What are count nouns and non-count nouns?
Count nouns and non-count nouns can be identified by the use of the following noun markers or articles:
- These words indicate singular count nouns: a/an, each, every, either, neither
- These words indicate plural count nouns: these, those, a few, several, many
- These words indicate singular non-count nouns: this, that
- These words indicate plural non-count nouns: some, any
The definite article the
Use the definite article the in the following situations:
- Cultural context: The writer refers to common knowledge
For example: Did you see the sun come up today?
- Linguistic context: The writer refers back to a previous occurrence in the text
For example: She said her cat was missing. We looked for thecat for hours.
- Descriptive context: The writer tells the reader about something specific
For example: Please give me the green book that is on the table.
What is a noun clause?
A noun clause has a subject and a verb and can be used like a noun, either as a subject or an object. For example:
- A noun clause used as a subject: What he discovered was important.
- A noun clause used as an object: People believed what he discovered.
Noun Clauses are introduced by the following words: when, where, why, how, who/whom, whose, what, which, whether, if, or that.
Noun clauses beginning with a question word
Question words such as when, where, why, how, who/whom, whose, what, and which can introduce a noun clause.
|When did he discover it?||I’m not sure when he discovered it.|
|Where did he discover it?||Where he discovered it is not known.|
|Why did he discover it?||I don’t care why he discovered it.|
|How did he discover it||I’m not certain how he discovered it.|
|Who is Faraday?||I don’t know who Faraday is.|
|Whose discovery is that?||It is not certain whose discovery that is.|
|What did he discover?||What he discovered is not certain.|
Remember! Do not use the same word order for a noun clause that you use for a question. The subject comes before the verb in the noun clause.
Noun clauses beginning with whether or if
When a yes/no question is changed to a noun clause, the words whether or if are used to introduce the clause.
|Will her solution work?||He wonders whether her solution will work.|
|He wonders if her solution will work.|
|Did they believe him?||I don’t know whether they believed him.|
|I don’t know if they believed him.|
Noun clauses beginning with that
For a statement of fact or an idea, the word that is used to introduce the noun clause.
|The world is round.||We know that the world is round.|
|We know the world is round.|
|That the world is round is a fact.|
Nouns beginning with a gerund
A gerund is an –ing verb that is used as a noun.
- A gerund used as a subject: Smoking cigarettes is bad for you.
- A gerund used as an object: Lisa’s favorite activity is writing poetry.