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Nouns in English

Home » Nouns in English

Nouns in English

What are nouns in English? 

Nouns are naming words for people, places, and things. Nouns in English can either be the subject of a sentence (nominal subject) or the object of a sentence (nominal object). Pronouns can be used to replace or substitute nouns.  

“Ships” is a noun and is the subject of the following sentence: 

  • Ships are fascinating. 

“Ships” is a noun and is the object of the following sentence (Maria is the subject): 

  • Maria likes ships

What are pronouns? 

Pronouns merely substitute nouns with a subject or object pronoun (there are also possessive pronouns). 

Here, “Mr. Ford” is the subject of the sentence and “him” is the object pronoun of the sentence.

  • I know Mr. Ford well, and I like him. 

This would be better and less redundant than saying: 

  • I know Mr. Ford well, and I like Mr. Ford. 

We use pronouns to replace or substitute nouns to reduce redundancy in sentences and questions.

Fortunately, In English, you only need to learn eight subject pronouns (I, you, he, she, it, we, you, they) and eight object pronouns (me, you, him, her, it, us, you, them). 

In other languages such as German you would have to learn many, many more because German has four cases.

What types of nouns does English have? 

English has eight different types of nouns: countable, uncountable, proper, common, concrete, abstract, collective and compound nouns – see above for a complete description on all of them. 

Despite all the different types of nouns in English, their function is quite simple – they are naming words for people, places and things. Moreover, to describe nouns, we use adjectives. Adjectives describe nouns. 

Can gerunds function as nouns? 

Yes, gerunds (verb + -ing) can act as nouns (either as an object or a subject of a sentence. 

  • Travelling is great. “Travelling” is the noun and also the subject of the sentence. 
  • I love travelling. “Travelling” is the noun and the object of the sentence. 

“Travelling”, despite being a gerund, is not functioning as a verb in the above sentences, but rather as a noun.