NOUNS, PRONOUNS, VERBS, ADVERBS
Category : 6th Class
Grammar forms an important part in the English section of any examination. The typical kind of questions can be categorized as follows: (a) Fill in the blanks b) Identifying errors in sentences and c) Correcting the sentences. The questions can be handled easily and you can score well if your basics are clear.
Many of us can communicate well verbally but when it comes to answering grammar-based questions, we commit mistakes. Grammar is not a set of rules but in reality a mere description of the language i.e. used by all of us.
This chapter will help you to understand how language and components of language work. It is oriented towards making you more confident users of English by giving you an insight into the correct usage. The material provided is user friendly with adequate examples and 'practice exercises'.
If you make a concentrated effort, it will not only prepare you for the forthcoming competitive exams but also fine-tune your communication skills.
READING: To supplement your efforts, you should build up reading habits. This can be of any kind - magazines, newspapers or novels. But, one should consciously look at the usage. Good reading habits will definitely build up your understanding of grammatical usage and help you in being successful in competitive exams.
A Noun is a word used as a name of a person, place or thing.
There are five kinds of Noun -
(a) Proper Noun
(b) Common Noun
(c) Collective Noun
(d) Abstract Noun
(e) Material Noun.
FOLLOWING ARE CERTAIN RULES OF GRAMMAR REGARDING NOUNS THAT WOULD BE USEFUL IN A COMPETITIVE EXAMS:
(a) Amitabh is Gandhiji of our class. (Incorrect)
(b) Amitabh is the Gandhiji of our class. (Correct)
Here Gandhiji does not mean Mahatma Gandhi. The word here stands for the possessor of the qualities that Gandhiji is most known for - truth and non-violence. Thus Gandhiji is being used as a metaphorical common noun. Some nouns have the same form both in singular as well as in plural.
FOLLOWING ARE RULES REGARDING THE NUMBER OF THE NOUN:
(a) Deer was caught.
(b) Deer were caught.
Here, the singular and plural form of the noun Deer is same. Like Deer there are other nouns that have the same form in singular as well as plural form. For example: sheep, deer, apparatus, species, series hundred, dozen, hair etc. Preceding adjectives and articles decide whether the word is used in the singular form or plural form.
(a) He paid eight hundred rupees for this pair of shoes.
(b) India again lost the series.
Nouns denoting large numbers are used both in singular and plural form
(a) Three hundred people attended the function.
(b) Hundreds of people attended the party:
In sentence (a), 'hundred' is preceded by number 'three'. So 'hundred' will take no plural form. Word 'three hundred' indicates plurality. But in sentence (b), 'hundred' is not preceded by any number. So to indicate plurality, we will write 'hundreds'. So, rule is that when words like hundred, dozen, thousand, pair, score are not preceded by any word denoting number then they take the plural form. Otherwise not.
Consider some more examples:
(a) Coca-Cola paid lakhs of rupees to Aamir Khan for promoting their product.
(b) I brought two dozen bananas.
(a) Since long no news has been heard.
(b) Since long no news have been heard.
Sentence a is correct. The reason is that some nouns are always used as singular though they look like plural nouns. That's why we should never use the 'plural verb with these words. Other similar words are politics, mathematics, physics, gallows, means, billiards, ethics, summons, innings.
(a) Politics is not my cup of tea.
(b) I received summons.
(c) Sachin once again played a superb innings
(a) The spectacles that you are wearing are really nice.
(b) The spectacles that you are wearing is really nice.
Sentence (a) is correct. The reason being that some noun words are always used in the plural form.
For example: trousers, arms, drawers, assets, scales, alms, thanks, cards; ashes, riches, premises, scissors, credentials, proceeds.
(a) The cattle was grazing in the field.
(b) The cattle were grazing in the field.
Sentence (b) is correct .The reason being that some nouns are always used as plurals though they look like singular. Other nouns like this are public; people, folk, mankind, poultry, sheep, and police. Gentry, peasantry, bulk, majority.
(a) The majority are with the leader.
(b) Police, though late, have come.
(c) Public wants results.
(a) This project will lead to lots of expenditures
(b) This project will lead to lots of expenditure.
Sentence (b) is correct. The reason is that some nouns are always used as singular. Preceding adjectives or the verb form indicates the singularity or plurality. Other nouns are expenditure, furniture, information, machinery, issue, offspring, alphabet, scenery, poetry.
(a) All the furniture was bought last year.
(b) All the information was given to him.
(a) I opened the letter and read its contents.
(b) Her mouth was fixed in a smile of pure content.
(c) The conflict between good and evil is ages old.
(d) We must produce goods at competitive prices.
(e) Delhites breathe the most polluted air in the world.
(f) She was just putting on airs when she came to visit us/me.
(g) We should renounce the use of force to settle our dispute.
(h) Families of people who died as a result of services in the forces should not be ignored.
(i) I was very excited on my return to my home village.
(j) Early returns in the ballot indicate majority for opposition.
Other nouns having different meanings in the singular and plural form are:
Singular with meaning Plural with meaning
Compass- extent or range Compasses- instrument
Custom-habit Customs-duties levied on
Iron-metal Irons-fetters made of iron
Mean-average Means-way or method
Respect - regard Respects-polite greetings
Physic-medicine Physics-natural science
Singular Form Plural form
(a) I have one brother and one sister (meaning- sons of the same parents).
(b) Why should only select brethren be allowed to attend the meeting? (meaning - members of same society, organization)
(c) I took off my shoes and clothes (meaning- things that people wear).
(d) Cotton, Nylon, Silk are different kinds of cloths (meaning- kinds or pieces of cloth).
Other nouns having two plurals with different meanings are.
Singular Plural with different meaning
Die Dies - stamps
Dice - small cubes used in games
Genius Geniuses-persons of great talent
Genie - spirit
Quarter Quarter-fourth part
Quarter(s) - lodging
Manners Correct behaviour pain
Pains - Careful efforts
Spectacles - eye-glasses
Penny Pence-indicate amount of money
Pennies number of coins
FOLLOWING ARE RULES REGARDING GENDER OF THE NOUN:
(a) Shahrukh Khan had a herd of cows. He kept a herdsman to look after her.
(b) Shahrukh Khan had a herd of cows. He kept a herdsman to look after it.
Sentence (b) is correct. Though herd consists of cows (females), herd is not a feminine noun as it collective noun.
(a) The baby loves his toys. (Incorrect)
(b) The baby loves its toys. (correct)
(c) The mouse lost his tail when the cat pounced on him. (Incorrect)
We are often uncertain regarding the gender of the animals. The mouse here maybe a male or a fem So, English language prefers the easy way out: treat it as of the neuter gender.
(i) The masculine gender if the object is remarkable for strength and violence. Ex. Sun, Summer Winter, Time, Death etc.
(ii) The feminine gender if the object is remarkable for beauty gentleness and gracefulness. Ex: Earth, Moon, Spring, Nature, Mercy etc.
(a) The Sun came from behind the clouds and with her brilliance tore the veil of darkness. (Incorrect)
(b) The Sun came from behind the clouds and with his brilliance tore the veil of darkness. (Correct)
Convention does not see brilliance as a womanly quality, but a manly one.
(a) Nature offers his lap to him that seeks it. (Incorrect)
(b) Nature offers her lap to him that seeks it. (Correct)
The offering of a lap is usually the mother's role. Hence, Nature here should be treated as a feminine noun.
Tell which sentence is correct.
(a) The earth goes round the sun in 365Vs days. Can you calculate her speed?
(b) The earth goes round the sun in 365Vs days. Can you calculate its speed?
Sentence b is correct. The error being made here is that personification is being brought where it does not exist. In the above statement the earth is being treated as a body (a thing), not a person. The scientist here is not concerned with the womanly qualities of the planet. So, neuter gender should be applied.
FOLLOWING ARE RULES REGARDING APOSTROPHE:
(a) Singular noun: 's is added after the word.
(b) Singular noun: Only an apostrophe is added when there are too many hissing sounds. For example: Moses’ laws, for goodness' sake, For justice' sake.
(c) Plural nouns ending in s like boys, cows: only is added after the word
(d) Plural nouns not ending in s like men, children: 's is added after the word.
(e) 'S is added primarily after the living things and personified objects. For example: Governor's bodyguard, horse's head, and Nature’s law. Fortune's favorites.
(f) 'S is not used with inanimate or non-living things. For example: leg of the table, cover of the book.
(g) But nouns that denote time, distance or weight, 's is used. For example: a stone's throw, in a year's time, the earth's surface.
(h) Some other common phrases where's is used are to his heart's content, at his wit's end, for goodness' sake, out of harm's way.
(i) When a noun consists of several words, the possessive sign is attached only to the last word.
(a) The Queen's of England reaction is important in the Diana episode. (Incorrect)
(b) The Queen of England's reaction is important in the Diana episode. (Correct)
Do not be mistaken that since it is the Queen's reaction, the 's should come after queen. You might think that putting it after England would make the reaction England's and not the Queen's. This is shortsightedness. Do not see Queen and England in isolation, Queen of England is one whole unit and the apostrophe should come at its end.
(j) When two nouns are in apposition, the possessive sign is put to the latter only.
(a) I am going to Stephen Hawking’s the scientist's country. (Incorrect)
(b) I am going to Stephen Hawking the scientist's country. (Correct)
(k) When two or more nouns show joint possession, the possessive sign is put to the latter only.
(a) Amitabh and Ajitabh are Bachchanji's sons. So Bachclaanji is Amitahh's and Ajitabh's father. (Incoreect)
(b) Amitabh and Ajitabh are Bachchanji's sons. So Bachchanji is Amitabh and Ajitabh's father. (Correct)
(I) When two or more nouns show separate possession, the possessive sign is put with both.
(a) The audience listened to Javed and Vajpayee's poems. (Incorrect)
(b) The audience listened to Javed's and Vajpayee's poems. (Correct)
A pronoun is a word used instead of a noun.
NOW CONSIDER THE FOLLOWING CASES:
(a) After a few hearings the jury gave its verdict. (Pronoun 'its is used in place of noun jury').
(b) The jury were divided in their opinions. (Pronoun 'their' is used in place of noun 'jury')
You must be wondering why different pronoun its' and 'their' is used in place of the same noun 'jury' The reason is when a pronoun stands for a collective noun it must be in the singular number and neutral gender. (Sentence (a). But when collective noun conveys the idea of separate individuals comprising the whole, the pronoun standing for it must be of the plural number. In sentence b, it is clear that members of the jury are not behaving as whole.
(a) The committee is reconsidering its decision.
(b) The committee decided the matter without leaving their seats.
PRONOUNS IN SENTENCES FOUND BY CONJUNCTION:
For example: Rama and Hari work hard. Their teachers praise them.
But when two Singular nouns joined by 'and' refer to the same person or thing, the pronoun should be singular.
For example: The Secretary and Treasurer is negligent of his duty.
Here the same person is acting as Secretary and Treasurer. That's why singular pronoun is used.
For example: Every soldier and every sailor was in his place.
(a) Neither Abdul nor Rehman has done his lessons.
(b) Either Rama or Hari must help his friend.
For example: Either the manager or his assistants failed in their duty
For example: Alcohol and Tobacco are both injurious: this perhaps less than that.
RULES REGARDING PERSONAL PRONOUNS:
(a) The presents are for you and me.
(b) The presents are for you and I.
Sentence a is correct. Pronoun has to agree with the case. Here it is the objective case. So, 'me' should be used instead of 'I'. For example : My uncle asked my brother and me to dinner.
(a) He loves you more than I.
(b) He loves you more than me.
Sentence a is correct 'Than' is a conjunction joining clauses. And the case of the pronoun to be used may be found by writing the clauses in fall. So, in sentence a.) two clauses joined by 'than' are 'He loves | more' and 'I love you'. Being a subjective case, 'I' should be used.
(a) He is taller than I (am).
(b) He loves you more than (he loves) me.
(a) You and I, husband and wife, have to look after your home. (Incorrect)
(b) You and I, husband and wife, have to look after our home. (Correct)
Now, common sense tells us that if we are a couple, wife and husband, the feeling of togetherness is expressed by our home, not your home. And so does grammar
Rule: 123.I stands for first person, 2 for second person and 3 for third person. The order of precedence is: 1 before 2 and 2 before 3. In the given example, we have 2 and 1. So I will apply; that is, first person. The number, of course, will be plural.
Let us take another example.
(a) You and Hari have done their duty. (Incorrect)
(b) You and Hari have done your duty. (Correct)
Applying 123 rule. You = 2 and Hari =3. So, 2. Second person plural gives 'your'. Similarly, when all the three persons are taken into account, it has to be I; that is, first person plural.
(a) You, he and I have not forgotten your roots. (Incorrect)
(b) You, he and I have not forgotten our roots. (Correct)
(a) Neither of the accusations is true.
(b) Each boy took his turn.
(c) Each of the lady performs her duty well.
(a) This is the boy. He works hard. (He subjective case)
(b) This is the boy. His exercise is done well. (His is possessive case)
(c) This is the boy. All praise him. (Him is objective case)
(a) It was he (not him),
(b) It is I (not me) that gave the prizes away.
(c) It might have been he (not him).
(a) He is taller than I (am).
(b) I like you better than he (likes you).
(c) They gave him as much as (they gave) me.
(a) All passengers must show their (not his) tickets.
(b) I am not one of those who believe everything they (not I) hear
RULLES REGARDING DEMONSTRATIVE PRONOUNS:
(A) After adjectives in the superlative degree.
(a) This is the best that we can do.
(b) He is the best speaker that we ever heard.
(B) After the words all, same, any, none, nothing, only.
(a) Man is the only animal that can talk.
(b) He is the same man that he has been.
(C) After two antecedents, one denoting a person and the other denoting an animal or a thing.
For example: The man and his pet that met with an accident yesterday died today.
RULES REGARDING RELATIVE PRONOUNS:
(a) This is the boy who works hard (Who in place of He)
(b) This is the boy whose exercise is done well (who’s in place of His)
(c) This is the boy whom all praise. (Whom in place of Him)
The above sentences show when to use who, whose and whom. Who is the subjective case, Whose the possessive case and whom the objective case.
(a) He who hesitates is lost.
(b) Blessed is he who has found his work.
(a) This is the hotel whose owner is a criminal.
(b) This is the person whose will power is extraordinary.
(a) I have found the book which I had lost last week.
(b) The horse, which won the race yesterday, is my favourite.
(a) Which of the packets is yours?
(b) Which of the boy has not done his homework?
(a) I with my family reside in Delhi, which consists of my wife and parents.
This sentence is wrong as which relates to 'my’ family'. So 'which' should be placed as near to family' as possible. So, the correct sentence is
(b) I with my family which consists of my wife and parents, reside in Delhi.
(a) There is Mr. Dutt, who (not whom) they say is the best painter in the town.
(b) The Student, whom (not who) you thought so highly of, has failed to win the first prize.
(a) This is one of the most interesting novels that have (not has) appeared this year. (Here, antecedent of relative pronoun that is novels and not one)
(b) This is the only one of his poems that is (not are) worth reading. (Here the antecedent of that is one and not poems. Kindly note the difference between sentence a and b)
OTHER USEFUL RULES:
(a) Each boy was accompanied by an adult but there were none, with the orphan (Incorrect)
(b) Each boy was accompanied by an adult but there was none with the orphan. (Correct)
(c) I am used to many guests everyday but there was none today. (Incorrect)
(d) I am used to many guests everyday but there were none today. (Correct)
For example: One must put one's best efforts if one wishes to succeed.
For example: let you and me do it.
(a) I hold in high esteem everything and everybody who reminds me of my failures.
(b) I hold in high esteem everybody and everything, which reminds me of my failures.
(a) I shall be glad to help every one of my boys in his studies.
(b) I shall be glad to help every one of my girls in her studies.
(c) I shall be glad to help every one of my students in his studies.
But when gender is not determined, the pronoun of the masculine gender is used as in sentence c.
(a) One must use one’s best efforts if one wishes to succeed.
(b) One should be careful about what one says.
(B) Plural is commonly used with none.
(a) None of his poems are well known.
(b) None of these words are now current.
For example: She was taller than anyone of her five sisters.
For example: Hari and Rama are there.
For example: My friend and benefactor has come.
For example: The horse and the carriage is at the door.
For example: Neither he nor I was there.
But when subjects joined by 'or', 'nor' are of different numbers, the verb must be plural, and the plural subject must be placed next to the verb.
For example: Rama and his brothers have done this.
When the subjects joined by 'or', 'nor' are of different persons, the verb agrees in person with the nearest one.
(a) Either he or I am mistaken.
(b) Neither you nor he is to blame.
For example: The Chief with all his men, was massacred.
(a) His diet was abstemious, his prayers long and fervent. (Wrong as subjects are not in the same number.)
(b) His diet was abstemious, his prayers were long and fervent. (Right)
(c) He never has and never will, take such strong measures. (Wrong)
(d) He never has taken, and never will take, such strong measures. (Right)
(e) Ten new members have been enrolled and seven resigned (Wrong)
(f) Ten new members have been enrolled and seven have resigned. (Right)
(g) Being a very hot day, I remained in my tent. (Wrong as participle being is referring to none)
(h) It being a very hot day, I remained in my tent. (Right)
(i) Sitting on the gate, a scorpion stung him. (Wrong as participle sitting is not referring to any word)
(j) While he was sitting on the gate, a scorpion stung him (Right)
(a) Lay the child to sleep.
(b) Let me lie here.
(c) I laid the book on the table.
AGREEMENT OF THE SUBJECT WITH THE VERB:
(a) The quality of the mangoes were not good. (Wrong since subject is quality, a singular and mangoes.)
(b) The quality of the mangoes was not good (Right).
(c) His knowledge of Indian vernaculars are far beyond the common. (Wrong)
(d) His knowledge of Indian vernaculars is far beyond the common. (Right)
(a) The chairman, with the directors, is to be present.
(b) Silver, as well as cotton, has fallen in prices.
(a) No nook or corner was left unexplored.
(b) Our happiness or our sorrow is largely due to our own actions.
(a) Bread and Butter are essential for one's life. (Incorrect)
(b) Bread and Butter is essential for one's life. (Correct)
(a) Neither of the two men was very strong.
(b) Every one of the prisons is full.
(c) Many a man has done so.
(d) He asked whether either of the applicants was suitable.
(a) Neither Rekha nor her fiends was present at the party (Incorrect)
(b) Neither Rekha nor her friends were present at the party (Correct)
(a) Five hours are too short a time to judge one's character. (Incorrect)
(b) Five hours is too short a time to judge one's character. (Correct)
This is so because five hours is considered as one chunk.
For example: Every boy and every girl was given a packet of sweets.
For example: None are so deaf as those who will not hear.
(a) Put in to bat first, a huge total was expected from India.
(b) Put in to bat first, India was expected to pile up a huge total.
Now: who has been put in to bat first? A huge total of India? Common sense tells us it must be India. But the sentence a, as it stands, appears otherwise. So, sentence b is correct.
(a) Being a rainy day, I decided to take my umbrella.
(b) It being a rainy day, I decided to take my umbrella.
The sentence a, as it stands, gives us the impression that being a rainy day qualifies I. This is simply not true. I am not a rainy day. So sentence b is correct.
(a) One hundred paise is equal to one rupee.
(b) Six miles is a long distance.
(c) Fifty thousand rupees is a large sum.
A word that modifies the meaning of a verb as called an Adverb.
SOME IMPORTANT RULES:
(a) It is raining heavily.
(b) She speaks English well.
(a) I seldom meet him. (Right)
(b) I meet him seldom. (Wrong)
Adverbs of degree refer to words which show "how much", "in what degree" or "to what extent" does the action takes place.
CONSIDER THE FOLLOWING:
(a) He is too weak to walk.
(b) It is never too late.
Hence, use of very in place of too is wrong.
For example: Instead of saying that
(a) Cow's milk is too nutritious
We should say that
(b) Cow's milk is very nutritious.
For example: Everyone should be strong enough to support one's family.
It will be wrong if we write 'everyone should be enough strong to support one's family'.
(a) He was much disgusted with his life.
(b) The news was much surprising.
Very is used with present participles.
(a) He is very disgusted with his life.
(b) The news is very surpising.
(a) Rim is the very best boy in his class.
(b) Rim is much the best boy in his class.
Adverbs of Affirmation or Negation refer to words that assert the action emphatically.
Consider these examples:
(a) He certainly was a winner among them
(b) Luckily he survived the crash
CONSIDER THE FOLLOWING:
(a) No sooner I saw him I trembled with fear. (Wrong)
(b) No sooner did I see him than I trembled with fear. (Right)
(a) I received no letter neither from him nor from her. (Wrong)
(b) I received letter neither from him nor from her. (Right)
(a) Of course he is the best player. (Wrong)
(b) He is certainly the best player. (Right)
FOLLOWING ARE COMMON RULES OF ADVERBS IN GENERAL:
(a) Only I spoke to him.
(b) I only spoke to him.
(c) I spoke to him only.
For example: It is nothing else but hypocrisy
(a) He is elected as the President. (Wrong)
(b) He is elected President. (Right)
(a) Where is Govinda? Perhaps he is not here. (Wrong)
(b) Where is Govinda? Probably he is not here. (Right)
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