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Using Nouns and Noun Phrases as Subjects

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Using Nouns and Noun Phrases as Subjects

A noun is traditionally defined as a word that denotes a person, place, thing, or idea. A noun phrase is a phrase consisting of a noun and any modifiers, complements, or determiners. Pronouns are a subcategory of nouns which take the place of nouns and noun phrases.

In grammar, a subject is a word, phrase, or clause that performs the action of or acts upon the verb. In the English language, nouns, pronouns, and noun phrases most frequently function as subjects. Examples of nouns including pronouns and noun phrases as subjects include the following:

  • Cats chase mice. (noun)
  • Babies cry, eat, and sleep. (noun)
  • I love my husband. (pronoun)
  • No one is smarter. (pronoun)
  • My puppy woke me up too early. (noun phrase)
  • The exuberant woman with the pink hat sells seashells by the seashore. (noun phrase)

Noun Phrase as Subject

Noun Phrase as Subject

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Pronoun as Subject

Pronoun as Subject

References

Brinton, Laurel J. & Donna M. Brinton. 2010. The linguistic structure of Modern English, 2nd edn. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company.
Hopper, Paul J. 1999. A short course in grammar. New York: W. W. Norton & Company.
Huddleston, Rodney. 1984. Introduction to the grammar of English. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

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Written by Heather Johnson

Heather is a writer, librarian, linguist, wife, and mother who loves her husband, children, dogs, and cats. She has a bachelor's degree in English with a minor in creative writing and master's degrees in library and information science and English studies with a concentration in linguistics.

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