Some words in English have the same form even when they are used as different parts of speech. For example, the word progress can be a noun or a verb.
- No nation can progress without the contribution of its people. (Here the word progress is used as a verb.)
- The progress of a nation depends upon the contribution of its people. (Here the word progress is used as a nation.)
How to recognize nouns and verbs?
Nouns are words used as the subject or object of a verb or a preposition. They are the names of people, places and things. Nouns do not have past or past participle forms. They can be used with articles (a, an, the) and determiners (e.g. my, this, that, his, any, some etc.). If you can’t find out whether a particular word is a noun or not, try using an article or a determiner with it. Or see if the word has a plural form.
The word ‘discovery’, for example, is a noun. It has a plural form – discoveries.
It can be used with articles and determiners – a discovery, the discovery, any discovery, my discovery, this discovery etc.
Note that plural and uncountable nouns cannot be used with the articles a and an. Uncountable nouns are words that refer to things we cannot count. Therefore, they do not have a plural form.
Verbs are action words. Verbs change their form when the tense changes. They have past and past participle forms. They also have -ing forms. If you can’t find out whether a particular word is a verb or not, see if it has an -ing form or a past participle form.
For example, the word ‘discover’ is a verb. It has a past and past participle form – discovered. It has an –ing form – discovering.
A group of words are given below. Identify the nouns and verbs.
(students, country, Rahul, work, take, forest, resource, break, lie, English, language, books, painting, draw, inspire, product, manufacture, company, equipment, invent, invention, discover, discovery, parent, instructor, assignment, truth, year, leave)
Lie (a lie / many lies)
Lie (lying, lied)
Try using an article or a determiner with the nouns. Examples are given below:
The truth, this year, any equipment, the instructor, our product, this discovery, an invention, the company, any parent, the resources etc
Note that we cannot use an article or a determiner with proper nouns (e.g. Rahul).
Verbs have different forms
Work / works / worked / working
Break / breaks / broke / broken / breaking
Discover / discovers / discovering / discovered