Tag Archives: Nouns

Woman having make-up applied to her face

Prepositions that lose their identity: phrasal verbs as nouns (and adjectives)

Phrasal verbs as nouns Prepositions are easy to identify when they are fulfilling their main function: connecting nouns. But their nature becomes less clear when they combine with verbs to form phrasal verbs, and even less clear when those verbs are used as nouns and adjectives. Just like many other verbs are used as nouns,

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A elephant calf facing its mother, touching trunks

Commonly confused words: dependant and dependent (and a note on ‘is dependent on’)

The difference between these two words is simple to remember: dependant is a noun and dependent is an adjective. The dependent calf relies on its mother for food and protection. Official forms often ask how many dependants you have. One way to remember the difference is to be confident that (like confident, silent, diligent and

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Commonly confused words: practice and practise (and licence and license and even more)

English spelling is tricky: that is something most people agree on. There are a couple of pairs of words that a particularly troublesome for a lot of people: practice and practise, and licence and license. Prophecy and prophesy follow the same rules, but as prophesy in particular isn’t commonly used (prophesise seems to have taken

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Clydesdale horses

Proper adjectives: the forgotten relative of proper nouns

We know that there are proper nouns, and we know that we use capital letters for proper nouns. But there is another group of words in English that we capitalise, and they are called proper adjectives. Never heard of them? Don’t worry: most people haven’t. Proper adjectives are like the long-lost cousin of proper nouns,

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Adjectives, nouns and adjectival nouns (part 2): to use apostrophes or not to use apostrophes?

I have looked at this question in my blog on Possessive apostrophes: when do you need them? but it is worth looking at in more detail, as it is one of the trickier areas of grammar. It is also one where the answer is sometimes not clear, but can either be illogical or even open

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Yellow, red, orange and blue shipping containers stacked on top and beside each other

Adjectives: an introduction

Adjectives have a simple use: they describe nouns, and also pronouns and other adjectives. A simple definition is that adjectives are ‘describing words’. If we think of nouns as containers of meaning, adjectives help to give extra definition to our meaning. We can talk about a container, for example, or a yellow container or a

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Verbs as Nouns: participles and gerunds—grammatical chameleons

Verbs as nouns Some words are like amphibious vehicles that can be both a boat and a truck: the same basic word form is equally at home behaving in very different ways One of the confusing aspects of English is that the same word can act as different parts of speech, or change the function

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