Classification Of Nouns

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Articles, Pronouns

Classification of Nouns:

The Noun: Gender

You know that living beings are of either the male or the female sex. Now compare the words in the following pairs:

  • Boy (Lion, Hero, Cock-sparrow)
  • Girl (Lioness, Heroine, Hen-sparrow)

What do you notice?

  • The first word of each pair is the name of a male animal.
  • The second word of each pair is the name of a female animal.

Masculine Gender: A noun that denotes a male animal is said to be of the Masculine Gender. [Gender comes from Latin genus, kind or sort.]

Feminine Gender: A noun that denotes a female animal is said to be of the Feminine Gender.

Common Gender: A noun that denotes either a male or a female is said to be of the Common Gender; as Parent, child, friend, pupil, servant, thief, relation, enemy, cousin, person, orphan, student, baby, monarch, neighbor, infant.

Neuter Gender: A noun that denotes a thing that is neither male nor female (i.e., thing without life) is said to be of the Neuter Gender; as, Book, pen, room, tree.[Neuter means neither, that is, neither male nor female]Objects without life are often personified, that is, spoken of as if they were living beings. We then regard them as males or females. The Masculine Gender is often applied to objects remarkable for strength and violence; as,

Objects without life are often personified, that is, spoken of as if they were living beings. We then regard them as males or females. The Masculine Gender is often applied to objects remarkable for strength and violence; as,

The Masculine Gender is often applied to objects remarkable for strength and violence; as, The Sun, Summer, Winter, Time, Death,

  • The Sun, Summer, Winter, Time, Death,
  • The sun sheds his beams on rich and poor alike.

The Feminine Gender is sometimes applied to objects remarkable for beauty, gentleness, and gracefulness; as, The Moon, the Earth, Spring, Autumn, Nature, Liberty, Justice, Mercy, Peace, Hope, Charity.

  • The moon has hidden her face behind a cloud.
  • Spring has spread her mantle of green over the earth.
  • Peace hath her victories no less renowned than war.

The Noun: Number

Notice the change of form in the second word of each pair:

  • Tree (Box, Fox, Man)
  • Trees (Boxes, Oxen, Men)

The first word of each pair denotes one thing, the second word of each pair denotes more than one.

Singular Number: A Noun that denotes one person or thing, is said to be in the Singular Number; as, Boy, girl, cow, bird, tree, book, pen.

Plural Number: A Noun that denotes more than one person or thing, is said to be in the Plural Number; as, Boys, girls, cows, birds, trees, books, pens.

Thus there are two Numbers in English-the Singular and the Plural.

The Noun: Case

Examine these sentences:-

  • John threw a stone.
  • The horse kicked the boy.
    • In sentence 1, the noun John is the Subject. It is the answer to the question, “Who threw a stone?”
    • The group of words threw a stone is the Predicate.
    • The Predicate contains the verb threw.
    • What did John throw?-A stone? Stone is the object which John threw. The noun stone is therefore called the Object.
    • In sentence 2, the noun horse is the Subject. It is the answer to the question, ‘Who kicked the boy?”
    • The noun boy is the Object. It is the answer to the question, ‘Who did the horse kick?”

Nominative Case: When a noun (or pronoun) is used as the Subject of a verb, it is said to be in the Nominative Case.

Objective Case: When a noun (or pronoun) is used as the Object of a verb, it is said to be in the Objective (or Accusative) Case.

Note:

  • To find the Nominative, put Who? or What? before the verb.
  • To find the Accusative put, Whom? or What? before the verb and its subject.

 

Nouns in Apposition

Read the following sentence:

  • Rama, our captain, made fifty runs.
  • We see that Rama and our captain are one and the same person. The noun captain follows the noun Rama simply to explain which Rama is referred to.
  • When one noun follows another to describe it, the noun which follows is said to be in apposition to the noun which comes before it. [Apposition means placing near.]
  • A noun in apposition is in the same case as the noun which it explains.
  • In the above sentence the noun captain is in apposition to the noun Rama, and is in the Nominative Case (because Rama is in the Nominative Case.)

Further examples:

  1. Kabir, the great reformer, was a weaver.
  2. Yesterday I met your uncle, the doctor.
  3. Have you seen Ganguli, the artist’s drawings?

In sentence 1, the noun in apposition is in the Nominative Case.
In sentence 2, the noun in apposition is in the Accusative Case. [Why?]
In sentence 3, the noun in apposition is in the Genitive Case. [Why?]

Click here to take the Quiz on Nouns: Quiz 1           |            Quiz 2

Friends this is it for Nouns and classification. In the next article we will discuss adjectives. Feel free to ask us any queries and questions you have in the comments section below and we will be glad to answer them for you.
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