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Nouns - Definition, examples, and exceptions

Nouns


Any questions? Ask in the TestMagic Forum!

Examples: house, dog, you, me, idea, dream, happiness

Nouns are arguably the second most important part of speech in English--verbs are probably the most important. Every language has nouns, so it's not so difficult to understand them, but there are a few things about nouns that you should know.

In this grammar lesson:


Grammar Rule for Nouns

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a noun is:


a person, place, thing, or idea

 

If you can read this page, you probably already understand nouns pretty well, so we'll try to teach you something that you might not know and that is important for the TOEFL, GMAT, SAT II: Writing, and other standardized tests that test your English.

Special note about pronouns: You should also be aware that TestMagic does NOT adhere to the traditional system of classifying parts of speech--in the traditional system of classifying parts of speech, nouns and pronouns are placed into two separate groups. There is a certain logic for this division that makes perfect sense, but in our years of teaching, we have learned that our students can raise their scores faster if we include many (but not all!) pronouns in the set of nouns. For example, according to the TestMagic system, I, me, she, him, them, and us are considered nouns.

Tricky Grammar Relating to Nouns!

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Many nouns can function as adjectives. For example, if we talk about dog food, and we try to figure out the part of speech of dog, we might want to say that it is a noun. Actually, it is a noun if you look at it by itself, but at TestMagic, we say that it is "a noun functioning as an adjective" in that instance.

Some people will call a noun in this position a noun modifier, and it is also correct to say this. And some people will call all the nouns together a compound noun--a series of nouns together to form one noun phrase. Even though different teachers use different methods to explain, the concept is still the same--sometimes a noun can come before another noun to modify it.

Here are some more examples of this structure:

  • university bookstore
  • Stanford Univeristy bookstore
  • drug addiction
  • telephone company
  • videocassette recorder

And of course, there are thousands of others!

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