Parts of speech Nouns and pronouns

By Michael Kofi Ngongi

Like actors in a play, words in a sentence play different parts. They can be nouns, pronouns, adjectives, verbs, adverbs, prepositions, conjunctions or interjections. These “parts of speech” may be a bit fuzzy in some minds, so here’s a refresher.

Nouns are really the foundation of all communication. The origin of the word “noun” can be traced back to the Latin word “nomen,” meaning name. And that’s what nouns are, simply the names of things. And so many things there are, from the concrete and tangible to the abstract and intangible. Rocks, plants, language, time – everything we know and don’t know is a noun.

Pronouns serve as proxies for nouns. We call on them whenever a noun risks becoming tedious or tiresome through repetition and overuse. Pronouns can take several forms. They can be personal (I, you, him, her, they, them, etc.) They can be demonstrative (this, that, these, those). They can be indefinite (any, either, many, etc.) They can be reflexive (myself, yourself, themselves, etc.) They can be interrogative (who, what, which, whom, whose). Pronouns are very much in the spotlight these days and have become a hot topic of discussion, as we strive to be more inclusive and respectful of diverse gender identities.

Nouns and pronouns are the objects and subjects of our thoughts and actions. They are the people, places, animals, objects, concepts, emotions, ideas and sundry things around which we construct conversations and stories. Without them, we would literally have nothing, and no one, to talk about!

So, three cheers for nouns and pronouns and the fantastic work they do – the pillars of all that we say and do.

Join us next time for an action-packed sequel on verbs.

Michael Kofi Ngongi is a new Canadian originally from Cameroon, another bilingual country. He has experience in international development and is a freelance writer interested in language, its usage and how it can unite or divide people.

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