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Learning Nouns Study Guide

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Updated on Sep 20, 2011

Learning Nouns

With this lesson, you'll begin to explore many paths to building your word power. You'll start with nouns, one of the four basic parts of speech, to acquire new words and methods for enriching your vocabulary.

As you know, every sentence must have at least a noun and a verb. The noun is the person, place, or thing doing the action in the sentence; the verb, of course, describes that action. There are common nouns, like boy, girl, dog, city, or mountain. And there are proper nouns that describe a specific person, place, or thing, like Harry Potter, Chicago, or Mt. Rushmore.

Nouns are easy enough, right? Well, they can get more complicated, and much more interesting, when your vocabulary expands to include less common nouns. Real word power lies in the ability to use lots of different words, but particularly the exactly right nouns, as subjects of your sentences.

As you're finding out through this book, there's no magic pill that can increase your vocabulary. You just have to read and listen a lot, and pay close attention to the words being used. Along the way, you'll acquire new words and, almost without realizing it, a new ease in writing and speaking.

Tip

Remember that it's often easy to figure out the meaning of a new word by its context.

Discovering New Nouns

1. Read the following paragraph and circle any words that are new to you. Pay special attention to their context in words around them, some of which appear in bold type.

Vacation Planning

Mabel was trying to organize her family's vacation, and somehow it was getting more complicated than she'd anticipated. The kids would be at Camp Serenity for the first two weeks after the summer solstice, and after that, she planned to take them to Seventeen Flags for a special treat. The dilemma was finding a hotel or a nearby inn that offered accommodations for two kids, a mom, a dad, two dogs, and three pet snakes. "Maybe you should consider a boardinghouse or a bed-and-breakfast," suggested her travel agent, "or try a hostel. Such an establishment might show you clemency or at least a little mercy."

Did you encounter any words you didn't know? If so, list them here:

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The paragraph includes several nouns that are more or less synonymous. The text would not make much sense; however, if the writer had used the familiar word hotel repeatedly, even though most of the alternative words used are actually synonyms or near synonyms for it. In fact, the use of different nouns enabled the writer, in the words of the travel agent, to make several suggestions that potentially widened Mabel's search for a place where she and her family and pets could rest their weary bones.

Practice exercises for this study guide can be found at:

Learning Nouns Practice Exercises

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