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Nouns are people, places, things, or ideas.  There are several types of nouns.  One word can be more than one type of noun at the same time.  Sound confusing?  It’s not really! 

COMMON NOUNS are everyday, non-specific people, places, things, or ideas.  Examples are:

                   dog    boy    house   tree    teacher     
                          town     school     bike

PROPER NOUNS are the specific names of people, places, things, or ideas and are always capitalized since they are actual names.  Examples are:

 Golden Retriever       Michael Smith     Mrs. Hockett         
    Schwinn        Silver Lake, Kansas    Silver Lake  
             Junior/Senior High      Catholic

COLLECTIVE NOUNS are singular words that name a group, such as: 

                 team    herd      squad     class     group    
                          collection    family

CONCRETE NOUNS are people, places, or things that can be detected by the senses of sight, sound, taste, touch, or smell.  If you can see it, hear it, taste it, touch it, or smell it, then that person, place or thing is a concrete noun. Even “concrete” is a concrete noun!  : )

ABSTRACT NOUNS are ideas or “things” such as feelings or qualities that are mental, not physical.  All religions are classified as abstract nouns.  You can touch a Catholic church or a person who is Catholic (the church building and the person are concrete nouns) but you cannot touch Catholicism (the beliefs are mental, not physical).  Some abstract nouns are:

        fun    truth    beauty    knowledge    Hinduism    freedom     wisdom     
                     honor      love      excitement        health

(You can see or touch something that you think is beautiful, but you cannot see or touch beauty itself.  Good health includes physical components, but you cannot touch health itself.)
COMPOUND NOUNS are people, places, things, or ideas that are made up of compound words and can be one word or more than one. Examples: 
       doghouse    fire truck    mother-in-law     football helmet

A pronoun replaces a noun.  The subject of a sentence is always a noun or a pronoun, or another part of speech that functions as a noun.  There are many types of pronouns.  Do not let them frighten you!  

INDEFINITE PRONOUNS refer to a person, place, thing, or idea that isn’t clearly specified in name or number. They are words such as:
    all    any    one    some    both   few   each   nobody   someone         
           either    more   most    several    other     no one

Examples in sentences:       No one came to my birthday party.  

                                  I thought somebody would.  

                            Several said they might attend, but I guess all of  
                                  them had other plans.  

(BE CAREFUL!  See the word “other,” as in “other plans?”  That is not being used as a pronoun!  Even though “other” CAN be an indefinite pronoun, it can also be an adjective.  In this case, it is an adjective telling which plan.)

What the heck are interrogative pronouns?  Who cares if we ever learn all these?  Which pronouns are the most important to learn? Whose notes can we copy if all these pronouns bore us so much that we fall asleep in class?  The sentences above have interrogative pronouns in them.  Interrogative pronouns are questioning words.  They all start with a “wh” if that makes it easier….  
The interrogatives are:
                what    which     who    whom   and   whose 
PERSONAL PRONOUNS refer to people.  There are singular personal pronouns and plural personal pronouns.  There are three “persons” associated with personal pronouns.  They are first person, second person, and third person.  
                                    PERSONAL PRONOUN CHART

 PERSON                SINGULAR                  PLURAL

    FIRST          I, me, my, mine              we, us, our, ours

              SECOND        you, your, yours                    you  

   THIRD           he, she, it, her,            they, them, their, 
                               his, its, hers, him                  theirs

Relative pronouns are easy to learn in one way—they are a combination of words that can be demonstrative pronouns or relative pronouns, but they are used in a different way.  All the relative pronouns are “th” or “wh” words.  They introduce something called a subordinate clause.  (Don’t let that word scare you.  We will learn more about them later, but you will be able to find the pronouns before we study those. They will introduce a group of words in the sentence that gives more information but can’t be a sentence by itself.)  
The most common relative pronouns are:

                         that     which     who      whom      whose    

Examples of relative pronouns in sentences:

        The girl who hit me with a brick was not very friendly. 
        (“who hit me with a brick” tells more about the girl, but does not have to be       
          in the sentence for it to make sense. It can also not be a sentence by 
          itself--that is what a subordinate clause is.) 

        The dog that was taken to the pound was almost hit three times. 
        (tells which dog was almost run over)

        My favorite restaurant, which is not well known, is downtown.
        (tells more about the restaurant)

REFLEXIVE AND INTENSIVE PRONOUNS are personal pronouns with “self” (or “selves”) added, as in:

           myself    himself     themselves   yourself    ourselves

Any pronoun with “self” or “selves” will be either reflexive or intensive. There is one difference between them—reflexive pronouns MUST be in the sentence for it to make sense and intensive pronouns are in the sentence only to add emphasis and may be removed without changing the meaning of the sentence.  

Examples:         INTENSIVE:       
                        I myself baked all those cookies. 

(Take out the pronoun “myself.”  Does the sentence have the same meaning?  Yes.  “I baked all those cookies” is still conveying the same information.  “Myself” just adds emphasis, so it is an intensive pronoun.)


                        I baked them by myself. 

(Take out the pronoun “myself.”  Same meaning?  No!  “I baked the cookies by _____.  By … what?  If the pronoun can’t be removed, it is reflexive.)

NOTE:  It might help to remember that we have reflexes in our body to help keep us safe.  Touching a hot stove without reflexes might mean that the smell of cooking meat isn’t bacon—it’s YOU!  We must have reflexes to stay safe and reflexive pronouns must stay in the sentence to say the same thing.)

DEMONSTRATIVE PRONOUNS     There are four demonstrative pronouns.  “Demonstrative” means to show or demonstrate. Demonstrative pronouns point out which person or object is being referred to. The four demonstratives are:
                       this    that   these   and   those

           This gives me a headache.        I really hate that.
                   These are quite ugly, aren’t they?

CAUTION!  CUIDADO!  Do not confuse these with demonstrative adjectives.  Remember that pronouns stand in for, or replace, nouns.  Here are some examples to help you to distinguish between demonstrative pronouns and demonstrative adjectives:

PRONOUN:   This gives me a headache. 
                (replaces the noun “class”)
ADJECTIVE:  This class gives me a headache.  
                (tells which class)

PRONOUN:    I really hate that.

ADJECTIVE:   I really hate that teacher.

PRONOUN:   These are quite ugly, aren’t they?

ADJECTIVE:  These shoes are quite ugly, aren’t they?

(If the noun being referred to is not mentioned, the demonstrative is a pronoun, replacing the noun.  If it IS mentioned, the demonstrative is an adjective.)

NOTE:  Pronouns MUST refer to something, though.  This is called the “antecedent.”   

ADJECTIVES are words that modify, or describe, nouns or pronouns.  They tell which one, what kind, or how many. In English, an adjective usually comes immediately before the word it modifies.  However, sometimes an entire phrase or clause can function as an adjective.  If a phrase or clause is functioning as an adjective, it will come after the noun or pronoun being modified. We will study adjective phrases and clauses later. First, we will look at single-word adjectives that do come before the word being modified. Here are some examples: 

     The new puppy chewed my favorite shoes, three magazines, and the legs of 
     the dining-room table, but left his rawhide bone untouched.  

     (Which puppy? The new one.  How many magazines?  Three.  What kind of 
      bone?  A rawhide one.)

Sometimes single-word adjectives don’t come right before the noun or pronoun being modified. Predicate adjectives after a linking verb come in the predicate, but still modify the subject.

     Example:    The coach was angry after the locker room incident. 

     (angry modifies coach, even though it is in the predicate.)

ARTICLES- There is a special type of adjective called an article.  The three articles are a, an, and the. You may notice that they were not marked in the example sentence above.  Even though they are adjectives, they are often ignored when adjectives are being identified in grammar exercises.  However, we do include them as adjectives when we diagram them in sentences.  
      “A” and “an” are called indefinite articles, because they are not      
       specifically referring to a particular noun or pronoun.  For example, a dog 
       doesn’t tell me exactly which dog. 
      “The” is a definite article because it does refer to a specific noun or 
       pronoun.  The dog refers to a particular dog.                 

Adjectives versus possessive pronouns: Sometimes possessive pronouns are marked as adjectives. Example:

My shoes are ugly!  (Adjective that tells which shoes-my shoes)

Other types of adjectives:
DEMONSTRATIVE ADJECTIVES point out, or demonstrate, which noun or pronoun the sentence refers to.  They are the same as the demonstrative pronouns— this, that, these, and those – but they modify the noun and do NOT stand in for it as a demonstrative pronoun would. Remember these examples…?

ADJECTIVE:  This class gives me a headache.  (“this” tells which class)
PRONOUN:   This gives me a headache.    (“this” replaces the noun “class”)

ADJECTIVE:  I really hate that teacher.
PRONOUN:   I really hate that.

ADJECTIVE: These shoes are quite ugly, aren’t they?
PRONOUN:   These are quite ugly, aren’t they?

COMMON ADJECTIVES are everyday modifiers that are not capitalized.  They are words such as:
    The red wagon with the cute, speckled puppy is sitting in the cool woods.
    (The wagon is which color?  Red.  What characteristics does the puppy have?  
    He’s cute and speckled.  What describes the temperature of the woods?  Cool.) 

Indefinite pronouns, such as some, many, few, etc. can be adjectives, as in:
Some people are going to be in trouble!  (“Some” tells how many people.)

PROPER ADJECTIVES are always capitalized and are essentially proper nouns used to describe.  In other words, a proper noun being used to describe is a proper adjective.  Examples:
My favorite restaurant serves Chinese food.
My brother’s Chiefs jersey is ripped at the bottom.
Her French accent makes her speech difficult to understand.

VERBS do two main jobs—they show action or a state of being “linked” to the subject.  They are part of the complete predicate and tell what the subject is doing or the state of existence of the subject.  Sometimes the verb is called the “simple predicate.”  

ACTION VERBS show a physical or a mental action.  The action verb is what the subject of the sentence is doing.

That dog always barks at me.  The verb is “barks.”  
              (It is the physical action of the dog.)

John thought today was Tuesday!  The verb is “thought.”
              (It is the mental action of John)
Action verbs are said to be either transitive or intransitive.  A transitive action verb has a direct object—something in the predicate receiving the action of the verb.  The object will answer “who” or “what” after an action verb.  


I love pizza.  I love what? Pizza.  Transitive!
John saw you yesterday!  John saw who?  You!  Transitive.
I am going tomorrow.  There is no “who” or “what” in the sentence!  Intransitive!
I baked in that hot kitchen!  No receiver!  Intransitive!
I flew the airplane all by myself!  Transitive!

Only ACTION VERBS can be transitive.  
ALL linking verbs must be intransitive, because they are not actions and they never have an object!

LINKING VERBS link the subject with the predicate to express a state of being or existence.  The subject is either renamed by a noun in the predicate or described by an adjective in the predicate. 
Linking verbs act like an equal sign!  The subject is equal to the predicate.  In fact, if a verb is linking, the sentence subject and predicate can be flipped and the meaning stays the same! 

       Chicken strips and crispitos are my favorite lunches.  
       My favorite lunches are chicken strips and crispitos.

Forms of the verb “to be” are ALWAYS linking if they are the main verb. (Learn the forms of “to be”! Is, am, are, was, were, be, being, been) Other words, if they are NOT physical actions, can also be linking verbs, such as looks, appears, seems, grows, sounds, remains, tastes, or feels.  

I feel ill.  
“Feel” is not a physical action, it is a state of being and is linking.

I feel the soft rabbit.   
“Feel” IS a physical action and is an action verb.  
More examples: 

Mrs. Hockett is a teacher.  
The verb is “is.”  It links the subject, Mrs. Hockett,” to a noun in the predicate, “teacher,” renaming her.

Mrs. Hockett is really OLD!  
In this sentence, the verb “is” links Mrs. Hockett to the adjective “old” which describes her.  

A verb can be made up of more than one word.  It can be made of as many as four words!  A verb made up of more than one word working together is called a verb phrase.  They are made of one or more helping verbs and a main verb.  

NOTE:  Don’t confuse a verb phrase with a compound verb!  A sentence with a compound verb is one that has more than one action or state of being expressed in it.  (As in the sentence:  Mrs. Hockett is really old and acts grumpy!  That sentence has compound verb—one linking and one action.)

Mrs. Hockett will be teaching for the entire class. 
“Will be teaching” is one action and is the verb (verb phrase) in the sentence.

Helping verbs are the verbs that “help” to form the verb phrase; the main verb is the primary verb of the verb phrase.  The main verb determines if the verb is action or linking!  The main verb ALWAYS is the last verb in the verb phrase.  The helping verb (or verbs) are all the other ones in the phrase.  Helping verbs always come first.  

A Hockett story to help you remember:  My daughter hates to carry groceries into the house.  When I get home from the store, she always runs for the bathroom and stays there, pretending to be using the bathroom, until it sounds as if the work is all done.  Then she comes out of the bathroom, announcing that she is ready to help, and fakes being soooo disappointed that the work is already done….  I always say, “Is this the part when I pretend to believe that you really had to go to the bathroom and weren’t waiting for the work to be done? Helpers must arrive before the work gets done.  You have to be there first if you want to help.”

Caution!  Remember how the form of “to be” is linking when it is the only verb?  Be careful, because it can be a helping verb for an action verb.  Usually it is a “tense marker,” telling whether the action of the verb is present, past, etc.

Helping verbs may be tough to recognize, so it helps to memorize the common ones:

Forms of “to be”—   is, am, are, was, were, be, being, been
Forms of “to do”—                  do, did, does
Forms of “to have”—               have, has, had
Others:                              can, could 
                                will, would 
                                shall, should
                                may, might, must

CONJUNCTIONS are words that join words, phrases, or clauses. Some of the most common conjunctions are for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so. An easy way to remember them is with the mnemonic “fanboys.” These are called coordinating conjunctions. They usually require commas along with their use.

           I’d like a soda from the vending machine, but I forgot my money.
           I like root beer, coke, and Dr. Pepper best. 
           My mom just went to the store, so we may have some at home.

Other conjunctions, that are pairs of words, are called correlative conjunctions. Some common correlative conjunctions are not only, but also; both, and; either, or; neither, nor.

         Not only did I get a warning for not wearing my seatbelt, but 
           I also got a ticket for speeding.

           I will either watch the speedometer closely, or I’ll use cruise control.

           From now on, I want neither warnings nor tickets when I drive!


INTERJECTIONS are sudden bursts of emotion such as “Yikes,” “Rats!,” or “Oh, darn.”  They are often followed by an exclamation mark, but not always. 

PREPOSITIONS are relationship words that provide information about how other parts of a sentence relate to one another.  In general, they give more information about the subject or verb. 

Some commonly seen prepositions are: of, by, to, for, from, in, on, with, about, in front of, after, since, before, down, up, upon, around, against, near, next to, and off. 

(Notice that they can be single words or more than one word.)

Prepositions can only occur in a phrase. (If a word appears to be a preposition but occurs as a single word, it is an adverb.) It is called a prepositional phrase, and consists of two main parts, and an optional third part:
    1) a preposition      (This is often called a “prep” for short.  
                               It always begins the prep phrase.)

    2) a noun or pronoun that is the object of the preposition 
                           (Called an “OP” for short, this is the last 
                          part of the phrase.) 

    OPTIONAL 3) modifiers, if any, between the prep and the OP 

Examples of prepositional phrases-               
         I walked to school with my dog yesterday.

         I took him along for our weekly show-and-tell.

         At first, he enjoyed all of the attention.

         Then the bell scared him and he left in a hurry.

         Darn!  The kids wanted him to play fetch during recess!
HINT: If you are identifying the subject and verb of a sentence, underline any prep phrases to eliminate them. Prep phrases are never vital parts of a sentence. 

Prepositional phrases function as adjectives or adverbs.
ADVERBS are words that modify verbs, adjectives, or other adverbs.  Adverbs tell when, where, why, how, in what manner, to what degree, under what circumstances, under what conditions, to what extent, or to what degree something is done.

SINGLE WORD ADVERBS can occur anywhere in the sentence.  Some commonly occurring adverbs are “not,” “never,” “always,” “really,” or “very.”  

After a really great run, I never take an icy cold shower, because I might get cramps.
(In this sentence, “really” tells how great, “never” tells when you take the shower, and “icy” tells how cold.)

Adverbs can also be phrases and clauses instead of single words.  Adverb phrases and clauses still do the same thing that single word adverbs do.

ADVERB PHRASES-are prepositional phrases that function as adverbs, telling when, where, why, how, to what extent, etc. something is done.  They are prep phrases that modify a verb, adjective, or an adverb in the sentence.

 Example-               After a really great run, I never take an icy cold 
                           shower, because I might get cramps.

(“After a really great run” tells when an icy cold shower is never taken.)

(Note: Don’t be confused by adverb phrases versus prep phrases!  They are NOT two different things!  Adverb phrases are just plain old prep phrases that are simply functioning as adverbs so we call them adverb phrases in that case.) 

ADVERB CLAUSES-are subordinate clauses that function as adverbs, telling more about something in the independent clause.

Example-    After a really great run, I never take an icy cold 
               shower, because I might get cramps.

(The clause “because I might get cramps” tells why the shower isn’t taken.)
There are two types of complements, subject complements and object complements.  Complements “complete” the idea expressed by the sentence.  The type of complement in a sentence depends on the verb. Linking verbs and action verbs have separate types of complements.

HINT!  Find the verb of the sentence first and correctly identify it as action or linking.  Each of those verb types has different complements.)

SUBJECT COMPLEMENTS follow linking verbs.  A sentence with a linking verb MUST have a complement. There are two types-predicate nominatives and predicate adjectives.

PREDICATE NOMINATIVES-called a PN for short, are nouns or 
 pronouns that rename the subject of the sentence. 


        My math teacher is Mrs. Lane.
        (“Mrs. Lane” is the predicate nominative, the noun 
         renaming the subject “teacher.”)

        Yesterday was Wednesday.
         (The noun “Wednesday” renames “yesterday.”)

PREDICATE ADJECTIVES-called a PA for short, are adjectives that describe the subject of the sentence.

        Examples-  That dog is really ugly!

        (“Ugly” is an adjective describing the subject “dog.”)

      Math used to be easy for me.   (“Easy” describes “math.”)

Remember that linking verbs function as equal signs.  The subject is equal to the PN or PA. The linking verb “links” the subject to the subject complements.

OBJECT COMPLEMENTS follow action verbs.  Unlike the complements above, sentences with action verbs do NOT have to contain a complement.  There are two possible object complements, direct objects and indirect objects.

DIRECT OBJECTS-answer “who” or “what” after an action verb.  They receive the action of the sentence.  We call this a DO for short.

        Examples-      I ate an entire watermelon.
                          (I ate what?  Watermelon.)

                          I tossed the frisbee across the yard.
                          (Tossed what?  The frisbee.)

If a sentence with an action verb has one complement, it MUST BE a direct object.  If it has a direct object, then it might have an indirect object as well.

INDIRECT OBJECTS-usually called an IO for short, this tells “to whom” or “for whom” the DO is done. 
Be careful!  Even though the sentence must have a DO to have an IO, English sentence order is: 
     subject  +  action verb  +  indirect object  +   direct object

Don’t let the IO fool you into thinking it is the DO….
                             I threw John the ball.

       (First find the DO.  I threw what?  The ball.  To whom did I    
        throw it?  John.  John is the indirect object.)
                   The student told Mrs. Hockett a joke.
         (The student told what?  A joke.  That is the DO.  To whom 
        was it told?  To Mrs. Hockett.  Mrs. Hockett is the IO.) 
Be careful of sentences such as:  The student told a joke to Mrs. Hockett.  That sentence has a DO (joke), but it has no IO!  An indirect object is called that because the “to” or “for” is indirectly stated.  If a sentence uses the actual words “to” or “for,” then that becomes a prepositional phrase.

SENTENCES are expressions of complete ideas.  They contain two main parts, a subject and a predicate.

     SUBJECT-who or what the sentence is about; who or what 
     is doing or being something. A complete subject is the simple 
     subject and its modifiers.  In a sentence, the subject is 
     underlined one time.

    PREDICATE-the action or state of existence in the sentence; 
    what the subject is doing or being. The predicate is the verb    
    of the sentence (sometimes called the simple predicate) and all   
   the words that go with it. The predicate is underlined twice.


My mom dropped my birthday cake on the floor last year.

Last year, my mom dropped my birthday cake on the floor.

Everyone still sang to me even though we had no cake or candles.

Even though we had no cake or candles, everyone still sang to me. 

My smelly, old, lazy dog burped.

I really love to eat pizza and cheeseburgers.

Are you sure that the homework isn’t due today? 

As you can see, the subject does not have to come first in the sentence. 
Sentences are groups of words that function together and express complete ideas, but not all groups of words do that.  

Groups of words that go together can be either phrases or clauses.  Here is the difference between a phrase and a clause: 

PHRASES are groups of words that function together and have either a subject or a verb, but not both. There are three main types of phrases:

      PREPOSITIONAL- a preposition, the object of the prep, and   
                              any modifiers 
      VERB- the main verb and any helping verbs in front of the  
                main verb                           
      VERBAL- a verb-like word that is not functioning as a verb in   
                  the sentence.
Here is a chart showing types of phrases:



adjective        adverb                 infinitive       participial


CLAUSES are defined as groups of words that function together and contain both a subject and a verb. There are two main types of clauses:

     INDEPENDENT CLAUSES contain both a subject and a verb and express a complete thought. They are called independent because they can stand alone as a complete sentence.
     SUBORDINATE CLAUSES contain both a subject and a verb but do not express a complete thought. They cannot stand alone as a sentence, but are in a sentence and tell more about the independent clause in the sentence.  They have their own subject and verb apart from the subject and verb of the 
independent clause.  In other words, the subject and verb of the sentence as a whole will NOT be the subject and verb of the subordinate clause. (When a subordinate clause appears in one’s writing, it is a type of sentence fragment.)


Subordinate clauses (as a group) function as adverbs or adjectives.  

ADVERB CLAUSES tell when, where, why, how, etc. just as single-word adverbs do.  They are introduced by subordinating conjunctions such as because, since, after, although, in spite of, or so that.

ADJECTIVE CLAUSES tell which one, what kind, or how many and modify nouns or pronouns just as single word adjectives do.  They are introduced by the relative pronouns that, which, who, whom, or whose.
Here are some independent and subordinate clause examples:

I can relax on Saturdays and Sundays.  (independent clause only)

Now let’s add a subordinate clause to that independent clause:

Because I get all of my homework done on Friday evenings, I can relax on Saturdays and Sundays. (“Because I get all my homework done on Friday evenings” is a subordinate clause. It has a subject (I) and a verb (get), but it cannot stand alone as a sentence.  This subordinate clause is an adverb clause because it tells why I can relax on Saturdays and Sundays.)

The dog that bit me was taken by animal control.       (“The dog was taken by animal control” is the independent clause.  The subordinate clause “that bit me” is an adjective clause because it tells which dog was taken. In this case, the subject of the clause is the pronoun “that” and the verb is “bit”.)