Saturday, September 8, 2012

A noun is a naming word

I overheard a group of young women trying to answer some questions the other day. Some of them were quite confused about what a noun, a verb, an adjective etc actually was.
Here in Australia, grammar was pretty much not taught in schools for almost twenty years, as it was thought to be too constricting, preventing young people from being creative and attempting to write. So now we have a generation of highly creative people who can’t spell and have no idea of grammar, so their creativity is still stifled.
And yes, the government has had a rethink on that plan and now spelling and grammar is taught once again in government schools.
Meanwhile, for those who may be confused, here’s the simplest way of looking at it. Please understand, to get your grammar really right there are all sorts of exceptions to the rules, but this should be enough to get you started.
A noun is a naming word. It can be a common noun—frog, door, rock—or a proper noun, which usually has a capital letter: Africa, English, John.
A verb is a doing word. Run, think, play. It gets a little trickier as tenses get involved. Run/running/ran. Think/thinking/thought. Play/playing/played. But that gives you an idea of how it goes.
An adjective is a describing word. It tells you something more about the noun. A green frog, a closed door, a shiny rock.
And an adverb tells you more about the verb. Thinking carefully, running slowly, excitingly played.
As I said earlier, words can be used in all sorts of other ways but for now, that should help you get started.
Helen Woodall
Helen is available to line edit and/ or content edit fiction and non-fiction. Rates on application.


anny cook said...

I pretty much have those down. It's the other weird stuff that gets me...

Helen Woodall: Freelance Editing said...

English is one of the hardest languages to learn because there's so many exceptions to the rules. Compound adjectives are really nasty, for example.