If a noun describes an object, what does hope look like? A quick grammar guide.

What is a noun?

I once thought that it was an easy question to answer and certainly, it is one that many people would immediately say is a naming wordIt describes an object such as the word table or coat.   But what about the word hope or revenge?  Where is the object then?

We could say that they describe an object or an intangible or abstract concept which is where hope and revenge fit in.

There are several subclasses of nouns:

It can be a common noun:  cat

It can be a proper noun:  Sarah, America

Common nouns can be ‘count’ nouns:  six apples

Common nouns can be ‘noncount’ nouns:  music (never musics)

And count and noncount nouns can be either concrete (cat, table, music, grass) or abstract (dream, thought, luck, health)

Singular and plural

Many nouns have distinctive singular and plural forms.  The plural of regular nouns is formed by adding an -s to the singular:  cats, tables, apples

There are, however, many nouns that are irregular and which do not form a plural in this way – child→ children, woman →women, babybabies.

Possessive Nouns

In English, it is possible to show ownership or possession.  This can be done by adding an apostrophe and -s or sometimes by only adding an apostrophe ( see post:

the girl’s blouse (ie:  the blouse belongs to the girl)

Sarah’s shoes

my friend’s house

James’ pen

This last example is up for debate; this is the correct form but there is some difference of opinion and stylistic variations (see: Help…….Where s’hould that apos’t’rophe be?)

Noun Phrases

Nouns are frequently preceded by a determiner that forms part of a noun phrase.

The cat – cat is the noun and the is known as a determiner.

A determiner is a small class of words which are used at the beginning of noun phrases.  There is usually only one determiner in a noun phrase.

A noun phrase is a group of words in which the noun is the word that is the most important one in terms of understanding eg

the cat is a simple noun phrase.

the old cat is a noun phrase:  it is the cat that is the essential item here as the word old cannot stand alone; it requires another word to make meaning clear.

the bar of chocolate is also a noun phrase but in this case, it is the word bar that is the important item in the phrase; chocolate provides further information and understanding but is not the essential  (or head) noun.


If you want to test your knowledge, the following is a useful link:


If you need any more information or advice on nouns, please post a comment.  More than happy to help!


Crystal, D. 2000. The Cambridge Encyclopedia of The English Language. Cambridge: Cambridge Univerity Press

http://www.english-grammar-revolution.com/what-is-a-noun.html [accessed online 2/2/15

Getting together to write: the benefit of joining a writer’s circle

Support and inspiration through a writer’s circle

How do you find inspiration or support for your writing?

By googling reading and writing groups in my new local area, I found that there was a thriving community of writers – there are two groups available nearby and I went to my first meeting last Saturday.

I have never been to a writers circle before that wasn’t part of a University programme.   And it felt like a daunting endeavour to walk into a room where the group is well established.  I have attended many (not writing circles, I might add!) that have held their elbows high against new people joining.  It’s human nature.  But I was delighted by the welcome I received from the group.  I couldn’t have been made to feel more welcome!

It is important to have support, if you are a writer.  Writing is a solitary task in general. It is an independent bubble and yet, the whole point of writing is to communicate with others (unless you are writing a personal journal, of course!).  For most of the writers that I have spoken to, whether they are hobbyists or whether they want  to be published, they want their work to be read.

Needing to share

I want my writing to be read.  Blogging is a fantastic platform for writers of all genres.  I read more writing on blogs now than I do anywhere else.  I want to know what other people are saying; and the variety of writing, of opinion, on blog sites has opened my once closed mind!  Freshlypressed is certainly worth a look as it can bring ideas to the fore that you may not have thought interested you.  And I certainly read more poetry on here than anywhere else!

But I wanted to talk too.  About my writing, about other people’s writing and I need the feedback that a writing group can offer.  The instant ‘feel good’ factor of applause when you read out your work or the opinions of others who can tell you how your work has been received.  And, as all of us come from different walks of life, and bring different experiences to each group, everybody can add something to our writing.

Is it the right fit?

Workshopping your writing can be very scary.  You can feel extremely vulnerable as all writing is personal.  And so finding a group that supports your work sensitively is important.

If you are looking for a group, it is worth bearing in mind that all groups are different and in the same way you would try on a party dress (or tux) for a big night out, and find not all of those you like are the right fit, you need to find a group that suits your needs and personality.

The group that I attended spent some time writing, some time sharing what they had written and a lot of time discussing issues that arose from the writing.  I didn’t write anything great – I think newbie anxiety got the better of me – but I could feel my neurons igniting with the in-depth discussions!

The next meeting is not until January and I can’t wait!

If you are looking for a group, try a google search for writers’ groups in your area or ask at your local library.