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Structure: Word categories

This time in our structure help we talk about word categories in English. This is vital to understand why certain words are acceptable in some situations, while other words aren’t acceptable.

When we think about word categories some of the most common categories are; nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs and prepositions.

Nouns can refer to people (or other creatures), places or things.
Examples: Peter, friend, cat, table, book.

Verbs are words that relate to actions or states.
Examples: work, eat, fly.

Adjectives are describing words.
Examples: big, fast, happy.

Adverbs are formed by a large group of words that is impossible to go through here. However, some of the most common adverbs are ones that express ‘how something happens’ (slowly, quickly, easily etc…) or ‘how often something happens’ (usually, normally, never, sometimes etc…).

Prepositions are words that connect parts of a sentence and show the relationship between them.
Examples: in, on, at, with etc…

A good student’s dictionary like the Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English tells you the category of a word you search for. By knowing the category of a word you can more easily use it in sentences. This is also a good way to build vocabulary because words often have some different forms; a verb, adjective and noun for example. By knowing each of these individual forms you are more easily able to use the correct one when necessary.

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Structure: ‘nouns 4’

Fly High English - Structure

This time in our structure help we talk about definiteness in relation to nouns and give some examples of ‘definite’ nouns. Often the idea of definiteness relates to the relationship between the speaker and listener. If the speaker and listener share a lot of common knowledge, definite nouns are more likely.

e.g. I sold the car.

In this case ‘the car’ would be indefinite to a person who doesn’t know the speaker, but if the listener knows the speaker, he/she probably knows this car and so ‘the’ is necessary.

Have a look at the diagram below, then find an article, page from a book and check for ‘definite’ nouns and ‘indefinite’ nouns.

Using 'the' to refer to definite nouns.
Using ‘the’ to refer to definite nouns.

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Structure: ‘nouns 3’

Fly High English - Structure

This time in our structure help we talk about using ‘a / an’ and ‘the’ with countable singular nouns. We also introduce the idea of indefinite and definite nouns. An indefinite noun is a noun which hasn’t been mentioned before and that you can’t identify by other means. So for example if you’re talking to a person and the person mentions ‘a book’ they read. You don’t know which book this is or it’s name, it’s indefinite, so we need to use ‘a’ before the noun. In the following sentences ‘book’ becomes definite because the listener knows which noun it is, so ‘the’ for example can be used with the noun. e.g.

‘I bought a book last week. The book is very interesting.’

In our second sentences it’s clear which book we’re talking about.

Look at the diagram below for more information.

Using a / an / the with countable singular nous.
Using a / an / the with countable singular nous.

Next week, we’ll talk more about indefinite and definite nouns and when a noun can be definite the first time you mention it.

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Structure: ‘nouns 2’

Fly High English - Structure

This time in our structure help we continue to talk about nouns. This time though, we have a closer look at the words and expressions that we can use before these nouns. As you’ll see in the diagram below we have to use one of these words and expressions before a countable singular noun, but we don’t have to use one before a countable plural or uncountable noun. After you have a look at the diagram, look at the examples below it for further clarification.

Types of nouns
Types of nouns

Example 1; we can’t say ‘I have pen’ because ‘pen’ is a countable singular noun and requires one of the words or expressions before it. So we can say; ‘I have a pen’ or ‘I have my pen’ or ‘I have the pen’ or ‘I have your pen’ and there are many other possibilities, but we have to use one.

Example 2; we can say ‘I have pens’ because pens is a countable plural noun and doesn’t require one of the words or expressions above.

Example 3; we can say ‘I have money’. ‘Money’ is an uncountable noun and also doesn’t require one of the words or expressions above.

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Structure: ‘nouns 1’

Fly High English - Structure

This time in our structure help we talk about nouns. There are different types of nouns and knowing which type of noun you are using can help you to choose which words you can use around the noun. In future posts we’ll talk more about nouns and the words you can use around them, but for now, check out the diagram and the different types of nouns that exist.

Diagram of the types of nouns.
Types of nouns

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Structure: ‘Word order with adjectives & nouns’

Fly High English - Structure

This time in our structure help we talk about the word order with adjectives and nouns. Which do we use first? This word order can be different in other languages so it’s important to study it in English to remember what forms are possible. As usual, there is more than one way to do this. Have a look at the diagram below and try to make your own sentences after you read the examples. Read the examples out loud to help you remember the word order.

Diagram of adjective & noun word order.
‘Adjective & noun word order’

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