Posted by: episystechpubs | January 15, 2015

Correction: Editor’s Corner: Any Place That You Could Go…

See important correction below.

Today we return briefly to The McGraw-Hill Handbook of English Grammar and Usage to talk about nouns. “The word noun comes from a Latin word that means “name.” Accordingly, nouns are often defined by their naming ability: a noun is a word used to name a person, a place, a thing, or an idea.” (p.4)

Now, those of us who grew up watching “Schoolhouse Rock” probably have that definition lodged deeply in our brains. (If not, click here and I bet you’ll be humming the chorus all day.) But as I mentioned yesterday, sometimes words can function as more than one part of speech, and that gets us a bit confused.

McGraw-Hill has a little test to figure out if a word is being used as a noun in a particular sentence. It’s called “The the Test for Common Nouns.” It states: “If the can be put immediately in front of a word and the result makes sense, then that word is a noun.” (p.5) Let’s see how that works.

I tried to (the) run across the field. (Yuck! Sounds terrible. In this case, run is not a noun; run is a verb.)

The pony’s (the) roan coat was quite unusual. (Horrible! There’s no way roan being used as a noun; roan is an adjective.)

Putting the in front of those words does not make sense and that indicates they are [KC] NOT common nouns.

Now let’s try some different sentences:

Jim put Toby in the dog run so he could enjoy the summer air. (run is a noun)

The strawberry roan grazed in the fields. (roan is a noun)

In the following cases, “the” is actually already there in the sentence:

Jim put Toby in the (dog) run

The (strawberry) roan grazed…

Next on the agenda: verbs.

Kara Church

Technical Editor, Advisory

619-542-6773 | Ext: 766773

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