Unformatted text preview: 1 ENGLISH GRAMMAR
PARTS OF SPEECH
All words may be classified into groups called parts of speech. There are 8
parts of speech namely: Nouns, pronouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs,
prepositions, conjunctions and interjections.
We shall now discuss these parts of speech one at a time: NOUNS
A noun is the part of speech that names a person, a place, a thing or an idea. You
use nouns every day when you speak or write. Every day you probably use
thousands of nouns. Because nouns name the objects and people and places around
you, it would be very difficult to talk about anything at all without them.
Many nouns name things you can see:
Some nouns name things you cannot see such as feelings, ideas and
What words in each sentence below are nouns?
Example: John is a dancer – John, dancer
1. The students planned a party.
1 2 2. Three boys performed songs.
3. Excitement filled the air.
4. Joyce Chepkemoi won a prize.
5. Otieno lives in a house on my street.
Copy the nouns below and write whether it names a person, a place, a thing, or an
Example: river – place
4. Menengai Crater
8. Masanduku Arap Simiti
Write down each noun in the following sentences.
Example: Kenya is a beautiful country – Kenya, country
1. The musicians played drums and trumpets.
2. Her family lives in a village.
3. Petronilla enjoyed the trip.
4. A festival was held in Kenyatta University.
5. People in costumes filled the streets.
6. Boys in Scouts uniforms were leading the parade.
7. The holiday was a great excitement.
8. A taxi brought the family to the airport.
9. Maryanne built a huge castle in the wet sand.
10. Her mother swam in the warm water.
There are different kinds of nouns:
Common and proper nouns
All nouns can be described as either common or proper. When you talk or write
about a person, a place, a thing, or an idea in general, you use a common noun.
Example: Doctors work hard. They treat many patients.
A proper noun is the name of a particular person, place, thing, or idea. Proper
nouns always begin with capital letters.
Example: Ephraim Maree is a doctor. He comes from Kirinyaga.
Note: When a proper noun is made up of more than one word, only the important
words in the noun will begin with a capital letter. Do not capitalize words such as
2 3 the, of, or for.
Example: Gulf of Mexico, Statue of Liberty, the Commander–in–Chief.
Common and Proper Nouns
Dr. Frank Njenga
Proper nouns are important to good writing. They make your writing more specific,
and therefore clearer.
Which words are proper nouns and should be capitalised? Which words are
7. kendu bay
8. john hopkins
14. east africa
List the common nouns and the proper nouns in each of the following sentences.
Example: Nancy welcomed the guests.
1. Lucky Dube was a famous singer.
2. This dancer has performed in London and Paris.
3. His last flight was over the Mediterranean Sea.
4. She worked as a nurse during the Second World War.
5. Her goal was to educate students all over the world.
6. It was the worst accident in the history of Europe.
7. Bill Gates is best known for founding Microsoft.
8. The Pilot was the first woman to cross that ocean alone.
9. She grabbed a kettle and brought them water.
10. Professor Wangari Maathai won a Nobel Peace Prize.
Singular and Plural Nouns
3 4 A noun may be either singular or plural. A singular noun names one person,
place, thing, or idea.
Example: The farmer drove to the market in his truck.
A plural noun names more than one person, place, thing or idea.
Example: The farmers drove to the markets in their trucks.
Rules for forming plurals
The following are guidelines for forming plurals:
1. To form the plural of most singular nouns, add -s.
Examples: Street–streets, house–houses, painter–painters, shelter–shelters,
2. When a singular noun ends in s, sh, ch, x, or z, add -es.
Examples: dress-dresses, brush-brushes, axe-axes, coach-coaches, box–boxes,
bench-benches, dish-dishes, waltz–waltzes.
3. When a singular noun ends in o, add -s to make it plural.
Examples: Piano-pianos, solo-solos, cameo–cameos, concerto–concertos, patiopatios, studio-studios, radio-radios, rodeo–rodeos.
4. For some nouns ending with a consonant and o, add -es.
Examples: hero-heroes, potato-potatoes, echo-echoes, veto-vetoes, tomatotomatoes.
5. When a singular noun ends with a consonant and y, change the y to i and add
Examples: Library – libraries, activity – activities, story – stories, city – cities,
berry – berries.
6. When a singular noun ends with a vowel (a,e,i,o,u) followed by y, just add -s.
Examples: Valley – valleys, essay – essays, alley – alleys, survey – surveys, joy –
7. To form the plural of many nouns ending in f or fe, change the f to v and add
-es or s.
Examples: Wife – wives, thief – thieves, loaf – loaves, half – halves, shelf –
shelves, leaf – leaves, scarf – scarves, life – lives, calf – calves, elf – elves.
8. For some nouns ending in f, add -s to form the plural.
Examples: proof – proofs, belief – beliefs, motif – motifs, cliff – cliffs.
9. Some nouns remain the same in the singular and the plural.
Examples: deer – deer, sheep – sheep, series – series, species – species, moose –
moose, trout – trout.
10. The plurals of some nouns are formed in special ways.
4 5 Examples: foot – feet, child – children, mouse – mice, man – men, woman –
women, ox-oxen, tooth – teeth.
NB: If you don’t figure out the correct spelling of a plural noun, look it up in a
What is the plural form of each of the following nouns? Example: scarf -scarves
17. moose 25. boss
22. beach 30. ship
Write the plural form of each noun in brackets to complete each sentence correctly.
Example: I bought two ________________ from the shop. (loaf) loaves
1. I used two different _______________ to cut the rope. (knife)
2. She peeled the _______________ with a knife. (potato)
3. They are feeding the noisy _____________. (goose)
4. The tools are placed on the _____________. (shelf)
5. Mukami cut a few _______________ for the salad. (tomato)
6. The ______________ are playing in the field. (child)
7. Some ______________ are hiding in the ceiling. (mouse)
8. The ______________ of the buildings must be repaired. (roof)
9. The music helped them imagine the strange _________. (story)
10. Koech used creative ______________ to help young people sharpen their
Countable and Uncountable Nouns
These are nouns that take plurals and can be counted.
Egg – eggs
One egg, three eggs, ten eggs
Potato - Potatoes Twenty potatoes
Onion - Onions
Two hundred onions
Such nouns are known as COUNTABLE or COUNT NOUNS
5 6 Uncountable Nouns
These are nouns that do not take plurals and cannot be counted.
Examples: salt, butter, cooking fat, milk, bread, jam
We do not say:
Such nouns are known as UNCOUNTABLE or MASS NOUNS
Rewrite the words below in two columns, COUNTABLE and UNCOUNTABLE NOUNS
Plurals with uncountable Nouns
One way to express plurals of uncountable nouns is by use of expressions of
a piece of information pieces of information
a loaf of bread
four loaves of bread
a tin of soup
three tins of soup
a piece of furniture
several pieces of furniture
a litre of milk
twenty litres of milk
a bottle of beer
ten bottles of beer
Supply an appropriate expression of quantity for the following uncountable nouns
1. a..........................................of cigarettes.
2. two.................................... of cooking oil
3. three...................................of jam.
4. ten......................................of butter.
5. six........................................of soda.
6. a......................................... of toothpaste
7. three....................................of rice.
8. five ...................................... of flour.
6 7 9. two ...................................... of chocolate.
10. four.......................... of news.
Collective nouns are nouns that represent a group of people or things as a
Some collective nouns can take plural forms
crowd (s) flock (s)
group (s) herd (s)
team (s) committee (s)
Some collective nouns, however, cannot be used in the plural:
luggages* baggages* Exercise 10
When I arrived at the airport, there were.........1......... (crowd) of people blocking
the entrance with their .................2..................( luggage ). Near the customs
sections, several...............3................. (group) of officials were standing, checking
the ..................4.................. (equipment) that was being loaded onto a trolley. Most
people were standing, waiting for... .............5................. (information) from the
loudspeakers on the departures and arrivals of aircraft.
A compound noun is a noun that is made up of two or more words. The words
that form compound nouns may be joined together, separated or hyphenated.
Joined: bookcase, blackboard, pushcart
Separated: high school, rabbit hutch, radar gun
Hyphenated: go-getter, mother-in-law, sergeant-at-arms
Compound nouns are usually a combination of two or more word classes. The
most common combinations are as follows:
7 8 a. Some are formed by joining a noun with another noun. Most of these compound
nouns take their plurals in the last words.
b. Some are formed by joining a verb and an adverb. Most of these compound nouns
also take their plurals in the last words.
c. Some compound nouns are formed by joining an adjective and a noun. Most of these
also take their plurals in the last words.
d. Some are formed by joining a verb and a noun. Most of these also take their plurals
in the last words.
e. Some ore formed by joining an adverb and a noun. Most of these also take their
plural in the last words.
f. A few compound nouns are formed by joining an adverb and a verb. These ones also
take their plurals in the last words.
8 9 Examples:
g. A few others are formed by joining a noun and a verb. They also take their plurals in
the last words.
h. A number of compound nouns are formed by joining two nouns by use of hyphens
and a short preposition in between. These compound nouns always take their
plurals in the first words.
Underline the compound nouns in the following sentences and write down their plural
forms where possible.
1. John wants to be a quantity surveyor when he grows up.
2. Rainwater had washed away all the top soil.
3. The footballer was shown a red card by the referee.
4. Neither candidate won the elections, forcing a runoff.
5. The goalkeeper saved a penalty in the second half.
6. He killed the wild pig with a sledge hammer.
7. Njoroge’s tape-recorder was stolen yesterday.
8. The theatregoer was disappointed with the show.
9. Size 8’s latest song has caused an uproar.
10. He attempted a creative writing workshop.
A possessive noun shows who or what owns something. A possessive noun can
either be singular or plural.
Singular possessive nouns
A singular possessive noun shows that one person, place, or thing has or owns
something. To make a singular noun show possession, add an apostrophe and s
the feathers of the chick – the chick’s feathers
9 10 the hat that belongs to the man – the man’s hat
the child’s toy
the fish’s fins
the horse’s tail
Using possessive nouns is shorter and better than other ways of showing
LONGER: The dog belonging to Papa is barking.
BETTER: Papa’s dog is barking.
Plural Possessive Nouns
A plural possessive noun shows possession or ownership of a plural noun.
The cars that belong to the teachers are parked here.
The teachers’ cars are parked here.
When a plural noun ends in s, add only an apostrophe after the s to make the
noun show possession.
Not all plural nouns end in s. When a plural noun does not end in s, add ‘s to
form the plural possession.
the shoes of the men – the men’s shoes
the food of the children – the children’s food
The noun following a possessive noun may either be the name of a thing or a
Thing – Koki’s raincoat
Quality – the judge’s fury
Change the following phrases to show possession in a shorter way.
Example: the claws of the leopard
the leopard’s claws.
1. the tail of the lion
2. the dog that Cliff has
3. the hat of my mother
4. the book that Evans owns
5. the pot that the child has
6. the name of the doll
10 11 the mobile phone that Lucy owns
8. the shoes that Kimani has
9. the teeth that the fox has
10. the rabbit that my friend owns
Summary of rules of forming Possessive Nouns
1. For singular a noun, add an apostrophe and s.
Example: Mr. Mukui’s car is a Toyota Corolla.
2. For plural noun ending in s, add an apostrophe only.
Example: The victims’ property was stolen
3. For a plural noun that does not end in s, add an apostrophe and s.
Example: The women’s boots were muddy.
Singular Noun Singular possessive
Write the following phrases to show possession.
Example: teachers – pens = teachers’ pens
1. cooks – aprons
6. women – sports
2. men – boots
7. carpenters – nails
3. countries – flags
8. sailors – uniforms
4. guests – coats
9. musicians – instruments
5. athletes – medal
10. neighbours – pets
Rewrite the following sentences changing the BOLD words to plural possessive
Example: The players on the teams practised after school.
The teams’ players practised after school.
1. Each day the wealth of the couple increased.
2. There was a team of men and a team of women.
3. The uniforms that the teams wore were new.
4. Numbers were printed on the shirts of the athletes
5. Scores made by the team-mates were put on the scoreboard.
6. The players enjoyed the cheers of their friends.
7. The whistles of the coaches stopped the game.
7. 11 12 8. The eyes of the children were full of tears of joy.
9. The soothing voices of their mothers calmed them.
10. However, the houses belonging to their neighbours were destroyed. PRONOUNS
A pronoun is a part of speech that takes the place of a noun. They include
such words as I, we, he, she, they, me and us.
Pronouns enable you to avoid repeating the same names (nouns), when writing
or speaking, which would otherwise make you sound very awkward and wordy. By
using pronouns effectively, you can make your writing and speaking flow smoothly.
Pronouns can be classified into 6 types. These are personal, indefinite,
demonstrative, interrogative, reflexive and intensive pronouns.
A personal pronoun is a word that is used in place of a noun or another
pronoun. They are used to refer to nouns that name persons or things.
Awkward: Kamau put on Kamau’s gum boots. Then Kamau went to the shamba.
Improved: Kamau put on his gum boots. Then he went to the shamba.
In the above example, the personal pronoun his helps the writer avoid repeating
the same noun. The pronoun he acts as a bridge to connect the two sentences.
Personal pronouns are further classified in terms of person and gender.
In terms of person, personal pronouns can be divided into three classes.
(i) First person – I, my, me, we, our and us.
These ones refer to the person(s) speaking.
Example: I always ride my bike to school.
(ii)Second person – you, your, yours
These refer to the person(s) spoken to.
Example: I will call you tomorrow.
(iii) Third person – he, his, him, she, hers, her, it, its, they, their, them.
These ones refer to another person(s) or thing(s) that is being spoken of.
The personal pronoun it usually replaces a noun that stands for a thing or an
animal. It is never used in place of a person.
12 13 Personal pronouns can also be classified by gender. Gender can either be
masculine (referring to male people), feminine (referring to female people) or
neuter (referring to animals or things).
Joseph cleaned his car. (his is the third person, masculine gender).
Isabel said the dress was hers (hers is the third person, feminine gender).
The dog wagged its tail. (its is the third person, neuter gender).
FORMS OF PERSONAL PRONOUNS
In English, personal pronouns have three forms: the subject form, the object
form and the possessive form.
She is a painter. (subject form)
He praised her. (Object form)
It is her best painting. (Possessive form)
A subject pronoun takes the place of a noun as the subject of a sentence. These
(i) Singular forms – I, you, he, she, it
(ii) Plural forms – we, you, they
The housegirl takes care of her. She takes care of her.
The dog guards the house.
It guards the house.
Mark and Francis love swimming. They love swimming.
Subject pronouns also appear after forms of the linking verbs be.
The watchman today is he.
The composers were they.
Underline the subject pronouns in the following sentences.
Example: She ate a water melon
1. They ate fish and chips.
2. We like Italian food.
3. It is delicious.
4. The biggest eater was he.
5. You helped in the cooking.
13 14 6. The cooks were Tom and I.
Replace the underlined words with subject pronouns.
Example: Pio and Gama are friends - They
1. The glasses were under the table.
2. Emma fed the chicken.
3. The pears were juicy.
4. Uncle Ben and Lillian visited the orphans.
5. The new waitress is Jane.
6. The fastest runners were Tecla and Kirui.
7. Lisa went to the hall.
8. The chicken was slaughtered.
9. Lucky Dube and Brenda Fasie were South African Singers.
10. Samuel Wanjiru has won many athletics medals.
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