2.1. General Characteristics

2.1.1. Semantics – the noun is a class of words denoting entity (a separate unit that is complete and has its own characteristic). The noun is the central nominative word class. The noun class can be subdivided into the following semantic subclasses:

The basic division of the noun class is into common nouns and proper nouns. Proper nouns have unique reference. They are used to denote individuals, places, oceans, institutions, etc. Most of the proper nouns have no plural form. Many proper nouns do not take articles or other grammatical determiners. Common nouns denote classes of similar referents or specific representatives of certain classes:
e.g. The computer is widely used nowadays.
e.g. The computer is on the desk.

The subclass of common nouns can be subdivided into countable nouns and uncountable nouns. Countable nouns have two categorial forms of number – singular or plural. Uncountable nouns have only one form – either singular or plural. Both countable and uncountable nouns fall into two semantic varieties – concrete and abstract. Concrete nouns denote material referents. Abstract nouns denote immaterial referents.  

Countable concrete nouns can be divided into individual nouns and collective nouns improper. Individual nouns refer to material entities with discrete boundaries. These nouns may be either animate (denoting beings) or inanimate (denoting objects). Animate nouns are of two semantic varieties – personal (denoting human beings) and non-personal (denoting other species). The singular form of individual nouns requires singular verb forms in expressing predication; the plural form of individual nouns requires plural verb forms in Subject – Predicate structures:
e.g. The child is singing.
e.g. The children are singing.

Collective improper nouns are treated grammatically as countable nouns (i.e. they have both singular and plural form):
e.g. The class is in the room. The classes are in the rooms.
Semantically, however, they denote groups of people, constituted on the basis of some common feature. The implied plurality can be formally marked by plural verb forms in Subject-Predicate structures:
e.g. The class were all clever children.
Plurality can also be marked by plural pronoun:
e.g. The senior class, who had a meeting, decided they would have a party.

Uncountable concrete nouns fall into two different grammatical subclasses – mass nouns and collective proper nouns. Mass nouns denote substances. They require singular verb form in expressing predication:
e.g. Honey is good for you.

Animate collective nouns proper always combine with plural word forms:
e.g. Vermine were crawling all over the place.

Inanimate collective nouns proper are treated as singular:
e.g. Fruit is good for you.

Uncountable nouns abstract are always in the singular:
e.g. Hate is a negative feeling.

This well-known classification is based on both semantic and formal features of nouns. It is meticulous and comprehensive. However, one should bear in mind the fact that it is a classification of individual meanings of lexemes rather than lexemes in their generalized semantic complexity.

2.1.2. Form

A. Word – building – noun stems can be divided according to their morphemic structure into the following types:
1. simple stems – they consist of only the root morpheme: e.g. man, child, book, sound, dog
2. derived stems – they contain one root morpheme and some affixes: e.g. freedom, teacher, disbelief, withdrawal
3. compound stems – they combine two or more root morphemes and, sometimes, an affix: e.g. man-of-war, mother-in-law, manchild, boyfriend

B. Grammatical paradigm of the noun – English nouns distinguish the grammatical categories of number, gender, case as well as article determination.
The grammatical paradigms of the various semantic subclasses differ in the number of grammatical forms included in them. Of all the semantic subclasses of nouns, the common countable concrete individual animate personal noun has the most numerous grammatical paradigm: e.g. man – men – man’s – men’s

2.1.3. Syntactic functions – nouns can perform the following syntactic functions:
1. Subject – e.g. The girl is beautiful.
2. Direct object – e.g. She made a cake.
3. Indirect object – e.g. I bought the child a book.
4. Prepositional object (a noun phrase governed by a preposition) – e.g. Tell me about your holiday.
5. Predicative (forming or contained in the predicate, as old in the dog is old (but not in the old dog ) and house in there is a large house.) – e.g. She is a student.
6. Subject complement – e.g. He woke up a rich man.
7. Object complement – e.g. She made him a good husband.
8. Premodifier of noun – e.g. The film festival will be held in October.
9. Adverbial modifier – e.g. See you next week.
10. Vocative (relating to or denoting a case of nouns, pronouns, and adjectives in Latin and other languages, used in addressing or invoking a person or thing) – e.g. Is that you, Nick?
In all these functions the noun exhibits nominal features. In some contexts, however, nouns may acquire adjectival or adverbial features:
11. Adjectival features: e.g. She isn’t much of a cook.
12. Adverbial features: e.g. Her hair was ash blonde.

2.2. Semantic changes reflected in the grammatical form of nouns

Many lexemes are polysemantic – the noun “head”, for example, can express various meanings:
- part of the body (e.g. Many nobles lost their heads during the French Revolution.)
- head’s length (e.g. The Queen’s horse won by a head.)
- person (e.g. 50 dinners at $ 2 a head)
- talent (e.g. He has a good head for business.)
- top (e.g. at the head of the page)
- something like a head in form or position (e.g. the head of the pin)
- ruler (e.g. the crowned heads of Europe), etc.

Some common nouns have originated from proper nouns: sandwich, boycott, wellingtons. These are included in dictionaries as separate lexemes.
Usually the connection between the various meanings of a lexeme is obvious. But it is often the case that the various meanings of a lexeme belong to different semantic subclasses. And, in practice, one and the same lexeme exhibits different grammatical features, depending on context.

2.2.1. Types of shift – considering the semantic and formal feature undergoing change, we can trace the following types of shift:
Proper noun – Common noun
Common noun – Proper noun
Countable noun – Uncountable noun
Uncountable noun – Countable noun
Abstract noun – Concrete noun
Concrete noun – Abstract noun

Since both countable and uncountable nouns can be subdivided into concrete and abstract nouns, the shift from uncountable to countable is often accompanied by a shift from concrete to abstract.

1. Proper noun – Common noun – proper nouns have unique referents. That is why they are not normally used in the plural. Most of the proper nouns are not used with articles, either. However, there are types of semantic change which result in the necessity to use the noun in the plural or define it by means of some grammatical determiner. The following types of phrase can be distinguished:

- the + personal name – a personal name in the singular could be determined by the definite article:
  • The use of the definite article may be due to the defining relative clause after the name. (e.g. I recognized Brendrith, the Brendrith who had been at school with me)
  • The definite article before a person’s name may imply that the particular person the speaker is referring to is the famous one. (e.g. Not the Alfred Hitchcock)

- the + personal name plural – the definite article before a plural name implies reference to the members of a particular family: e.g. the Wilsons (the member of the family of Wilson).

- numeral + personal name plural – a personal name in the plural preceded by a numeral is used to refer to several people bearing the same name: e.g. Two Janes work in this office.

- a + personal name singular
  • The indefinite article before a personal name implies reference to one of the members of that family: e.g. Remember you are an Osborn
  • Before the name of a famous person means someone else with similar abilities, appearance, character: e.g. Already he is being hailed as a young Albert Einstein.
  • The speaker doesn’t know anything about the referent of the name: e.g. There is a Mr. Alex Murray asking to see you.
  • Before the name of a famous artist or writer results in a metaphoric use of the personal name referring to a picture or a book of that person: e.g. The gallery has recently acquired a Picasso.

- another + proper noun – another before the name of a person, place or event may be used to mean someone or something else that has similar qualities: e.g. Music fans are already calling him another Frank Sinatra.

- The + numeral + geographical name – parallel geographical names exist. Such names can be used in the plural and also defined by the definite article: e.g. the two Americas.

2. Common noun – Proper noun – many proper nouns have originated from common nous: e.g. a daisy – Daisy, brown – Brown, a bush – Bush

3. Countable noun – Uncountable noun – the shift from countable to uncountable is often accompanied by a shift from individual to generalized or from concrete to abstract. These parallel shifts are formally marked by the lack of an article before the noun in larger syntactic structures: e.g. Her husband has been sent to prison for three years. (The speaker is referring to the institution in general).
Often the use of the shifted noun is metaphorical: e.g. Economic success and job creation go hand in hand.

4. Uncountable noun – Countable noun – uncountable nouns do not form a plural. They do not take the indefinite article. However, in certain contexts, uncountable nouns acquire semantic connotations converting them into countable nouns. The semantic shifts of uncountable concrete mass nouns to countable nouns involve shifts from generalized to individualized meanings.

- An uncountable concrete mass noun can be used as a countable noun in the sense of a particular kind of the substance: e.g. Cheese is a solid food made from milk (generalized); This shop sells a range of French cheeses (individualized).

- A mass noun can be used as a countable noun in the sense of a portion (individualized quantity): e.g. Ice cream is frozen sweet food; Would you like an ice cream? (one portion)

- A mass word can be used by metonymy to refer to an object made from the substance: e.g. Nickel is a hard silver metal.; A nickel is a coin worth five cents.

Uncountable abstract nouns change into countable nouns, undergoing a parallel shift from abstract to concrete: e.g. Beauty is the quality of being very good to look at.; She is a beauty (a beauty – a person or an object characterized by the quality).

Not all uncountable nouns can undergo such semantic shifts. However, there are certain other means of achieving individualization and concretization of meaning. One of them is the partitive phrase. It contains a countable noun head modified by an of-phrase introducing the uncountable noun.
Concrete nouns: a blade of grass, a bottle of rum, a glass of milk, a mug of coffee, a wedge of cheese, a piece of candy, a bar of chocolate, a cake of soap, a packet of biscuits
Abstract nouns: a piece of music, a word of praise, a stroke of good luck, a hint of advice, a bit of consolation, an item of news, a scrap of good, a point of humanity, an act of revenge.

Sometimes individualization is achieved through pairs of nouns – the uncountable noun in the pair denotes the substance, the countable noun denotes the article made from that substance: e.g. wood- tree; bread – loaf
Similar is the relation between the nouns denoting animals (countable) and nouns denoting flesh (uncountable): e.g. pig - pork; calf – veal; cow – beef; sheep – mutton; deer – venison

2.2.2. Linguistic devices bringing about shifts – semantic changes reflected in the grammatical form of nouns and are often the result of different linguistic devices, such as metonymy, or other instances of stylistic transportation of grammatical forms of the noun:

1. By metonymy a personal name can be used for representing a nation: e.g. John Bull – a personal name – a typical English person, especially one who is proud and does not like people from other countries – a name used for representing the English people – a name used for representing England.

2. By metonymy singular nouns denoting part of the whole can be used as uncountable nouns referring to the whole: e.g. She was pretty in a refined way; and her eye was both merry and kind (O’Henry)

3. Uncountable mass nouns can be used in the plural to denote a large amount of substance or an area where there is a lot of that substance (augmentative plural): e.g. sand – sands (an area of sand); snow – snows (the snow that fall over a period of time) – The first snows of winter are here.

4. Uncountable abstract nouns can be used in the plural for stylistic purposes (“emotive” plural): e.g. Grave fears are felt for the safety of the missing climbers.

5. Proper nouns can have emotive use, too: e.g. In England, one often comes across Natashas.

2.3. Article determination

2.3.1. Structure of the Noun phrase – the noun phrase structure consists of four positions:

DETERMINER – Premodifier – HEAD – Postmodifier

The head-position can be occupied by a noun or some substantivized word. But the noun on its own is only a lexical item. In order to be included in a phrase, the noun has to acquire grammatical status. This is achieved by means of a grammatical determiner. Grammatical determiners are obligatory constituents of noun phrase: e.g. She is a teacher. (one of many people practicing that job); She is the teacher. (the only teacher in the group).

Even the lack of a determiner in the noun phrase structure is grammatically meaningful because signals indefinite grammatical status: e.g. They bought furniture but not cutlery.

When words outside the noun class are used in the head position of a noun phrase they are determined by the definite article: e.g. You have been good to me. This is the least I can do in return.

In other words, substantivization is marked by the definite article: the positions of Premodifier and Postmodifier are optional. The typical Premodifier is an adjective: e.g. Astronomers believe that the universe is the result of an enormous explosion.

Single participles, too, can function as Premodifiers: e.g. An explosion shot the concentrated matter and energy in all directions.; The expanding universe is the result of an explosion called the Big Bang.

Nouns in the position of Premodifier are not uncommon: e.g. Scientists have discovered that the background radiation is almost the same throughout the entire universe.

The typical Postmodifier is a clause: e.g. This constant background radiation is one observation that supports the Big Band theory (finite clause); The force of gravity began to affect the matter racing outward in every direction (non-finite clause).

Prepositional phrases are quite common in the function of Postmodifier: e.g. …the force of gravity began to affect the matter…; …all the matter and energy in the universe

Single adjectives are occasionally used in the position of Postmodifier: e.g. This story is about a knight errant.

2.3.2. Grammatical determiners – “Grammatical determiners” is a concept related to function. It is used to make reference to various lingual units belonging to different word classes or functional series of words. In spite of their being morphologically different, they all play a part in building up the grammatical status of the noun. Central among these units are the articles. They have no lexical meaning of their own; they have no function independent of the noun, either.

Other grammatical determiners can be used as independent pronouns. The lingual units functioning as grammatical determiners constitute a closed system. In addition to the articles, this system includes the following subclasses of pronouns: possessive (my, your, his, her, its, our, their); interrogative (whose, which, whichever, what, whatever); demonstrative (this, that, these, those); indefinite (some, any); negative (no); distributive (every, each, either, neither); quantitative (much, enough).

Different determiners can co-occur with different semantic subclasses of nouns:
e.g. This is a book on grammar. (countable, sg.);
e.g. This is my book. Those are my books. (countable, sg., pl);
e.g. This is my furniture. (uncountable);
e.g. This is the book I bought yesterday. (countable, sg.);
e.g. Where are the students? (countable, pl.);
e.g. Where is the coffee? (uncountable);
e.g. There is some coffee in the cup. (uncountable);
e.g. There are some books on the desk. (countable, pl.);
e.g. There are no books on the desk. (countable);
e.g. There is no cheese in the fridge. (uncountable);
e.g. They have no electricity on the houseboat. (uncountable);
e.g. This book is mine. (countable, sg.);
e.g. This coffee is good. (uncountable);
e.g. Whose book is this. (countable, pl);
e.g. Whose books are these? (countable, pl);
e.g. She gave each child a pound. (countable, sg);
e.g. There isn’t enough time. (uncountable);

Grammatical determiners can co-occur in the noun phrase structure with items belonging to two other sets of function words: Predeterminers and Postdeterminer:

1. The set of Predeterminers includes: all, both, half and multipliers:
e.g. She spends all her spare time windoe-shopping.
e.g. He now earns double the amount he used to.

2. The set of Postdeterminers includes ordinal numbers and cardinal numbers:
e.g. the third week of August
e.g. The two children were walking hand in hand along the country road

The structure of partitive phrases involves phrasal quantifiers:
e.g. a large sum of money
e.g. a great deal of research

2.3.3. The Articles

1. Noun reference

- The referent of a common noun can be a specific person, object, being, etc (such common nouns are said to be used with specific reference): e.g I watched this fairly old woman in her warm scarf and heavy coat, a bunch of flowers in her hand – I watched her come on.
- A common noun can be used to refer to a species or a class of similar objects in a generalized way (the common noun is said to be used with generic reference): e.g Twenty years ago the tiger was in trouble.; Tea is grown in India.; Lemons grow on trees.
- Proper nouns are used to refer to unique individuals, places, institutions, products, calendar items, etc (proper nouns are said to be used with unique reference): e.g. “Hamlet” was written by Shakespeare.; We visited the Tate Gallery in July.

Different grammatical rules govern the use of articles depending on the noun reference.

2. Articles with common nouns used with specific reference – when a noun is used with specific reference, users of English distinguish between definite and indefinite grammatical status. If the speaker is positive that the hearer can interpret the noun referent correctly, he uses the definite article with the noun. If, however, the speaker is aware of the fact that hearer is not familiar with the background information on the subject matter, which will make it difficult or even impossible for him to interpret the noun referent correctly, he uses indefinite nouns.

Indefinite status is expressed in the following ways:
- indefinite article + countable noun sg.: e.g. There is a dictionary on the desk.
- Ø determiner + countable noun pl.: There are books in my bag.
- Ø determiner + uncountable noun.: Maureen spread jam on her toast.
The meaningful absence of grammatical determiner before the noun implies contrast between the referent of this particular noun and the referent of other nouns that are possible to use in the same context.
- “some”+ countable noun pl.: e.g. There are some books in my bag.
- “some” + uncountable noun.: Would you like some coffee?
The use of the indefinite pronoun “some” before the noun implies indefinite quantity or number of the noun referent.

Definite status is expressed in the following ways:
- the + noun: e.g. The teacher is absent today.
- demonstrative pronoun + noun: e.g. Could you pass me that newspaper?
- possessive pronoun + noun: e.g. Where is my bag?
- each (every) + noun: e.g. There is a chair in each corner of the room.

The speaker may have linguistic or extralinguistic reasons for choosing the definite in a particular context. Consequently, we may speak of linguistic specific reference and extralinguistic (or situational) specific reference.

Two types of linguistic reference can be distinguished: anaphoric and cataphoric.
- In cases of anaphoric reference, the noun is used with the definite article, because it has already been introduced in the preceding context with the same reference: e.g. A young man dismounted from a taxicab in South Square. The young man…
- In cases of cataphoric reference, the noun is followed by a Postmodifier which defines the noun referent: e.g. The young man who, at the end of September,  929 dismounted from a taxicab in South Square, was unobtrusively American.

We have cases of extralinguistic specific reference with nouns referring to entities that are unique in the cultural situation of the act of communication: e.g. She was comfortably seated by the fire, reading the Bible.; For further information contact the project manager.

The information concerning the use of articles before nouns used with specific reference can be arranged in a chart.

Chart 1: Specific Reference

Noun subclass
A man called at 5. He is a good man.
I bought a dictionary. The dictionary is bilingual.
Due to sircumstance
Because the concept is unique
Turn on the radio, please!
Post held by 1 person
One specimen

We met the head teacher yesterday.
The sun is shining
I bought two dictionaries. The dictionaries are bilingual
Switch on the lights, please!

Some men called at 5. They are all good men
I bought ice-cream. The ice-cream is in my bag.
Fetch the salt, please!

Don’t lie on the ground.
Would you like some coffee?
I’d rather have tea.

3. Articles with common nouns used with generic reference

- Countable nouns -  when using countable nouns with generic reference, the speaker can achieve three different degrees of semantic generalization. Accordingly, we distinguish three structural patterns:
  • the + sg. noun – this pattern denotes the most generalized meaning, referring to the device: e.g. The computer stores programmes and information in electronic form.
  • a + sg. noun – this pattern implies any representative of the class: e.g. A computer can be used for a variety of processes.
  • Ø determiner + pl. noun – this pattern refers to most representatives of the class: e.g. Computers can be linked to a main network.

- Uncountable nouns -  uncountable nouns take no grammatical determiners when used with generic reference:
e.g. He writes poetry.
e.g. Their chocolate cakes are pure poetry!
e.g. I prefer tea to coffee.
e.g. People like his poetry. (= humans)

Collective nouns can be used with the definite article, too: e.g. On this issue, the government has failed to listen to the people. (= ordinary people )

- Substantivized words – aubstantivized words are always used with generic reference. They take the definite article:
e.g. The young have no conversation. (S. Maugham);
e.g. The Spanish like bullfighting.
e.g. One should learn to distinguish between the good and the evil.

The information concerning the use of articles with nouns of generic reference is arranged in a chart:

Chart 2: Generic reference

Semantic subclass
Countable nouns

I can use a computer

The computer is the greatest invention of the 20th century.

He plays the piano.
He always maintained his belief in the goodness of man. (= people in general)

The Japanese prefer not to work while eating.
The Germans like to talk business before dinner
Laptops are easy to carry with you.
Uncountable nouns

Honey is good for you.

He writes poetry.

She married into the aristocracy.
Government failed to listen to the people.
People like his poetry.
Substantivized words

They travelled in quest of the picturesque.


The British are cool and reserved.


It was obvious from the first that they would win.

4. Articles with proper nouns, used with unique reference  - proper nouns can be divided into two groups: given names and descriptive names
Given names are usually single nouns with no grammatical determiners. They refer to unique extralinguistic entities without denoting any individual qualities or specific features of the noun referent. Personal names are the most typical variety of given names: e.g. This is John
Descriptive names are noun phrases which contain Premodifiers or Postmodifiers that denote individual qualities or specific features of the noun referent. Such phrases contain grammatical determiners, too: e.g. The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
The group of given names is comprised of the following semantic varieties: personal names; names of calendar items; geographical names of countries, towns, lakes and some mountains; names of streets; some names of buildings:

- Personal names
  • Single names take no articles: e.g. This is my sister. Her name is Jane.
  • Personal names with titles in apposition do not take articles, either: e.g. Mr. John Brown, Queen Elizabeth, Prince Andrew, Dr. Johnson, President Nixon
  • Personal names with premodifying adjectives take an article - if the quality denoted by the adjective is permanent, the noun phrase includes the definitive article: e.g. the unforgettable Monroe; The Great Gatsby. If the quality denoted by the adjective is temporary and not typical of the noun referent, the noun phrase includes the indefinite article: e.g. A scheming Betsy at home was Andy’s biggest worry.
  • Adjectives like Senior and Junior etc. are used after a personal name. They take no article: e.g. the career of Douglas Fairbanks Senior
  • Personal names with nicknames usually take the definite article as part of the nickname: e.g. Richard the Lion Hear
  •  The place names take the definite article: e.g. Chicago the Windy City

- Calendar names – names of calendar take no article: e.g. See you on Monday.; He was born in January.; They haven’t met since Christmas.

- Geographical names
  • Names of continents – are all given names: e.g. She lives in Australia.
  • Country names – are given names. They do not take articles even with premodifying adjectives: e.g. South England
  • Names of towns – do not take articles: e.g. Manchester
  • Names of lakes – without articles: e.g. lake Victoria
  • Names of single mountains and mountain peaks – don’t take grammatical determiners: e.g. mount Everest
  • Names of streets, squares, etc. take no article: e.g. Piccadilly Circus, Oxford Street (but the Oxford Road in Reading), Buckingham Palace
To the group of descriptive names belong some names of countries and districts; names of oceans, seas and rivers; names of buildings and institutions; titles of periodicals, works of art and literature. 

Descriptive names take the definite article:
- Names of countries: e.g. the Republic of Ireland
- District names (usually in the plural): e.g. the Highlands, the Balkans
- Names of oceans and seas, rivers: e.g. the Atlantic Ocean, the Aegean Sea, the Nile
- Names of buildings and institutions: e.g. the Natural History Museum, the University of London, the Ritz
- Names of periodicals: e.g. He was reading the Continent.
- Titles of works: e.g. “The Picture of Dorian Gray”

2.4. Number

2.4.1. Defining the category – the category of number is based on the functional opposition of two forms of the noun: singular – plural. The singular form is used to refer to a single referent: e.g. I have a sister.
The plural form is used to refer to a group referent of two or more members: e.g. I have two sisters.

The semantic opposition of one – more than one is characteristic of countable nouns only.

2.4.2. Grammatical markers of plurality

1. Countable nouns – form their plural by means of grammatical endings or change of the root vowel.
- The regulars ending can be attached to most English nouns: e.g. girl – girls; family – families; toy-toys; idea-ideas.
In forming the plural we follow certain spelling rules:
  • Final –y after a consonant changes into – i before the grammatical ending: e.g. party – parties. But final – y does not change in family names: e.g. the Kennedys
  • Abbreviated nouns in – o attach the grammatical ending – s: e.g. photos, kilos
  • Abbreviations attach –s: e.g. Several Vips are arriving for the ceremony.

- The grammatical ending – es is attached to nouns ending in s, z, dz, ch, sh: e.g. kisses, vases, bridges, watches, dishes.
It is also attached to nouns ending in –o: e.g. potatoes, heroes

The grammatical ending –en is attached to several nouns: e.g. ox – oxen, child – children

- Mutation of one roof vowel takes place in several nouns: e.g. man- men, foot – feet, mouse – mice

- Many loan words retain their foreign plural endings: e.g. Phenomenon – phenomena, hypothesis – hypotheses, genius – genii

- Some animal names have zero plurals: e.g. salmon, sheep, grouse
Other animal names have both plurals (zero and - s): e.g. fish – a few fish (cauth by a fisherman) and fish – fishes (in the aquarium)

2. Numeral, partitive and quantitative nouns – have two plural forms: regular – s and zero plural:

- The zero plural – used when there is a premodifier in the noun phrase structure: e.g. Two thousand people live in that district.; They needthree dozen forks and spoons.

- The – s plural form – used when there is no Premodifier in the phrase: e.g. thousands of people, heads of cattle, dozens of forks and spoons.

3. Compound nouns – form their plural in one of the following ways:
- first root marked – e.g. passers-by, men-of-war
- last root marked – e.g. breakdowns
- both roots marked – e.g. menservants, women doctors

2.4.3. Invariable Nouns – uncountable nouns are invariable. Proper nouns are invariable, too. These two semantic subclasses of noun have only one form. However, each lexeme belonging to these subclasses expresses one of the categorial meanings of number (either singular or plural). According to their semantics invariable nouns fall into two groups: singular invariables and plural invariables.

1. Singular invariable nouns – take singular verbs. To this group belong the following semantic varieties:
- uncountable concrete nouns – milk, copper
- uncountable abstract nouns – anger, safety
- proper nouns – Mount Everest, Shakespeare
- some nouns derived by means of the suffix – s – news, linguistics, Wales
- substantivized words reffering to abstract notions – the picturesque, the good, the evil

2. Plural invariable nouns – take plural verbs. This group is comprised of the following varieties:
- summation plural nouns (denoting objects made of two identical parts) – shorts, trousers, pincers
- collective proper nouns – people, police, cattle
- some nouns derived by means of the suffix – s – goods, thanks, looks
- proper nouns in – s – Niagara Falls
- substantivized words referring to people – the blind, the disabled

2.4.4. Nouns of differentiated plural

1. The plural form of some countable nouns has developed additional meaning altogether different from the meaning of the singular form:
e.g. arm – an upper limb of the human body
arms – weapon, heraldic bearings
e.g. colour – the aspect of things caused by light
colours – flag

2. Some uncountable nouns have developed meanings different from the basic ones. Such meanings are marked by the plural form:
e.g. moral – the principle contained in a fable
morals – rules of conduct
e.g. regard – careful thought or attention
regards – greetings that show respect
e.g. salt – sodium chloride
salts – any of various mineral salts

2.4.5. Subject – verb concord of number - three types of concord of number between subject and verb can be distinguished:

1. Grammatical concord – singular nouns functioning as subject take singular verbs: e.g. The book is on the shelf.
Plural nouns take plural verbs: e.g. The books are on the shelf.

2. Notional concord – in cases of notional concord the word form agrees with its subject according to the semantics of the noun rather than its form:
e.g. The committee are discussing a tight budget.

3. Concord on the principle of proximity – in this case the verb agrees in number with the noun, that is immediately before or after the verb:
e.g. Neither the teacher nor the students have answered his question yet
e.g. There is a piano and two chairs in the room.

2.5. Gender

2.5.1. Defining the category – gender is a grammatical category of the noun, which reflects the sex of the noun referent. According to their lexical semantics, noun can be divided into neuter, masculine and feminine.
1. Neuter nouns denote lower animals, objects or abstract notions. Neuter nouns can be substituted with the personal pronoun it and the relative pronoun which.
2. Masculine nouns denote human beings or higher animals of male sex. Masculine nouns can be substituted with the personal pronoun he and the relative pronoun who.
3. Feminine nouns denote human beings or higher animals of female sex. Feminine nouns can be substituted with the personal pronoun she and the relative pronoun who.

It is obvious, that the personal pronoun he, she, it and relative pronouns who, which are gender-sensitive.

2.5.2. Gender classes 

1. Personal nouns and nouns denoting higher animals can be organized in pairs or groups according to their semantic relations:
- parent – mother, father
- child – son, daughter
- deer – doe, buck
- horse – mare, stallion

2. Sometimes the nouns in a pair are morphologically marked for gender – the marker is not considered to be a grammatical ending, but a derivational suffix: e.g.


3. Nouns of dual class membership – usually denote an occupation or a status of the referent: e.g. doctor, teacher, flight attendant, shop assistant, student, nurse, friend, enemy

4. Sometimes the speaker employs combinations of words to make the gender clear:

- noun + noun case: e.g. boyfriend – girlfriend; doctor – lady doctor; student – woman student; turkey–cock – turkey-hen
- adjective + noun – e.g. frog-female frog; nurse-male nurse
- personal pronoun + noun – e.g. she-bear – he-bear
- name + noun – e.g. billy-goat – nanny-goat

2.5.3. Personification – the practice of showing particular qualities, emotions or the elements of Nature in the form of a person makes it necessary to use gender sensitive pronouns referring to people to substitute non-personal nouns. When the qualities embodied are positive, the noun is treated as feminine. When the qualities embodied are negative, the noun is treated as masculine.

2.5.4. Gender bias in the use of gender sensitive pronouns – speaking of gender, we have to remark that the use of gender sensitive pronouns evinces gender bias in favour of masculine.
The masculine pronouns he, him, his are often used when the speaker refer to an unspecified or hypothetical individual. Linguistically, masculine is thus the unmarked member of the gender opposition. This makes it possible to use masculine pronouns to refer to any human being. To avoid gender bias, English speaker tend to use the group of pronouns he or she when substituting nouns of common gender in formal speech:
e.g. Tell the next person who calls that he or she can make an appointment.

2.6. Case

2.6.1. Case theories – the category of case of the English noun has been discussed within the framework of four theories:

1. The theory of positional cases – this theory distinguishes the so called positional cases: nouns functioning as Subject are treated as Nominative, nouns in the syntactic position as Direct object are labelled Accusative, nouns in the position of Indirect object are treated as Dative, nouns denoting the Addressee are recognized as Vocative
We cannot adopt this theory because it does not distinguish between functional syntactic positions and morphological forms of the noun. Actually, the case forms of the noun serve as means of expressing syntactic functions.

2. The theory of prepositional cases – interprets combinations of nouns with prepositions in Object and Attribute functions as morphological case forms. Thus to + noun and for + noun are treated as Dative; of + noun is treated as Genitive.

3. The theory of the possessive postposition – according to this theory, the inflected genitive case form is treated as a combination of a noun with a postposition. The apostrophe –‘s is given the status of a postpositional word with a function similar to the functions of prepositions. This theory is based on the reasoning that – ‘s is loosely connected with the noun and can be attached also to a noun phrase as well as to a group of nouns. However, the – ‘s is semantically bound to the noun and it is not an independent word. Its attachment to a phrase or a noun group is a stylistic device.

4. The limited case theory – according to this theory, English nouns have two case forms – genitive case and common case. We adopt this theory because it is based on the structural approach to language description and complies with the principle that each grammatical form has its own grammatical meaning and each grammatical meaning is realized through a specific grammatical form.
Our presentation of the grammatical category of case is based on the limited case theory.

2.6.2. Defining the category – case expressing various relations of the noun to other elements in the sentence structure or in the structure of the phrase.
The category of case is based on the functional opposition of two sets of forms: common – genitive.

The common case form is unmarked. It expresses relations between the noun and the verb in syntactic structures of various statuses. Each specific relation is further distinguished by means of word order: e.g. Tom bought a present for Nelly last week.

The genitive case form is marked by the – ‘s grammatical ending. This ending is attached to nouns in the singular form (the teacher’s pencils), to irregular plural forms (the children’s pencils), to larger syntactic structures (Jack and Jill’s adventure). The apostrophe is attached to regular plural nouns (the student’s papers). Proper nouns in – s can be marked in two ways: either – ‘s or apostrophe (Burn’s poems or Burns’ poems) but the ending should be pronounced ІizІ in both cases.

The genitive case forms express relations between two nouns: e.g. Jane’s brother; my sister’s house
The inflected genitive is common with animate nouns:
- personal names – e.g. Dr. Brown’s students
- personal nouns – e.g. my father’s watch
- collective nouns improper – e.g. the party’s political platform
- higher animals – e.g. the lion’s cage

The inflected genitive is also used with some inanimate nouns:
- geographical names – e.g. Bulgaria’s past
- names of institutions – e.g. the Chamber of Trade and Industry’s Premises
- temporal nouns – e.g. a two month’s holiday
- nouns of distance – e.g. a three miles’ walk
- in some set phrases – e.g. at a stone’s throw

2.6.3. Structural types of genitive phrase – according to the structure of the noun phrase in wich the genitive case form is included, we can distinguish the following types of phrase:
1. the regular genitive phrase – the noun in the genitive case precedes the head noun – e.g. the Queen’s English
2. the group genitive phrase – the case marking refers to a group of noun or a noun phrase – e.g. the United States’ policy
3. the double genitive phrase – the relation between the two nouns is marked twice – by means of case ending and the preposition of – e.g. a friend of my brother’s (= one of mw brother’s friends)
4. the elliptic genitive phrase – the head noun is omitted if the context makes it possible for the addressee to recover the relation e.g. Ann’s office is larger than Tom’s.
5. the local genitive phrase – this is a variety of the elliptic type. The omitted noun refers to buildings or establishments – e.g. at St. Paul’s; at the newsagent’s

2.6.4. Semantic types of genitive phrase – two semantic types of genitive phrase can be distinguished: specifying and descriptive.

Specifying genitivewith this semantic type the noun in the genitive case form is used with specific reference: e.g. my neighbour’s son
The relations between the noun in the genitive case form and its head-noun are various. Accordingly, grammarians distinguish between the following semantic varieties:
1. Possessive genitive –  the noun in the genitive case denotes the owner; the noun in the common case denotes the possession. e.g. this man’s car (= this man has a car)
2. Subjective genitive – the noun in the genitive case denotes the agent; the noun in the common case denotes the action. e.g. my friend’s visit (= my friend visited us).
3. Objective genitive – the noun in the genitive case denotes the affected; the noun in the common case denotes the action. e.g. Tom’s exmatriculation (= They exmatriculated Tom.)
4. Genitive of origin – the noun in the genitive case denotes the agent; the noun in the common case denotes the product. e.g. R. Stevenson’s essays .

The specifying genitive may be replaced by a prepositional phrase introduced by thye preposition of: e.g. my friend’s visit (= the visit of my friend).
Prepositional phrases may express several more meanings:
- appositive genitive – e.g. the city of London
- partitive genitive – e.g. the leg of the chair
- genitive of measure – e.g. the length of the swimming pool

Descriptive genitive – with this semantic type the noun in the genitive case is used with generic reference. We can distinguish between two semantic varieties:
1. Classifying genitive -  e.g. a sailor’s uniform (= uniform worn by sailors); cow’s milk (= milk from cows); a doctor’s degree (= a doctoral degree)
2. Genitive of measure – e.g. an hour’s break (= a break of one hour); a mile’s walk (= walking a distance of one mile)

The descriptive genitive is not always possible to be replaced by an of – phrase. Many descriptive genitive phrases have become set phrases: e.g. a spider’s web, the bee’s sting.
Some phrases have idiomatic meaning: e.g. a giant’s task.; a child’s play. 

The inflected form is common in headlines, captions and titles. This is due to its brevity and the prominence it gives to the noun: e.g. “Love’s Labours Lost”; “Midsummer Night’s Dream”; “Uncle Tom’s Cabin”.

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