Anna Engel

The Noun

What is a noun?

A noun is a syntactic and also lexical category. This category can function as head of a noun phrase. A noun is for example: mother, book, etc. These nouns can appear together with determiners, such as the.

Nouns can be the head of a noun phrase (also written as NP). The NP is a syntactic category as well and in such a phrase nouns often occur with determiners. For example: The mother, a bear.

In morphological context, nouns can occur with inflectional suffixes in plural {-s} (one boy, two boy) and in the genitive case (Tomís pen). Some nouns, however, are uncountable. This means that they do not have a plural form. Nouns that are uncountable are for example: information, fish, sheep.

Changes in history and consequences on the Early Modern English period

In late Middle English the case marking of the noun had vanished and there was only one singular and several weak plural types [as {-n}] left, as well as one frequent plural type that became the later modern pattern. The plural types could be divided into different types: