The Parts of Speech


The Parts of Speech;  THE NOUN:

A Noun is a word used as the name of a person, place, or thing.

Note: The word thing is used to mean anything that we can think of.

Look at the following sentence:

Babur was a wise king.

The noun Babur refers to a particular king, but the noun king might be applied to any other king as well as to Babur. We call Babur a Proper Noun, and king a Common Noun.


Saima is a Proper Noun, while the girl is a Common Noun.

Hamid is a Proper Noun, while a boy is a common NOun,

Faisalabad is a Proper Noun, while the city is a Common noun

The word girl is a Common Noun, because it is a name common to all girls, while Saima is a Proper Noun because it is the name of a particular girl.

Def.—A Common Noun is a name given in common to every person or thing of the same class or kind.

( common here means shared by all.)

Def.—A Proper Noun is the name of some particular person or place.

[Proper means one’s own. Hence a Proper Name is a person’s  own name.]

Note 1: Proper Nouns are always written with a capital letter at the beginning.

Note 2: Proper Nouns are sometimes used as Common Nouns; such as,

  • He was the Lukman( = the wisest man) of his age.
  • He is the Newton( =the famous scientist) of our class

Common Nouns include what are called Collective Nouns and Abstract Nouns.


A Collective noun is the name of a number ( or collection) of persons or things taken together and spoken of as one whole; as,

Crowd, mob team, flock, herd, army, fleet, jury, family, nation, parliament, committee.

A fleet= a collection of ships or vessels.

An army = a collection of soldiers.

A crow= a collection of people.

The police dispersed the crowd.

The French army was defeated at Waterloo.

The jury found the prisoner guilty.

herd of cattle is passing.


An Abstract noun is usually the name of a quality, action, or state considered apart from the object to which it belongs; such as.

Quality: Goodness, kindness, whiteness, darkness, hardness, brightness, honesty, wisdom, bravery.

Action: Laughter, theft, movement, judgment, hatred,

State: Childhood, boyhood, youth, slavery, sleep, sickness, death, poverty.

The names of the Arts and Sciences ( e.g., grammar, music, chemistry, etc.) are also Abstract Nouns.

[we can speak of a brave soldier, a strong man, a beautiful flower. But we can also think of these qualities apart from any particular person or thing, and speak of bravery, strength, and beauty by themselves. So also we can speak of what persons do or feel apart from the persons themselves, and give it a name. The word abstract means drawn off.]

Abstract Nouns are formed:

From  Adjectives; such as:

Kindness from kind; honesty from honest.

[Most abstract nouns are formed thus.]

From Verbs; such as

Obedience from obey; growth from grow.

From Common Nouns; such as,

Childhood from a child; slavery from the slave.

Another Classification of nouns is whether they ae “countable” or “uncountable”.

Countable nouns ( or constables) are the names of objects, people, etc. that we can count, e.g,. book, pen, apple, boy, sister, doctor, horse.

Uncountable nouns ( or uncountables) are the names of things that we cannot count, e.g,. milk, oil, sugar, gold, honesty. They mainly denote substances and abstract things.

Countable nouns have plural forms while uncountable nouns do not.

For example, we say ” books” but we cannot say “milks”.


You know that living things are either h=the male or female. 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.


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


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


A noun that denotes a thing that is neither male nor female ( i.e., a 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,

The Sun, Summer, Winter, Time, and Death.

The sun sheds its 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, and Charity.

The moon has spread her mantle of green over the earth.

Peace hath her victories no less renowned than war.

This use is most common in poetry but certain nouns are personified in prose too. A ship is often spoken of as she: as,

The ship lost all her boats in the storm.


1: There are three ways of forming the Feminine of Nouns:

i) By using an entirely different word; as

Masculine Feminine
Bachelor Maid (old use) spinster
Boy Girls
Brother Sister
Buck Doe
Bull (or ox) Cow
Bullock Heifer
Cock Hen
Colt Gilly
Dog Bitch
Drake Duck
Drone Bee
Earl Countess
Father Mother
Gander Goose
Gentleman Lady
Hart Roe
Horse Mare
Husband Wife
King Queen

2: By adding a syllable ( -ess, -ine, -triz, -a, etc) as,

Masculine Feminine
Author Authoress
Baron Baroness
Count Countess
Giant Giantess
Heir Heiress
Host Hostess
Jew Jewess
Lion Lioness
Manager Manageress
Mayor Mayoress
Patron Patroness
Peer Peeress
Poet Poetess
Priest Priestess
Shepherd Shepherdess
Steward Stewardess
Tiger Tigress
Viscount viscountess

[Note that in the following -ess is added after dropping the vowel of the masculine ending]

Masculine Feminine
Actor Actress
Benefactor Benefactress
Conductor Conductress
Enchanter Enchantress
Founder Foundress
Hunter Huntress
Instructor Instructress
Negro Negress
Abbot Abbess
Abbot Abbess
Duke Duchess
Emperor Empress
Preceptor Preceptress
Prince Princess
Songster Songstress
Tempter Temptress
Seamster Seamstress
Tiger tigress

Note. The suffix -ess is the commonest suffix used to form feminine nouns, from the masculine, and is the one which we now use in forming a new feminine noun.

Masculine Feminine
Hero Heroine
Testator Testatrix
Czar Czarina
Sultan Sultana
Signor Signora
Fox vixen

3: By placing a word before or after; as,

Masculine Feminine
Grandfather Grandmother
Greatuncle Greataunt
Manservant Maidservant
Landlord Landlady
Milkman Milkwoman
Peacock peahen



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

Tree       Trees                        Box       Boxes

Ox           Oxen                       Man       Men

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

A Noun that denotes one person or thing, is said to be in the Singular Number; as,

Boy, girls, cows, birds, trees, books, pens.

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


2:The Plural of nouns is generally formed by adding -s to the singular; as,

boy, boys;                                   girls, girls;                           book, books;

pen, pens;                               desk, desks;                           cow, cows;

But Nouns ending in -s, -sh, -ch(soft), or -x form the plural by adding -es to the singular; as,

class, classes                          kiss, kisses;                       dish, dishes;

brush, brushes;                      match, matches;                 watch, watches;

branches, branches;              tax, taxes                             box, echoes;

Most Nouns ending in -o also form the plural by adding -es to the singular; as,

buffalo, buffaloes;                    mango, mangoes;                  hero, heroes;

potato, potatoes;                      cargo, cargoes,                    echo, echoes;

negro, negroes;                        volcano, volcanoes.

A few nouns ending in -o merely add -s, as,

dynamo, dynamos;                   solo, solos;                   ratio, ratios;

canto, cantos;                         memento, mementos;            quarto, quaros;

piano, pianos;                          photo, photos;                        stereo, steros.

kilo, kilos;                      logo, logos;                    commando,commandos

Nouns ending in -y , preceded by a consonant, form their plural by changing -y into -i and adding -es; as,

baby, babies;                  lady, ladies;         city, cities;

army, armies;                  story, stories;       pony, ponies.

The following nouns ending in -f or -fe form their plural by changing -f or -fe into v and adding -es ;as,

thief, thieves               wife, wives;              wolf, wolves;

life, lives;                 calf, claves                    leaf, leaves;

loaf, loaves;               knife, knives;               shelf, shelves.

half, halves;               elf, elves;                     self, selves

sheaf, sheaves

The nouns dwarf, hoof, scarf, and wharf take either -s or -ves in the plural.

dwarfs or dwarves;                 hoofs or hooves;                   scarfs or scarves;

wharfs or wharves

Other words ending in -f for -fe add -s ; as,

chief, chiefs;               safe, safes;           proof, proofs,

gulf, gulfs;               cliff, cliffs;              handkerchief, handkerchiefs

3: A few nouns form their plural by changing the inside vowel of the singular; as,

man, men;            woman, women;          foot, feet;               tooth,teeth;

goose, geese;        mouse, mice;             louse, lice.

4: There are a few nouns that form  their plural by adding -en to the singular; as,

ox, oxen;                    child, children.

The plural of fish is fish or fishes. In current English fish is the usual plural. Fishes can be used to refer to different kinds of fish.

5:Some nouns have the singular and the plural alike; as,

sheep, deer, cod, trout, salmon; aircraft, spacecraft, series, species. pair, dozen, score, hundred, thousand ( when used after numerals).

  • I bought three dozen oranges.
  • Some people reach the age of three scores and ten.
  • The dress cost me five thousand rupees.
  • Stone, hundredweight.
  • He weighs above nine stone.
  • Twenty hundred weights make one ton.

6: Some nouns are used only in the plural.

 Name of instruments which have two parts forming a kind of pair; as

Bellows, scissors, tongs, pincers, spectacles.

Name of certain articles of dress; as,

Trousers, drawers, breeches, jeans, tights, shorts, pajamas

Certain other nouns; such as,

Annal, thanks, proceeds ( of a sale), tidings, environs, nuptials, obsequies, assets, chattels.

 7: Some nouns originally singular are now generally used in the plural; such as,

Alms, riches, eaves.

Riches do many things.

8: The following nouns look plural but are in fact singular:

Names of subjects:    mathematics, physics, electronics, etc.

the word news

Names of some common diseases:      measles, mumps, rickets

Names of some games:         Billiards, draughts.

  • Mathematics is his favorite study.
  • No news is good news.
  • Pakistan won by an inning and three runs.
  • Measles is infectious.
  • Billiards is my favorite game.

‘Means’ is used either as singular or plural. But when it has the meaning of ‘wealth’ it is always plural; as,

He succeeded by this means ( or, by these means ) in passing the examination.

His means are small, but he has incurred no debt.

9: Certain collective nouns, though singular in form, are always used as plurals; as,

Poultry, cattle, vermin, people, gentry.

  • These poultry are mine.
  • Whose are these cattle?
  • Vermin destroy our property and carry disease.
  • Who are those people( = persons)?
  • There are few gentry in this town.

Note: As a common noun ‘people means a nation and is used in both singular and plural; as

  • The Japanese are hard-working people.
  • There are many different peoples in Europe.

10: A compound Noun generally forms its plural by adding -s to the principal word; as,

Commander-in-chief           commanders-in-chief

Coat-of -mail                        coats-of-mail

son-in-law                           sons-in-law

Daughter-in-law                 daughters-in-law

Step son                             stepsons

Stepdaughter                     stepdaughters

Maidservant                      maidservants(but manservant, plural men servants)

Passer-by                           passers-by

Looker-on                           lookers-on

Man-of.war                           men-of-war.

We say spoonfuls and handfuls because spoonfuls and handfuls are regarded as one word.

Note that the Proper Nouns Asian and African are not compounds of man; therefore their plurals are Asians and Africans.

11: Many nouns taken from foreign languages keep their original plural form; as,

From Latin:

Erratum, errata;                     formula, formuale( or formulas);

index, indices                   memorandum, memoranda;

radius, radii;                      terminus, termini ( or terminuses);

From Greek:

Axis , axes;                        parenthesis, parentheses;

Crisis , crises;                    hypotheses, hypotheses;

basis, bases;                    phenomenon, phenomena;

analysis, analyses;           criterion, criteria.

From Italian:

Bandit, banditti, (or bandits)

From French:

Madame (madam), mesdames: monsieur, messieurs.

From Hebrew:

Cherub, cherubim ( or cherubs); seraph, seraphim ( or seraphs).

12: Some nouns have two forms for the plural, each with a somewhat different meaning.

Singular Plural
Brother Brothers, sons of the same parent. Brethren, members of a society or a community
Cloth Clothes, kinds or pieces of cloth.
Die Dies, stamps for coining
Index Indexes, tables of contents to books indices, and signs used in algebra.
Penny Pennies, number of coins. pence amount in value.


13: Some nouns have two meanings in the singular but one in the plural.

Singular Plural
Light = radiance;

=a lamp.

Lights =lamps
People= nation

=men and women.

Powder= dust;

=a dose of medicine in fine grains like dust

Powders= doses of medicine.

14: Some nouns have one meaning in the singular, and two in the plural.

for example:

Singular Plural
Colour= hue Colours= hues

= the flag of a regiment/

Custom= habit; Customs= Habits;

=duties levied on imports.

Effect=result; Effects=results



15: Some nouns have different meanings in the singular and the plural.

Air: atmosphere.               Airs: affected manners.

Good: benefit, well-being           Goods: merchandise.

Compass: extent, range.             Compasses: an instrument for drawing circles.

Respect: regard                          Respects: compliments

Physic: medicine                          Physics: natural science

Iron: a kind of metal.                   Iron: fetters.

Force: strength                            Forces: troops.

16: Letters, figures, and other symbols are made plural by adding an apostrophe and s; as,

  • There are more e’s than a’s in this page.
  • Dot your i’s and cross your t’s.
  • Add two 5’s and four 2’s

17: It is usual to say.

The Miss Smiths, love, kindness.

18: Abstract Nouns have no plural. They are uncountable.

Hope, charity, love, kindness.

when such words do appear in the plural, they are used as countable; as

Provacations= instances or cases of provocation.

Kindnesses= acts of kindness.

Names of substances are also uncountables and are not therefore used in the plural.

Copper, iron, tin, wood.

When such words are used in the plural, they become countable with changed meanings; as,

Coppers=  copper coins; irons=fetters;

tins- cans made of tin; woods= forests.



1 ) Read the following sentences:-

  1. Areeba is a clever girl. (Girl of what kind?)
  2. I don’t like that boy. (Which boy?)
  3. He gave me five mangoes. (How many mangoes?)
  4. There is little time for preparation. (How much time?)

In sentence 1, ‘clever’ shows what kind of girl Areeba is; or, in other words, ‘clever’ describe the girl Areeba.

In sentence 2, ‘that’ points out which boy is meant.

In sentence 3, ‘five’ shows how many mangoes he gave me.

In sentence 4, ‘little’ shows how much time there is for preparation.

A word used with a noun to describe or point out, the person, animal, place, or thing which the noun names, or to tell the number or quantity, is called an ADJECTIVE.

So we may define an Adjective as a word used with a noun to add something to its meaning.

[Adjective means added to.]

2) Look at the following sentences:-

  1. The lazy boy was punished.
  2. The boy is lazy.

In sentence 1, the Adjective lazy is used along with the noun boy as an epithet or attribute, it is, therefore said to be used attributively.

In sentence 2, the Adjective lazy is used along with the verb is, and forms part of the Predicate. It is, therefore, said to be used predicatively.

Some Adjectives can be used only predicatively: as,

She is afraid of ghosts

I am quite well.


Adjectives may be divided into the following classes:-

1: Adjectives of Quality ( or Descriptive Adjective ) show the kind or quality of a person or thing,; as,

  • Karachi is a large city.
  • He is an honest man.
  • The foolish old crow tried to sing.
  • This is a Grammar of the English language.

[ Adjectives formed from Proper Nouns ( e.g, Italian cheese, Turkish tobacco, Chinese food, etc,) are sometimes called Proper Adjectives. They are generally classed with Adjectives or Quality.]

Adjectives of Quality answer the question: Of what kind?

2: Adjectives of Quantity show how much of a thing is meant; as,

  • I ate some rice.
  • He showed much patience.
  • He has little intelligence.
  • We have had enough exercise.
  • He has lost all his wealth.
  • You have no sense.
  • He did not eat any rice.
  • Take great care of your health.
  • He claimed his half share of the booty.
  • There has not been sufficient rain this year.
  • The whole sum was expended.

Adjectives of Quantity answer the question: HOW MUCH?



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