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English definition of “noun”


noun [C]     /naʊn/
A2 a word that refers to a person , place , thing, event , substance , or quality : ' Doctor ', ' tree ', ' party ', ' coal ' and ' beauty ' are all nouns.Parts of speech Grammar:NounsNouns are one of the four major word classes, along with verbs, adjectives and adverbs. Nouns are the largest word class.Grammar:Types of nounsA noun refers to a person, animal or thing. Some examples are:Grammar:Identifying nounsIt is not always possible to identify a noun by its form. However, some word endings can show that the word is probably a noun.Grammar:Nouns: compound nounsSome nouns consist of more than one word. These are compound nouns. Compound nouns can be formed in different ways. The most common way is to put two nouns together (noun + noun); other common types are adjective + noun and verb + noun.Grammar:Nouns: countable and uncountableGrammar:Countable nounsSome nouns refer to things which, in English, are treated as separate items which can be counted. These are called countable nouns. Here are some examples:Grammar:Uncountable nounsIn English grammar, some things are seen as a whole or mass. These are called uncountable nouns, because they cannot be separated or counted.Grammar:Countable and uncountable nouns with different meaningsSome nouns can be used either countably or uncountably, but with different meanings.Grammar:Uncountable nouns used countablyGrammar:Nouns: formGrammar:Singular and plural nounsNouns can be either singular or plural. Singular means just one of the person, animal or thing which the noun refers to. Plural means more than one.Grammar:Forming the plural of nounsThe rules for making the plural of nouns depend on the spelling and pronunciation. Most nouns form their plural by adding -s:Grammar:Nouns: forming nouns from other wordsWe often form nouns from other parts of speech, most commonly from a verb or an adjective. We can then use the noun phrase instead of the verb or adjective to create a more formal style. We call this nominalisation:Grammar:Nouns: singular and pluralGrammar:Nouns used only in the singularSome nouns are used only in the singular, even though they end in -s. These include: the names of academic subjects such as classics, economics, mathematics/maths, physics; the physical activities gymnastics and aerobics; the diseases measles and mumps; and the word news:Grammar:Nouns used only in the pluralSome nouns only have a plural form. They cannot be used with numbers. They include the names of certain tools, instruments and articles of clothing which have two parts.Grammar:Collective nouns (group words)Some nouns refer to groups of people (e.g. audience, committee, government, team). These are sometimes called collective nouns. Some collective nouns can take a singular or plural verb, depending on whether they are considered as a single unit or as a collection of individuals:Grammar:Nouns and genderMost English nouns do not have grammatical gender. Nouns referring to people do not have separate forms for men (male form) and women (female form). However, some nouns traditionally had different forms. Nowadays, people usually prefer more neutral forms.Grammar:Nouns and prepositionsMany nouns have particular prepositions which normally follow them. Here are some common examples:Grammar:Noun phrasesA noun phrase consists of a noun or pronoun, which is called the head, and any dependent words before or after the head. Dependent words give specific information about the head.Grammar:Noun phrases: dependent wordsIn a noun phrase, dependent words before the head are either determiners (e.g. the, my, some) or premodifiers (e.g. adjectives). Dependent words after the head are either complements or postmodifiers.Grammar:Noun phrases: determiners (a, the, my, his, some, this, etc.)Determiners come first in a noun phrase (e.g. the big black car). They include:Grammar:Noun phrases: premodifiers (big, good, red)Premodifiers consist of single adjectives, adjective phrases, single nouns and noun phrases which are used before the head in a noun phrase.Grammar:Noun phrases: complementsComplements come immediately after the head in a noun phrase. They are prepositional phrases or clauses which are necessary to complete the meaning of the noun. Without the complement, we wouldn’t understand what the noun was referring to.Grammar:Noun phrases: postmodifiersPostmodifiers come after the head in a noun phrase. They consist of adverb phrases, prepositional phrases and clauses. Postmodifiers give extra or specific information about the noun (e.g. place, possession, identifying features). Unlike complements, they are not necessary to complete the meaning.Grammar:Noun phrases: complements or postmodifiers?Complements are necessary to complete the meaning of a noun. Postmodifiers are not necessary; they give extra information about the noun which helps to identify it or locate it in some way. (The complement and the postmodifier are underlined below.)Grammar:Noun phrases: orderBefore the head of a noun phrase, determiners come first, then adjectives, then nouns acting as modifiers. The spoken stress is normally on the head.Grammar:Noun phrases: usesGrammar:Noun phrases: noun phrases and verbsGrammar:Noun phrases: two noun phrases togetherWe can put two noun phrases (np) together to refer to the same person or thing. This is called apposition:
(Definition of noun noun from the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
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