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Carol Culver Rzadkiewicz

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Identifying Nouns
By Carol Culver Rzadkiewicz   
Rated "G" by the Author.
Last edited: Thursday, May 22, 2008
Posted: Thursday, May 22, 2008

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What is a noun?



A noun is a “label” for a person, a place, or a thing; and nouns serve certain functions within sentences: subject, subject complement (predicate nominative), direct object, indirect object, or object of a preposition.


  1. John is tall. (Subject)
  2. John is a quarterback. (John = subject; quarterback = subject complement or predicate nominative
  3. John threw the football. (John = subject; football = direct object)
  4. John threw Tom the football. (John = subject; Tom = indirect object; football = direct object)
  5. John threw the football to Tom. (John = subject; football = direct object; Tom = object of preposition.

Can you identify the nouns in the sentences below, as well as the roles those nouns are playing within the structure of the sentences? For example, in the first sentence the nouns are mother, cake, and birthday. Mother is the subject; cake is the direct object; and birthday is the object of the preposition “for.”



  1. My mother baked a chocolate cake for my birthday.
  2. The quarterback ran across the field for a touchdown.
  3. The president of the company has some innovative ideas for potential growth.
  4. Most students are uncertain of their abilities when it comes to writing an effective essay.
  5. Writing an essay need not be difficult if students gather their thoughts in advance.
  6. The United States Marine Corps wants a “few good men.” 
  7. My grandmother, who is eighty-years-old, is an eccentric lady.
  8. Last night, my brother ate a dozen chocolate-chip cookies and drank a quart of milk.
  9. For their anniversary, Chad bought his wife a dozen red roses, made reservations at the best restaurant in town, and hired a limo for the night.
  10. Yesterday was the last day of the zoo’s lecture series on native wildlife, but a series on native plants begins next week. 
  11. Do you think the teachers should insist on a raise at next month’s meeting?




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