sentence without changing the meaning significantly, although the emphasis on the subject will be removed. Intensive pronouns can be placed immediately after the subject of the clause, or at the end of the clause.

I made these cookies myself.
You yourself asked Jake to come.
The Pope himself pardoned Mr. Brown.
My teacher didn't know the answer herself.
The test itself wasn't scary, but my teacher certainly is.
We would like to finish the renovation before Christmas ourselves.
They themselves told me the lost shoe wasn't a problem.
Negative sentences can only be formed with the indefinite pronouns that include any.

I don't have anything to eat.
She didn't go anywhere last week.
I can't find anyone to come with me.

Many negative sentences that include an indefinite pronoun with any can be turned into affirmative sentences with a negative meaning by using an indefinite pronoun with no. However, there is a change in meaning with this transformation: the sentence that includes an indefinite pronoun with no is stronger, and can imply emotional content such as definsiveness, hopelessness, anger, etc.


I don't know anything about it. = neutral
I know nothing about it. = defensive
I don't have anybody to talk to. = neutral
I have nobody to talk to. = hopeless
There wasn't anything we could do. = neutral
There was nothing we could do. = defensive/angry

Indefinite pronouns with every, some, and any can be used to form negative questions. These questions can usually be answered with a "yes" or a "no"

Pronouns formed with anyand every are used to form true questions, while those with some generally imply a question to which we already know or suspect the answer.

Is there anything to eat?
Did you go anywhere last night?
Is everyone here?
Have you looked everywhere?

These questions can be turned in to false or rhetorical questions by making them negative. The speaker, when posing a question of this type, is expecting an answer of "no".

Isn't there anything to eat?
Didn't you go anywhere last night?
Isn't everyone here?
Haven't you looked everywhere?

Some and pronouns formed with it is only used in questions to which we think we already know the answer, or questions which are not true questions (invitations, requests, etc.) The person asking these questions is expecting an answer of "Yes".

Are you looking for someone?
Have you lost something?
Are you going somewhere?
Could somebody help me, please? = request
Would you like to go somewhere this weekend? = invitation

These questions can be made even more definite if they are made negative. In this case, the speaker is absolutely certain he will receive the answer "Yes".

Aren't you looking for someone?
Haven't you lost something?
Aren't you going somewhere?
Couldn't somebody help me, please?
Wouldn't you like to go somewhere this weekend?
Words can be combined to form compound nouns. These are very common, and new combinations are invented almost daily. They normally have two parts. The first part tells us what kind of object or person it is, or what its purpose is. The second part identifies the object or person in question. Compound nouns often have a meaning that is different, or more specific, than the two separate words.

You have noticed that the compound noun can be written either as a single word, as a word with a hyphen, or as two words. There are no clear rules about this. A good rule of thumb is to write the most common compound nouns as one word, and the others as two words.

The elements in a compound noun are very diverse parts of speech.

noun + noun
water tank
printer cartridge

noun + verb

noun + adverb

verb + noun
washing machine
driving licence
swimming pool

verb + adverb lookout
adverb + noun onlooker
adjective + verb dry-cleaning
public speaking
adjective + noun greenhouse
adverb + verb output


Stress is important in pronunciation, as it distinguishes between a compound noun and an adjective with a noun. In compound nouns, the stress usually falls on the first syllable.


a 'greenhouse = place where we grow plants (compound noun)
a green 'house = house painted green (adjective and noun)
a 'bluebird = type of bird (compound noun)
a blue 'bird = any bird with blue feathers (adjective and noun)
The possessive form is used with nouns referring to people, groups of people, countries, and animals. It shows a relationship of belonging between one thing and another. To form the possessive, add apostrophe + s to the noun. If the noun is plural, or already ends in s, just add an apostrophe after the s.


the car of John = John's car
the room of the girls = the girls' room
clothes for men = men's clothes
the boat of the sailors = the sailors' boat
For names ending in s, you can either add an apostrophe + s, or just an apostrophe. The first option is more common. When pronouncing a possessive name, we add the sound /z/ to the end of the name.


Thomas's book (or Thomas' book)
James's shop (or James' shop)
the Smiths's house (or the Smiths' house)

'Belonging to' or 'ownership' is the most common relationship the possessive expresses.


John owns a car. = It is John's car.
America has some gold reserves. = They are America's gold reserves.
The possessive can also express where someone works, studies or spends time


John goes to this school. = This is John's school.
John sleeps in this room. = This is John's room.
The possessive can express a relationship between people.


John's mother is running late.
Mrs Brown's colleague will not be coming to the meeting.
The possessive can express intangible things as well.


John's patience is running out.
The politician's hypocrisy was deeply shocking.

There are also some fixed expressions where the possessive form is used.


a day's work
a month's pay
today's newspaper
in a year's time

For God's sake! (= exclamation of exasperation)
a stone's throw away (= very near)
at death's door (= very ill)
in my mind's eye (= in my imagination)
The possessive is also used to refer to shops, restaurants, churches and colleges, using the name or job title of the owner.


Shall we go to Luigi's for lunch?
I've got an appointment at the dentist's at eleven o'clock.
Is Saint Mary's an all-girls school?