Nouns in English

As you may know, nouns are a class of words that relate to names of objects, places, and living things. Unfortunately, when you are trying to sort out the subject of a sentence, it can be difficult to tell which words are being used as nouns, and which ones are being used in a more descriptive fashion. For example, the word “city” can be a noun, or it can describe a specific population density. Therefore, when determining where nouns are in a sentence, you’ll need to use cues within the sentence to make sure that you’ve identified them correctly.

Nouns in regular sentences

In many cases, you’ll find that either the first or second word of a sentence is a noun. For example, in the sentence “Mary went to the store”, “Mary” is a noun and the subject of the sentence. Regardless of where the name of a person or specific place appears in a sentence, it will be capitalized. This should help you determine where the nouns are in most typical sentences.

Nouns in conversational sentences

When you see quotation marks in printed text, it usually means that someone is speaking or quoting something else that was said or written. In particular, if you’re reading a work of fiction, quotation marks can help you identify the subject of the sentence. The person that is doing the speaking is usually named outside the quotes, while the subject of the sentence is found in what was said by the speaker.

How to determine which noun is the subject of a sentence

Consider a sentence such as, “Claudia went visit Mary in Ohio”. In this case, you have three nouns, Claudia, Mary, and Ohio. Even though Claudia is the topic of the sentence, you may need to do some work to arrive at that conclusion. Depending on your skill level in English, you may want to list all of the possibilities; even if you know they do not make sense.

To begin, as you may know, Ohio is a state, and therefore cannot visit Claudia or Mary. Since Ohio cannot take any action and is not being described, you can safely rule it out as the subject of the sentence. You can also apply the action and description rules to Mary and Claudia. As you can see, Claudia is the only one taking action in the sentence, and there is no additional information being given about Mary.

Even though nouns are a fundamental part of every sentence, identifying them and sorting out their meaning can be complicated. Unfortunately, even if you look in a dictionary and find out that a particular word is a noun, it may not help you to sort out the subject of the sentence. Therefore, you may have to try rephrasing sentences in order to see if you can come up with a meaning that fits the syntax and makes sense. Have patience – with time, identifying nouns in English will become second nature to you


You will find in this section all you need to know about english vocabulary to improve your speaking or writing skills by acquiring new wrds, sentences, structure, etc…

1. English vocabulary

This is a wonderful site where you will find all you need about the most common vocabulary themes.

2. British Vs American English

the majour differences between the two Englishes

3. British Vs American English word list
a list of the common word differences

and more Differences: Spelling differences between British and American English

4. English vocabulary in use

the famous book which covers most themes about vocabulary it is for pre- and intermediate level.

5. Visual Dictionary

A visual dictionary about some themes like animals, clothes, school and so on…

6. Vocabulary worksheets

We recommend that you visit the following website teach-nology where you can find a wonderful range of worksheets of different types:

Visit the main site also as it is full of lesson plans, tips, etc…

Other useful websites:


What is grammar?

Language consists of words – spoken or written – which we use to communicate with other people. Grammar is the structure of that language: the way it’s used, and the conventions that help us understand what is meant from the context.  We learn grammar as toddlers when we learn to speak, so if you speak correctly it’s likely that your children will too, without ever having been taught formally. Continue reading “Grammar”


When you want to say that one situation (described in the main clause) depends on another situation, you use a conditional clause. Conditional clauses usually begin with if or (for negative clauses) unless.

Jane will pass the exam if she works hard.
Jane will not pass the exam unless she works hard.

They may follow or go in front of the main clause.
If Jane works hard, she will pass her exam.

Conditional clauses are used in two main ways:

– If you see the situation as a real one, and likely to happen, you use the present simple tense in the conditional clause and will (‘ll) or won’t in the main clause. Don’t use will in the conditional clause.

If you take a taxi, you will be there in good time.  NOT If you will take a taxi…
If you wear a coat, you won’t get cold. NOT If you will wear a coat…

– If you see the situation as unreal, imaginary, or less likely to happen, you use the simple past tense in the conditional clause and would (‘d), might, or could in the main clause. Don’t use would in the conditional clause.

If you saw a ghost, what would you do?  NOT If you would see a ghost…
If I bought a new coat, I might not feel so cold. (=I would possibly not feel so cold)
If I found their address, I could write to them. (=I would be able to write to them)

In sentences of this kind, the past tense of the verb be appears as were after the first and third persons, in formal speech and writing. Only use was in informal speech.

If I were at home, I would be watching television. (informal: If I was at home…)
If John were playing today, we’d have a chance of winning. (informal: If John was playing…)

– If you want to talk about conditional situations in the past, use had (‘d) in the conditional clause, and would have in the main clause.

If I’d seen her, I would have asked her to call. (=I did not see her)
The books wouldn’t have been damaged if Mary had moved them. (=”Mary” didn’t move them)

– You can use when instead of if in sentences of the first type (present simple + will etc), but not with those of the second (simple past + would etc). When is not used in situations that are unlikely or impossible.

What will John do if he goes home? (=”John” is probably going home)  OR What will John do when he goes home? (=”John” is definitely going home)
What would John do if he went home? (=”John” is probably not going home)  NOT What would John do when he went home?
I would shout if I saw a ghost.  NOT I would shout when I saw a ghost.

I wish
If you want to talk about a situation in the present which you are not happy about, and would like to change, use the simple past tense in the conditional clause.

I wish I had a new bike. (=”unfortunately,” I don’t have a new bike)

If you want to talk about a situation in the past which you are not happy about, and would like to change, use had in the conditional clause.

I wish I’d gone by train. (=”unfortunately,” I didn’t go by train)
I wish I hadn’t gone by train. (=”unfortunately,” I did go by train)