Nouns and Verbs Help (page 3)
You know nouns as words that stand for people, places, or things. People and places are easy enough to recognize: Philip, Marcel, Pittsburgh, the Rosebowl, Radio City Music Hall—and we could go on forever. Things are easy, too: table, pens, candy, and TV are just a few. More difficult to recognize are the words we call abstract nouns. These are ideas or qualities such as honor, love, loyalty, and determination. A good rule of thumb for recognizing a noun is this: If you can put a, an, or the in front of the word and it still makes sense, it's a noun.
Nouns Practice and Answers
Circle all the nouns in the following sentences.
- Psychologists now believe that people who get what they want are not necessarily as happy as they thought they would be.
- Dr. Daniel Gilbert, a Harvard psychologist, thinks that in the future we'll wonder why we made today's choices.
- We may make perfectly good choices for ourselves today, but we don't know who we'll be in the future.
- Credit cards are a great convenience until we overspend!
- Check your credit at least once a year.
- A lawyer testified on that case.
- A renowned designer of glass is Dale Chihuly.
- Carpet covered the entire space.
- Environmentalists in our area planted clams in local ponds and had great success.
- Lawmakers held hearings on the growing deficit.
1. Psychologists, people 2. Dr. Daniel Gilbert, psychologist, future, choices 3. choices, today, future 4. cards, convenience 5. credit, year 6. lawyer, case 7. designer, glass, Chihuly 8. carpet, space 9. environmentalists, area, clams, ponds, success 10. lawmakers, hearings, deficit
Sentences are complete only if they contain both a subject and a verb. The verb is part of the backbone of any sentence, joining the noun or subject as one of two absolutely necessary elements of a complete sentence. The verb lives in what grammarians call the predicate, which contains the verb plus all the words that relate specifically to it. The verb gives the subject its action or expresses its state of being.
The doctor suggested that I take much more calcium.
The doctor is a believer in vitamin therapy.
In the first sentence, the subject is doctor and the verb or action is suggested. In the second sentence there is no action verb; rather, there is the linking or being verb is. Many prefer to call is a linking verb because that is what it does—it links a word in the predicate to the subject. In this case, it links believer to doctor. Later in this section, you will learn much more about linking or being verbs.
Verbs Practice and Answers
Circle all the verbs—both action and linking—in each of the following sentences.
- Time flies.
- The newly cleaned mirrors glitter and gleam.
- My house is cold in the winter.
- The child felt sad.
- I am the president of our social club.
- The company's eight stores closed in 2008.
- My bank will merge with a larger one.
- Bluefish and bass are abundant in Long Island Sound.
- September 11, 2001, is a date seared in most memories.
- A man, arrested for drunk driving, produced his identification.
1. flies 2. glitter and gleam 3. is 4. felt 5. am 6. closed 7. will merge 8. are 9. seared 10. produced
You've learned that action words are verbs, and they are easy to recognize:
The kite crashed into the field.
A car sped down the highway.
My cat caught a mouse.
The moving truck lumbered on its way.
Reading this last sentence, you can actually see in your mind's eye the action of the word lumbered.
What if the verb did not signal an action but worked to link the predicate (the verb half of the sentence) to the subject? That's what we expect linking verbs (also known as being verbs) to do. You can see this transformation in the following sentence:
The moving truck was huge and lumbering.
The being verb was does not provide a picture, but it does link the subject, truck, to words (adjectives huge and lumbering) that describe it. Now look at this example:
"Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" was the first song I learned.
The linking verb is the same—was. But what does it link? In this case, the subject, "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" is linked to a noun that means the same as the subject. In fact, you can turn the sentence around and keep the same meaning:
The first song I learned was "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star."
We can say, then, that linking verbs can function as equalizers: "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" equals a song.
Conclusion? Either nouns or adjectives that link the predicate to the subject follow linking verbs.
It's also interesting that some action verbs can be converted to linking verbs, depending on the verb's function and meaning of the sentence:
Mario grows tomatoes.
Each summer, Mario's family grows tired of eating tomatoes.
In the first sentence, grows is an action verb. In the second sentence, grows is a linking verb that links the subject family to the adjective tired. Tired is an adjective that describes the family.
Remember that each linking verb is subject to the same rules as action verbs: a linking verb must agree with its subject in number.
Here is a list of common linking verbs:
Linking/Being Verbs Practice and Answers
For each of the following sentences, select the linking verb that expresses the correct number.
- John Adams (was/were) President for one term.
- The White House of Adams' time (appears/appear) very strange.
- It (seems/seem) unfinished with no plaster in most of the rooms and no main staircase.
- People (grows/grew) tired of seeing Mrs. Adams's laundry hung in the East Room.
- The White House grounds (smell/smells) foul.
- The grounds (was/were) littered with workers' shanties, stagnant water, and outhouses.
- Today, the White House flowers (is/are) perfect.
- The rooms (remain/remains) colorful and neat.
- Visitors (seem/seems) delighted with their tour.
- Our group (were/was) silent as the President approached.
1. was 2. appears 3. seems 4. grew 5. smell 6. were 7. are 8. remain 9. seem 10. was
As you work with linking verbs, you'll note that the past tense is easier to achieve than the present. In the present tense, the verb endings change. For example:
Present Time, Singular, and Plural
I seem taller than Jan.
You seem taller, also.
Jethro (He) seems tired after all that yard work.
Betsy (She) seems to have less back pain.
Their cat (It) seems unable to sleep alone.
Who seems the smartest in the group?
Marcel and I (We) seem rested after our vacation.
You and David (You) seem exhausted from your schedule.
Aidan and Elias (They) seem able to go without sleep.
Past Time, Singular, and Plural
I seemed taller than Jan.
You seemed taller, also.
Jethro seemed tired after all that yard work.
Betsy seemed to have less back pain.
Their cat seemed unable to sleep alone.
Who seemed the smartest in the group?
Marcel and I seemed rested after our vacation.
You and David seemed exhausted from your schedule.
Aidan and Elias seemed able to go without sleep.
Be: A Life of Its Own
You saw a list of common linking verbs earlier. Indeed, one of them is the verb be. Be is more complicated than other verbs for two reasons: First, it has many different forms, depending upon tense and number (am, is, are, was, were). Second, it combines with the helping words to, will, can, could, would, or should in the following ways:
I would be grateful to you if you would vote for my candidate.
You should be more careful when you walk on the ice-covered streets.
I can be ready at 1 P.M.
Bess could be your greatest ally.
My children wanted to be helpful.
You will be expected to win.
Linking Verb "Be" Practice and Answers
Use a form of the linking verb be to fill each space in the following sentences. Your choice may be one word or two, depending upon the meaning of the sentence.
- Her dog ___ a Pomeranian.
- Her choice ___ a different one as well.
- Yesterday, the gray clouds ___ thickening just as we left.
- The picnic ___ rescheduled for sometime in June.
- I ___ so happy that you remembered me.
- The child expects that chair ___ hers.
- As they bake, the cookies ___ so good!
- They ___ delicious, too.
- Alex and Jenna ___ always happy to eat dessert.
- Next year, those two ___ my best friends.
Sample answers are provided.
1. is 2. could be 3. were 4. will be/was 5. was 6. to be 7. smell 8. taste 9. are 10. will be
Can the linking verb be be any more complicated? Yes, it can. Frequently, a linking verb combines with another word. The combination, called a contraction, requires dropping a letter in the verb and replacing it with an apostrophe:
She is the strongest runner I know.
She's the strongest runner I know. (The i is dropped.)
In the following sentences, convert the italicized words into contractions.
- We are more determined than you think. _____
- Here is your chance to shine. _____
- It is about time you took charge! _____
- Ron said that you are his favorite sitter. _____
- You will find that it is an involved community. _____
- I am your best friend. _____
- He is in our carpool, too. _____
- They are driving in front of us. _____
- You are foolish if you think I'll pay for the gas. _____
- It is time to go home. _____
1. We're 2. Here's 3. It's 4. You're 5. You'll, it's 6. I'm 7. He's 8. They're 9. You're 10. It's
NOTE: Don't use an apostrophe in the word its when it indicates possession.
The mother cat groomed its kitten.
There is one more combination you should know about, and that is the linking verb combined with not. Notice that in such a case, the word not is contracted.
- are not = aren't
- is not = isn't
- was not = wasn't
- were not = weren't
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