Help Learning Adjectives, Nouns, Pronouns, Subjects and Verbs

Whether you're reading or writing, it helps to be able to identify the different parts of grammar you'll come across. Having this knowledge can help you comprehend what you're reading better and help you improve your grade on writing assignments. Keep reading to learn about some the main grammar items.

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Help! What Exactly Are Adjectives, Nouns, Pronouns, Subjects and Verbs?

Adjectives: Making Words Sound Better

Adjectives are words that describe and help you visualize (see in your mind) what the writer is talking about. They are used to give you more information about the noun or subject of the sentence and typically make the writing more interesting. Take a look at the following two sentences:

  1. The man walked down the hallway.
  2. The small and frightened man walked down the dark, empty hallway.

Which one sounds better? Of course, the second one does. The bold adjectives that were added help you see a better picture in your mind and even make the sentence sound mysterious. Whenever an adjective is used, it usually comes before the noun. However, it can also come at the end of the sentence. The following two sentences give you examples of both:

  1. The blue balloon was full of air.
  2. The balloon was blue.

Nouns, Pronouns, and Subjects: The Who, Where and What

Nouns are used to name a person, place, thing, animal or even idea in a sentence. The actions (verbs) and descriptions (adjectives) in a sentence are about the nouns that the writer uses. Proper nouns refer to specific people or places and need the first letter capitalized, such as someone's first name or the names of states. Common nouns refer to general things and don't require the first letter to be capitalized, unless it's the first word in a sentence. In addition, nouns can be possessive and show ownership or relationship to something by adding an apostrophe and s ('s) at the end. Here are some examples:

  1. Fred, who moved here from Washington, is the new manager of Taco Bell.
  2. Tacos and nachos are the best items on the menu.
  3. The customer's order was totally wrong, so Fred's decision was to give him the food for free.

Pronouns are used to replace nouns and to keep sentences from sounding repetitive. Common examples of pronouns include words like he, she, him, them, we and us. They usually help the writing flow better so that sentences don't sound awkward when you're reading them. See the examples below:

  1. Daniel decided that Daniel wanted to get all A's on Daniel's report card, so Daniel decided to study extra hard. (This is an awkward sentence because no pronouns are used.)
  2. Daniel decided that he wanted to get all A's on his report card, so he decided to study extra hard. (This sentence sounds better and flows better because of the use of pronouns.)

The subject is a very important part of a sentence and goes along with the verb (action). Basically, the subject is who or what does the action (the verb). More specifically, whenever you read a sentence, the subject is generally who or what the sentence is talking about. Most of the time, the subject will come before the verb, but it can also come after. Examples of both are below:

  1. The acrobatic monkey swung from tree to tree. (The subject is before the verb 'swung.')
  2. Deep in the heart of the jungle lives a monkey named Bubbles. (Here, the subject is after the verb 'lives.')

Verbs: All About the Actions

Verbs are extremely important to sentences. In fact, if you don't have a verb, you don't have a sentence at all. Instead, you have a fragment. Verbs are linked to the subjects and tell you what you need to know about them. They give you the important, active information you need to know about who or what you're reading about. Check out the examples:

  1. Charles sprinted around the track with great speed.
  2. Because he was angry, the gigantic man punched a huge hole in the wall.
  3. With his flashlight in hand, the young explorer crawled into the dark cave.
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