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7. FUNCTIONS OF NOUNS IN SENTENCES

7. FUNCTIONS OF NOUNS IN SENTENCES

Before we examine the functions of nouns in sentences, certain terms must be understood.

(a) Noun phrase:

This is a group of words acting as a noun but without a finite verb (verb with tense).

Noun phrases usually consist of: - an article + adjective(s) + noun.

 

e.g. The ridiculous incident

              article      adj.         Noun

 

(b) Noun clause:

This is a group of words consisting of a subject and a finite verb. The noun clause acts as a noun in a sentence.

 

(i)   NOUNS/NOUN PHRASES/NOUN CLAUSES AS SUBJECTS OF A SENTENCE

 

(c) Subject:

This refers to what or whom the sentence refers to.

In sentences with transitive verbs, the subject is the doer of the action stated by the verb.

Nouns, noun phrases and noun clauses can act as subjects of sentence.

e.g. The boys (n) were called in.

                  S

 

The most improved students were rewarded.

            S (noun phrase)

 

The students who came late, were sent away.

             S (noun clause)

 

(ii). OBJECT

       NOUNS/NOUN PHRASES/NOUN CLAUSES AS DIRECT OBJECTS

The direct object refers to the receiver of the action stated by the verb.

A noun, noun phrase and noun clause can act as a direct object in a sentence.

e.g. He kicked the ball.

                        D.O (noun)

 

They received the exercise books.

                          D.O (noun phrase)

 

He slapped a girl who sat behind the class.

                    D.O (noun clause)

 

NOUNS/NOUNPHRASES/NOUN CLAUSES AS INDIRECT OBJECT

 

The indirect object (1.0) receives the direct object

 

e.g. He gave the card to Juma.

1.0  (n)

 

He gave the card to the brightest boy in class.

1.0  (noun phrase)

 

They gave letters to all who had shouted.

                                      Noun clause (1.0)

 

(iii) NOUN CLAUSES AS COMPLIMENTS

Look at the sentences below.

What they found were broken chairs.

                                     n. phrase (C)

 

Mary is a bellicose student.

                Noun phrase (C)

The underlined phrases compliment (describe, modify) the subject.

The direct object and indirect object can also be complimented by noun clauses.

Kioko gave it to Mary, the short brown girl.

                                   Compliment of object

 

In brief, nouns, noun phrases and noun clauses may act as subjects, objects and compliments in sentences.

 

 

 

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