Nouns

Nouns and verbs are probably the two most important parts of speech in English. The core of every sentence is a noun (or pronoun) and a verb.

We generally learn that a noun names a person, place, thing, or idea.

Nouns for People

Here are examples of a noun naming a person:

John Lennon

Queen Elizabeth

Sarah

Jeff

my girlfriend

parents

the winner

an American

Notice that in English some nouns for people’s names and titles, start with a capital letter. These are called proper nouns. Notice that some other nouns require words like an, a, and the before them. These are called articles.

Nouns for Places

Other nouns name places. Many of these are proper nouns, too, particularly names of countries, cities, states, mountains, bodies of water:

America

Zimbabwe

New York City

Delhi

Mecca

The Himalayas

Lake Michigan

Niagara Falls

But other nouns for places are common nouns and do not need a capital letter:

my house

the kitchen

a park

Nouns for Things

Nouns can also be things, physical objects, stuff.

rice

my car

his foot

the chair

shirts

Some things are also proper nouns, if the are famous and unique:

The Hope Diamond

The Mona Lisa

War and Peace

Ginseng English

Nouns for Ideas

Finally, nouns often name ideas, abstract concepts. These are like things, but they are not physical, you cannot touch or see them.

democracy

hope

happiness

hunger

English

Singular and Plural forms of Nouns

In English we change the form of a noun to show if we are talking about just one thing (singular) or many things (plural). For most nouns, the plural form simply adds -s to the end of the word. For example, we say a car or one car, but we say two cars, three cars, many cars.

 

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3 Types of -ing Verb

Ready for some challenging academic grammar?

English grammar can be difficult because sometimes the same word works differently in different situations. This is true for -ing verbs, which can do three different things.  

Let's look at the 3 types:

Three types of -ing verb

Three types of -ing verb

CONTINUOUS VERBS

The man is walking.

This is the most basic one: a present continuous verb. The subject in the sentence is "man" and "is walking" tells us what he is doing right now. If you see an -ing verb after a be verb (am, is, are, was, were), it is probably a continuous verb.

Another name for continuous verbs is progressive verbs.  Continuous and progressive mean the same thing.


PARTICIPIAL ADJECTIVES

The walking man lives with my friend Paul.

The man walking across the street lives with my friend Paul.

In both of these sentences, walking  works like an adjective, not a verb. Walking describes the man, and the verb in the sentence is lives. When an -ing verb describes a noun, we call it a participial adjectiveParticipial adjectives can come before or after the noun, but it is more common to put them after the noun. 

Read a little more about participial adjectives here.


GERUNDS

The man likes walking.

In this sentence, we have a subject: the man. We have a verb: likes . What is the -ing verb here? It's the thing that the man likes. What does he like? Walking. Walking is the object of like. What are some other things you can like? Sports, travel, English. All nouns. Object of verbs are nouns, so walking is acting as a noun here. That's what a gerund is: an -ing verb that works like a noun. 


More free English resources

 

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Pronouns in English

What is a Pronoun?

A pronoun is a word that takes the place of a noun. Pronouns are important in English. They are some of the first ones we learn: I, you, she, it. There are different kinds of pronouns for different: subject pronouns, object pronouns, possessive pronouns, and reflexive pronouns. Instead of Sara, we can say she. Instead of those guys, we can say them. Instead of the sun, we can say it.


Why do we use pronouns?

One reason that we use pronouns is to avoid repetition. Think about this example:

Look at this beautiful table. The table is gorgrous. The table has a red top and the table's legs are steel. I really want to buy the table.

The table, the table, the table, the table—aaaaaaah 😱😡😶. We don't like this kind of repetition in English. Instead of tabletabletable, we usually say table once, and after that, we use a pronoun, like it. Look how much nicer this example is:

Look at this beautiful table. It is gorgeous. It has a red top and its legs are steel. I really want to buy it.

Simpler and cleaner! That's why we use pronouns, but now let's look at all the different kinds of pronouns there are!


Different English Pronouns

In English, we use different pronouns to show grammatical person, gender, and singular/plural distinctions.

For example, if the person speaking is talking about themself, we call this the first person.  If they are talking about themself alone, we say it is singular (only one person). Singular first person pronouns include I, me, mine, etc. If the person is talking about a group of people that includes themself, this is the first person plural (more than one person). Plural first person pronouns include we, us, ours, etc. 

English Pronoun Chart

Second person pronouns are used to talk about the person you are speaking to. These include you, yours, yourself, etc.

Third person pronouns are used to talk about people who are not either the speaker or the listener. They include he, she, it, they, them, etc. When we use third person pronouns, we can distinguish between genders. For example, she, her, and hers are used to talk about women, and he, him, and his talk about men. They, them, and their can be used as gender-neutral pronouns, either because you don't want or need to specify a gender, or because someone prefers non-gendered pronouns. For inanimate objects—things that are not people—we use it, its, and itself.

Jump to a section:

Subject
Pronouns
Object
Pronouns
Possessive
Pronouns
Possessive
Determiners
Reflexive
Pronouns

SUBJECT PRONOUNS

The first pronouns we learn are subject pronouns. Almost every sentence has a subject. The subject is the word before the verb. Generally, the subject of the sentence is the person or thing that does the verb. 

The tiger sleeps a lot.

In this example, the verb is sleeps, and the subject is tiger. Who sleeps? The tiger does. The subject usually tells us who or what does the action. We have a special set of pronouns that we use to be the subject of a sentence. The table below lists the most common subject pronouns.

 
Subject Pronouns in English
Singular Plural
1st person I we
2nd person you you
3rd person she they
he
it

We cannot say Me like candy or Him have a cat. Me and him are the wrong type of pronouns. We need to use subject pronouns, like in these examples:

I like movies.

Do you like movies?

Invite Clara. She likes movies.

He likes movies, too!

We like watching movies on weekends.

Before a verb, to express who or what does the action in a sentence, use a subject pronoun.


OBJECT PRONOUNS

Almost all verbs have a subject, but only some have an object. The object of a verb is the thing that receives an action. For example, you wouldn't just say, I want, right? You need to want something.

I want a hamburger.

I want a job.

I want a girlfriend.

Hamburger, job, and girlfriend are objects. Notice that objects generally come after the verb in the sentence. We use object pronouns to represent objects in sentences. This table lists the most common object pronouns:

 
Object Pronouns in English
Singular Plural
1st person me us
2nd person you you
3rd person her them
him
it

Here are some examples of sentences using object pronouns:

That hamburger looks delicious. I want it.

Who is that girl? I think I know her.

You can have these books if you want them.

Can I help you?

My teacher hates me!

In all the examples above, the pronouns are the objects of a verb. We use the same set of object pronouns as the objects of prepositions, as you can see in these examples:

My grandmother gave that to me.

I've been getting weird texts from her.

We've heard so much about you!

After a verb or a preposition, you generally want to use an object pronoun.


POSSESSIVE PRONOUNS

To possess something is to own or have that thing. If I have a car, we can say that car is my possession. We can say, That car is mine. Mine is a pronoun in this sentence. It represents the car, the thing that I possess. Mine is a possessive pronoun. Here is a chart with the most common possessive pronouns:

 
Possessive Pronouns in English
Singular Plural
1st person mine ours
2nd person yours yours
3rd person hers theirs
his
its

Here are some example sentences with possessive pronouns:

That car is hers.

This is my drink. That one is yours.

All the coats are in a big messy pile. I can't find mine!

As you can see, possessive pronouns can be used to talk about things that belong to specific people.


POSSESSIVE DETERMINERS

Possessive determiners (also called possessive adjectives) are not actually pronouns, but it's a good idea to learn them at the same time, because they are very similar to possessive pronouns. The difference is that possessive determiners can not replace nouns; they come before nouns to tell us whose they are. If someone asks, Whose iPad is this? you could answer with a possessive pronoun: It's mine. But you could also use a possessive determiner:

That's my iPad.

With a possessive determiner, it is important to include a noun after. Just saying That is my. would by wrong. Here is a list of the most common possessive determiners.

 
Possessive Determiners in English
Singular Plural
1st person my our
2nd person your your
3rd person her their
his
its

And here are some examples of possessive determiners in sentences:

Sorry, I have to take this call. It's my son.

Cheryl is at her English class.

We lost our baseball game.

Please take off your shoes.

Can you believe they lost their homework again?


REFLEXIVE PRONOUNS

So we have talked about subjects and objects, right? Subjects are the people or things that do the action in the verb, and objects are the people or things that receive the action. Sometimes, those are the same person, right? For example, if I cut my finger, I hurt someone. The someone I hurt is me (ouch!). But in English we don't say I hurt me. We have special pronouns for the object in this situation, and they are called reflexive pronouns.

Here is a table of the most common reflexive pronouns in English:

 
Reflexive Pronouns in English
Singular Plural
1st person myself ourselves
2nd person yourself yourselves
3rd person herself themselves
himself
itself

And here are some examples of reflexive pronouns used in sentences:

Clara taught herself English.

Don't play with that knife. You will hurt yourself.

The kids are entertaining themselves in the yeard.

Oh, nothing. I'm just talking to myself.

After a couple of days, the problem fixed itself.


Complete Pronoun Chart

Here is a complete table of all the pronouns discussed in this post. There are still some other types of pronouns, however. Demonstrative pronouns and relative pronouns, for example, are usually studied separately.

Pronouns in English
Subject Object Possessive Pronoun Possessive Determiner Reflexive

Singular

1st Person I me mine my myself
2nd Person you you yours your yourself
3rd person Fem she her hers her herself
Masc he him his his himself
Neut they they theirs their themself
Inan it it its its itself

Plural

1st Person we us ours our ourselves
2nd Person you you yours your yourselves
3rd Person they them theirs their themselves
Impersonal one one one's one's oneself
 

Pronombres en Inglés

Pronomes pessoais em inglês

الضمائر في الانجليزية

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Parts of Speech in English

Parts of Speech in English

Parts of Speech in English

If you’re looking for the parts of speech in English grammar, you’ve come to the right place!

There are a total of 9 parts of speech in English: nouns, pronouns, verbs, adverbs, adjectives, articles, prepositions, conjunctions, and interjections.

Read on for a brief explanation of each!


Nouns

Lots of teachers say a noun is a person, place, or thing! You should also add ideas to that list. Proper nouns in English start with a capital letter, but other nouns do not.

Nouns in English can be singular or plural. to form a regular plural, we simply add -s or -es to the end of a noun. Irregular plurals do not follow this rule.


Pronouns

Pronouns are used to stand in place for a noun, because in English we don’t like to repeat nouns again and again. The noun that a pronoun refers back to is called its antecedent. Examples of common pronouns in English are he, she, it, him, her, mine, this, that, myself. Pronouns in English change form to show, for example, whether they are singular or plural, subjects or objects, male or female or neither.

Here is a complete article on pronouns in English.


Verbs

Verbs are words we use to talk about actions, states, and occurrences (things that happen). Many people would say that nouns and verbs are the most important and useful parts of speech in any language.

The main verb in a sentence has a subject, generally a noun or pronoun referring to the person or thing that the sentence is about. For example, in the sentence Maria walks, the verb is walks and the subject is Maria.

Verbs can change form to ‘agree with’ their subject.

Here is a list of the most common verbs in English.

Here is a complete guide to the English verb tenses.


Adjectives

Adjectives are words that describe, or modify, nouns. They generally (but not always) come before nouns. In the following phrases, the adjectives are in bold:

a big party some terrible news the best pizza an interesting idea a really strong leader

For more information, check out our list of the most common adjectives in English.


Adverbs

Like adjectives, adverbs are describing words. But while adjectives describe only nouns, adverbs can describe verbs, adjectives, other adverbs, or entire sentences.

Because adverbs are so versatile, it is hard to say much that applies to all adverbs generally. They can appear at different places in the sentence: at the beginning, before a verb, before an adjective, after a verb, or at the end of a sentence. Many adjectives can be transformed into adverbs by adding the suffix -ly: slow becomes slowly, eventual becomes eventually, stupid becomes stupidly, etc.

One of the most basic types of adverbs are adverbs of frequency. Click through to read more about those.


Articles

The articles in English are a, an (indefinite articles) and the (definite article). Articles can be really tricky, but the basic idea is that we use indefinite articles when we are introducing a new noun to our listeners, and we use definite articles to refer to a specific object that our listeners already know about.


Prepositions

Prepositions are, to put it simply, words that are placed before (pre-position) nouns or pronouns to connect them to other parts of speech in a sentence. There are different types of preposition that give different types of information: prepositions of time, prepositions of place, prepositions of direction.


Conjunctions

Conjunctions are words that connect. They can connect, for example, a list of nouns in a series. But most of the time, when we are talking about conjunctions, we are talking about connecting one clause to another clause in the same sentence. There are two types of conjunctions: coordinating conjunctions and subordinating conjunctions.

Coordinating Conjunctions

Coordinating conjunctions connect two clauses of equal importance into what we call a compound sentence. There are not many coordinating conjunctions. You can remember them with the acronym FANBOYS: for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so.

Subordinating Conjunctions

When we connect clauses using subordinating conjunctions, we are giving one clause more importance than the other. The less important clause is called a subordinate clause. Two or more clauses combined with subordinating conjunctions are called a complex sentence. Some common subordinating conjunctions are because, although, before, since, when, while, and if.


Interjections

Interjections are funny words. They are sort of the black sheep of English grammar. They are not connected to the other words in a sentence (they are inter-jected, put in between, the other words). Generally they add emotion to a sentence: ouch, wow, hmm, oops, well, geez.

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For and Since in English

For and since are two English prepositions that we can use to talk about time in English. They are similar, but we use them a little differently (Be careful! For and since have other meanings as well).


Which verb tenses do we use with for and since

We can use these words with many different verb tenses, especially these ones:

Many learners try to use for and since with the simple present, but this is usually an error:

I am living in Medellin since 2011

I study English for 3 hours

There are some exceptions, but generally you want to use the present perfect or present perfect continuous in to describe an action or situation that started in the past and is still true:

I have lived in Medellin since 2011

I have been studying English for 3 hours


The Difference Between For and Since

Here is the important difference between for and since: We use for with an amount of time, but we use since with a point in time.


Using For

We use for to express an amount of time (we could also call this a period or time or a duration). Here are some examples of for with amounts of time:

for two years

for 3 hours

for a week

for a long time

for a little while

for centuries

for ages

for as long as I can remember


Using Since

We use since with a point in time, the time when an action or situation began.

since last week

since Monday

since December 11

since September

since 1984

since Thanksgiving

since last fall

since I was born


Ago

Ago is a useful word for changing most durations into points in time. That is, two years is a duration and we use it with for. But if we add ago, two years ago is a point in time, and we can say since two years ago. Here are some examples with ago:

since five years ago

since 3 hours ago

since a week ago

Note that using since with ago is a little informal, and better for speaking than formal writing.

Chart For and Since with Verbs in English

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Past Perfect Continuous Tense

The present perfect continuous is an important verb form for talking about recent events and their durations. Read about the rules for using the present perfect continuous tense, how we form it, and tons of example sentences!

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Idioms About Winter

We have to make decisions every day, but sometimes it’s so hard to just make up your mind! If you’re on the fence about a big decision, then these idioms might help your thought process! (Or at least help you procrastinate making a difficult decision😂)

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Study Off the Beaten Track in the US

When considering where to study abroad in the US, the first places that come to most international student’s minds are New York City, Boston, Los Angeles, and maybe Chicago, but there is so much more to America! Take a look at these brief descriptions of weird and wacky American cities and see if any of them might be your cup of tea.

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Future Continuous Tense

The future continuous is a rare but challenging verb form in English. It is used to describe actions that will be in progress at a specific point in the future. Read about the rules for using the future continuous tense and how we form it, with charts and over 25 example sentences!

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Idioms About Making Decisions

We have to make decisions every day, but sometimes it’s so hard to just make up your mind! If you’re on the fence about a big decision, then these idioms might help your thought process! (Or at least help you procrastinate making a difficult decision😂)

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English Idioms about Competition

They say some friendly competition never hurt anyone. In fact, sometimes, people even thrive on a little competition! If you’re one of these people, these idioms about competition might come in handy…

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Black and White Idioms

Today we bring you a variety of English idioms featuring black and white images to help you visualize the meanings, along with sample sentences and definitions!

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