What Are Nouns?


The king was the most important person in many Medieval societies.

He also is the most important part of a sentence.

Testing the King

Most grammar textbooks define a noun as a person, place, thing, or idea. 

However, the definition isn’t accurate. For example, in the sentence –

She left home to battle dragons

she is a person. But, for reasons you will learn later, she is not a noun.

The King’s Test part 1

We will use a simple test, rather than a definition, to identify nouns.

According to legend, to prove he was king, the boy who became King Arthur had to pass a test. He had to pull a sword out of a stone.  Our king also must pass a test.

A noun must pass this test. 

The __________


The hour                      The weekend             

The girl                        The attendance

The dog                        The opinion

Class Activity

Most books say a noun is a person, place, thing, or idea. But is that true?

Use the noun test to see if these persons and things are nouns.

  1. he                    2. something        3. it          4. they         5. everyone

   6. someone        7. anyone            8. her        9. him         10. them

Adding to the Noun Test

Now let’s add to the test.  Change the test to look like this:  

            The _____________    named _____________

If a word will fit into EITHER slot, then it’s a noun.

TIP: If the word is a name, then it is always a noun.

For example:

  1. Mars 🤔
  2. the planet named Mars 😊
  3. Tabitha 🤔
  4. The cat named Tabitha 😊
  5. deer 🤔
  6. the deer 😊
  7. Microsoft 🤔
  8. the company named Microsoft 😊
  9. the MacDonalds’ 😒
  10. the hamburger place named MacDonalds’😊
  11. Canute 🤔
  12. the king named Canute. 😊
  13. her 🤔
  14. the her 😒
  15. the girl named her 😒 (girl is a noun but not her)

Class Activity

Test the words below to see if they are nouns.

    • Try it in the first slot
    • If it does not fit there, then try it in the second slot. (You will have to enter a word in the first slot.)
    • If it fits either slot, then it is a noun.

1. cat         2. Tabitha          3. Thursday         4. drugstore       5. Payless Drugs

6. however     7. Richard        8. bed            9. fireplace         10. global warming

Individual or Small Group Activity

Complete either exercise:  Greenland grades 1+

                                             Greenland grades 7+