Level 1: Lesson 1

Level 1 is the first workbook in the elementary series. Lesson 1 teaches about nouns. A noun is a word that names a person, place, thing, or idea. The word the can go before a noun.


A Form-Function English Grammar

Level 1

Lesson 1


What is a noun?

Notional grammars define the noun as a word that names a person, place, thing, or idea.

Teacher, student, child, and friend are nouns that name people. House, library, school, and park are nouns that name places. Toy, book, tablet, and shoe are nouns that name things. Happiness, joy, anger, and excitement are nouns that name ideas.

What makes a noun a noun? First, nouns are open class words, which is a fancy way of saying you can easily create a new noun in the language. For example, cat has been in the language since the Old English period. Minecraft was first recorded as a new English noun in 2011 though both mine and craft are much older nouns.

Nouns are also lexical class words, which is a fancy way of saying most nouns are easy to define. For example, a cat is a small mammal usually covered with fur that people keep as a house pet.

Most nouns are also easy to draw, which indicates that nouns are lexical words. For example, these drawings show a man, house, cat, and anger, all of which are nouns.

One test for finding nouns is that the determiner the can go before a noun: the man, the house, the cat, the anger.

If you are unsure if a word is a noun, put the determiner the in front of the word. Is the word pillow a noun? The pillow. You can put the before pillow, so pillow is a noun. Is the word and a noun? The and. No. You cannot put the before and, so and is not a noun.

Look at the sentence A gigantic dog ate some treats. Which words are nouns? Test each word by putting the determiner the with each word. The a. No. The gigantic. No. The dog. Yes. The ate. No. The some. No. The treats. Yes. Both dog and treats pass the the-test. Both dog and treats are nouns.

So, what is a noun?

A noun names a person, place, thing, or idea. A noun can take the determiner the. Now practice your knowledge of nouns by completing the exercises in Lesson 1 of A Form-Function English Grammar: Level 1, pages 4 through 7.

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