Nouns are used as subjects of sentences and as the objects of verbs and prepositions.
Generally there are two types of nouns - common nouns and proper nouns.
Nouns can also be categorized as singular nouns and plural nouns. Sometimes certain nouns are used exclusively as either singular or plural nouns. That means they do not have a corresponding word to their own singular or plural form.
A quick comparison table of some tricky nouns in their singular and plural forms:
There are some singular nouns often mistaken as plural nouns because they end with “s”.
Another way to group nouns is separating them into countable nouns and non-countable nouns. Countable nouns usually have both singular and plural forms. Uncountable nouns are used just as singular.
Other examples of uncountable nouns include:
Sometimes a noun is used as an uncountable noun when it is referred to the entire idea or substance, but it can be used as a countable noun when used in a context involving:
A specific example:
Certain nouns are used to just describe a collection of people, items, or events in their entirety. Even though they are referring to more than one thing in the collection, they are singular. However, when they are used to represent a number of collections, then they are plural.
A pronoun is a part of speech that is typically used as a substitute for a noun or noun phrase. There are eight subclasses of pronouns, although some forms belong to more than one group:
There are two pronominal cases: nominative (subject) and objective (object)
Notice that the second person (both singular and plural) has only one form, you. The object case is used after verbs and prepositions:
Be careful of objects that consist of a proper noun (name) + a pronoun:
These situations can seem confusing, but there is an easy method to tell which pronoun (nominative or objective) is required. Just remove the noun from the sentence to see if it still makes sense. If it does (as in "The puppy looked across the table at me"), then you have selected the correct pronoun. If it does not (as in "The puppy looked across the table at I''), then you should go back and check whether you selected the correct case for the pronoun (in this case it is the object of a preposition, at, so it should be in the objective case).
The relative pronoun who also has an objective case form, whom:
All these pronouns have possessive forms that do not have apostrophes:
These act as adjectives, and are followed by nouns. If there is no noun and the possessive form is used by itself, this form is said to be disjunctive:
Again, there is no apostrophe. The relative pronoun who has the possessive form whose:
One is used as a supplementary pronoun; it does have an apostrophe in the possessive:
Note that one's is used only if the subject one is present; following with his would not be acceptable.
There are several pronominal forms which seem to be plural but act as singular, taking singular verbs and singular pronouns if they act as antecedents. The most common of these words are another, any, anybody, anything, each, either, every, everybody, neither, no one, nobody, none (not one), etc.; they must be followed by a singular verb, whatever the meaning might indicate:
Usage - An adjective is a descriptive word that qualifies a noun, making it more specific:
Adjectives are usually arranged in the order of specificity. Words normally used to perform other grammatical functions may be used as adjectives. These can be recognized by their position before the noun to which they apply:
Adjectives can also be used to form a predicate with the verb to be:
Normally, only `true' adjectives can be used to form this kind of predicate. It is not possible to say:
In such cases, it is necessary to use the prop-word, one:
There are three forms of a `true' adjective.Normal
No agreement to noun is necessary for an adjective.
An adverb is a part of speech used mainly to modify verbs but also adjectives and other adverbs. Adverbs describe how, where or when.Adverbs are formed in a few different ways:
Adverbs modify verbs in the same way adjectives qualify nouns<
The adverb often follows the verb it modifies:
Sometimes it precedes the verb:
Sometimes position determines meaning:
Where emphasis is needed, the adverb may be put first, and the verb and subject inverted:
Position and Meaning - When adverbs are used to modify adjectives, it is important to work out the relationships between them:
If one is not careful it is easy to confuse whether a word is an adverb or an adjective, and in either case, which other word it is modifying in the sentence. The change from adjective to adverb can change the meaning drastically:
In this example when the adjective is used, it appears that the centaur is quick, whereas when the adverb is used, it is the centaur's appearance that occurred quickly.
Great care must be taken to align only with the word it actually modifies, because its positioning can affect the meaning of the sentence:
Early may be both adjective and adverb:
Notice that some verbs may take adjectives to complete the meaning required (complementary adjectives). These verbs cannot form a complete thought without the required adjectives:
Special care must be taken with the adjective likely. It is often mistaken for an adverb because of its form, but this is not an acceptable usage. For example:
Like, with its opposite unlike, should be treated as an adjective or a preposition; that is, it must always have a noun to relate to. A predicate is formed with the verb to be:
Used in the form of a phrase, like will link two nouns (or noun phrases) of the same kind. In this case, like functions as a preposition, a phrase-maker, and it is categorized so in some grammar books.
In the above example, like is used to introduce similarity between two items or persons. This is an accepted usage in Sentence Correction on the GMAT. In other words, like cannot be used to introduce examples or a subset of a category, which should be used following such as.
In sum, on the GMAT, use like before a noun or pronoun when emphasizing similar characteristics between two persons, groups or things. Use such as before a noun or phrase when introducing examples.
Use like before a noun or pronoun. Use as before a clause, adverb or prepositional phrase. Use as if and as though before a clause. Like is generally used as a preposition in such a context. As is generally used as an adverb while sometimes serving as a preposition with the meaning of "in the capacity of". As you can tell, the focus of the comparison shifts from the noun when used with like to the verb when used with as, as if, or as though.
The same rule applies when you use the expressions seem likeand look like.
Here the comparison is with a clause, not a noun.
Due to is also used adjectivally, and must have a noun to attach itself to:
(That is, the failure was attributable to the long-term illness, not the disappointment, which would have had other causes, such as the failure.)
If an adverbial link is needed, the expression owing to has lost its exclusively adjectival quality:
(In this case, the disappointment at the failure was caused by the long-term illness during the semester.)
Prepositions are words that are placed before a noun making a particular relationship between it and the word to which it is attached.