(For the English (Pass/Hons-PG) candidates of West Bengal School Service Commission Test)
Definition: A noun is a word used as a name of a person, a thing, a place, an action, or a quality.
Usage 1: Proper Noun: proper nouns are written with a capital letter at the beginning.
* The capital of west bengal is calcutta. (Incorrect)
* The capital of West Bengal is Calcutta. (Correct)
Usage 2: A Proper noun may be sometimes used as a common noun.
* Gandhiji is Christ of India. (Inc.)
Here Christ does not mean Jesus Christ, the preacher of Christianity. But the word stands for the possessor of qualities, which Christ is most known for __ non-violence and love. Therefore, Christ here stands for “the man acting on the principles of non-violence and love”. In the correct sentence ‘the’ must be written before ‘Christ’ for this reason.
* Gandhiji is the Christ of India. (Cor.)
Usage 3: Collective Noun: A collective noun (e.g. flock, army, committee, crowd, fleet, parliament, team, mob, herd, band, group etc) goes by a singular verb and should be substituted by a singular pronoun.
* The committee have submitted their report. (Inc.)
* The committee has submitted its report. (Cor.)
Usage 4: A collective noun may, however, go by a plural verb and may be substituted by a plural pronoun when the individual members __ of which it is composed__ are separately thought of, or considered divided among themselves.
* The committee was divided in its opinion. (Inc.)
*The committee were divided in their opinions. (Cor.)
Correct the following sentences: 1. A band of robbers were lurking at a corner of the jungle. 2.The parliament has not come to a unanimous decision. 3. The capital of India is delhi. 4. Shakespeare is called Kalidas of England.
Usage 1: When collective nouns are used to denote living beings as a group, those are considered of the neuter gender.
* Prof. Nilesh Saha runs an N.S.S. unit of fifty boys. He has to look after him. (Inc.)
* Prof. Nilesh Saha runs an N.S.S. unit of fifty boys. He has to look after it. (Cor.)
Usage 2: Young children and lower animals are referred to as of the neuter gender (because perhaps it does not matter to a child or a cow whether it is referred to as a male or female).
* The baby loves his mother. (Inc.)
* The baby loves its mother. (Cor.)
Usage 3: When objects without life are personified, those are considered of
(i) the masculine gender if the object is marked by strength or violence or any masculine quality; e.g. Sun, Summer, Winter, Time, Death etc.
* The Sun came out with all her force from behind the clouds. (Inc.)
* The Sun came out with all his force from behind the clouds. (Cor.)
(ii) the feminine gender if the object is marked by beauty, gentleness, gracefulness or any feminine quality; e.g. Earth, Moon, Spring, Nature, Mercy etc.
* The Earth invites everybody to his world. (Inc.)
· The Earth invites everybody to her world. (Cor.)
Usage 4: If objects without life, however, are not personified, those are considered of the neuter gender.
* The sun is the reservoir of energy. That is why he is so important to us. (Inc.)
* The sun is the reservoir of energy. That is why it is so important to us. (Cor.)
Correct the following sentences: 1. Since you are the teacher of this class of 100 students, you will have to manage them. 2. The child was looking for his mother. 3. The moon is the only satellite of the earth. Do you know her speed? 4. Death lays her cold hand over all. 5. Nature burst out with all his furies!
Usage 1: Plurals of the words ending in -o are generally made by adding –es to those, e.g. mangoes; but there are some exceptions, e.g. ratios, cantos, mementos, pianos, photos etc.
Usage 2: Plurals of the compound nouns are made by adding –s to the principal words of the compounds, e.g. vice-presidents, sisters-in-law, courts-martial etc.
Usage 3: Some nouns have the same forms for both the singular and plural numbers, e.g. sheep, deer, cod, trout, swine etc.
Usage 4: Plurals of words ending in –f and –fe are made by changing –f and –fe into –ves; e.g. thief (thieves), wife (wives). But there are some exceptions, e.g. belief, brief, dwarf, grief, gulf, safe etc.
Usage 5.When units of counting (dozens, pair, score, gross, hundred, thousand) are used after numbers, those retain the singular forms.
* I want two hundreds rupees. (Inc.)
* I want two hundred rupees. (Cor.)
Usage 6. Certain nouns are used only in the plural forms: scissors, spectacles, measles, mumps, billiards, droughts, cattle, poultry, gentry, people, vermin, annals, thanks, assets, proceeds, nuptials, tidings etc.
* The landed gentry was against the abolition of the Zamindari system. (Inc.)
* The landed gentry were against the abolition of the Zamindari system. (Cor.)
Usage 7.Certain plural forms are generally used in the singular, e.g. innings, physics, mathematics, news, politics etc.
Correct the following sentences: 1.He brought two dozens eggs. 2.His brother-in-laws are all scientists. 3. Every one should respect other people’s religious beliefes. 4. His spectacles was broken. 5. India made 550 runs in the first inning.
Usage 1.Nominative case: If a noun or pronoun is used as the subject of a verb, it is said to be in the nominative case. Ex. Ram killed Ravana. Here ‘Ram’ is in the nominative case.
Usage 2. Accusative or objective case: If a noun or pronoun is used as the object of a verb, it is said to be in the accusative or objective case. Ex. Ram killed Ravana. Here ‘Ravana’ is in the nom. case.
Usage 3.Possessive or genitive case: If a noun is used to denote possession, authorship, origin, kind etc., it is said to be in the possessive or genitive case. Ex. It is Ram’s book. Possessive cases are made by adding an apostrophe ( ’) or –s or -’s to a noun:
i) An (’s) is added to a singular noun; e.g. Ram’s book, the man’s house etc.
ii) An (’s) is added to plural nouns not ending in s; e.g. children’s park, women’s hostel, men’s club etc.
iii) Only an apostrophe is added if there are too many hissing sounds; e.g. Moses’ commandments, for conscience’ sake, for justice’ sake, for goodness’ sake etc.
iv) Only an apostrophe is added to the classical Greek and Roman names ending in (s) ; e.g. Sophocles’ tragedies, Marcus Aurelias’ book Meditations etc.
v) Only an apostrophe is added to plural nouns ending in (s); e.g. players’ unity, boys’ school etc.
Usage 4: The possessive cases of compound nouns, names having several words, and of nouns in apposition are made by adding (’s) to the last word; e.g. brother-in-law’s house; Monmohan Sing, the Prime Minister’s office; Nimai Sadhan Basu’s book etc.
* We are now going to visit Rabindranath Tagore’s the poet’s house. (Inc.)
* We are now going to visit Rabindranath Tagore the poet’s house. (Cor.)
[N.B. When one follows another to describe it more clearly, the noun, which follows, is called to be in apposition to the noun, which precedes it; e.g. Buddhadeb Bhattacharya, the Chief Minister of West Bengal, will inaugurate the ceremony. ]
Usage 5: When there are two or more separate nouns joined by and , (’s) is added to the last noun if joint possession is meant. For example: Dashsrata was Ram and Lakshman’s father.
* Ram was Bharat’s and Lakshman’s elder brother. (Inc.)
* Ram was Bharat and Lakshman’s elder brother. (Cor.)
Usage 6: When two or more separate nouns are joined by and, (’s) is added to each noun, if separate possessions are meant. For example: We listened to Kishore Kumar’s and Lata Mangeskar’s songs.
* We listened to Kishore Kumar’s and Lata Mangeskar’s songs. (It means that we listened to the different songs sung by the two singers differently.)
* We listened to the Kishore Kumar and Lata Mangeskar’s songs. (It means that we listened to the songs (duets) sung together by the two singers.)
Usage 7:Both the forms ‘of’ and (’s) are used, when one possession is meant out of many. For instance,
· I saw a picture of Tendulkar’s. (i.e. There were many pictures of Tendulkar, and I saw one of those.)
· I saw a picture of Tendulkar. (i.e. I saw Tendulkar’s picture bearing his likeness.)
Usage 8: Nouns denoting Inanimate Objects are not generally put in the possessive case.Possessions in such cases are denoted by using the preposition ‘of’.
* I knocked at his house’s door. (Inc.)
* I knocked at the door of his house. (Cor.)
Usage 9: But there are certain exceptional cases, in which we make possessive cases of the inanimate objects by using the possessive inflexion (’s),
i) nouns denoting personified things: Fortune’s favour, Death’s cold hands etc.
ii) nouns denoting time, space and weight: a week’s journey, a stone’s throw, a pound’s weight etc.
iii) nouns denoting dignified objects: the ocean’s cry. The country’s call, the moon’s light etc.
iv) in certain familiar phrases for the sake of shortness: wit’s end, to one’s heart’s content, at arm’s length etc.
Usage 10: The Elliptical or Absolute Possessive: Sometimes nouns denoting house, shop, cathedral etc. are omitted after the possessive case of nouns, e.g. I went Mr. Bose’s (i.e. Mr. Bose’s house or shop). But if similarly the possessive cases of nouns are made, the nouns (words denoting houses or shops or anything) are to be mentioned previously; e.g. This is my book. Where is yours?
Correct the following sentences: i) Puru tried to resist Alexander’s the Great’s advance. ii) I could not remember his car’s number. iii) I have read John Keats’ On Fame. iv) India is Ram’s and Rahim’s motherland. v) For the sake of heaven! Hold your tongue and let me love.
A. Point out the errors in the following story and rewrite it correctly: Ram and shyam were very good friends. One day they decided to take a leave of one day to go to a far-off town. When they reached there, the rays of the sun’s were fading. So they decided to spend the night in a hotel, but they had only one hundreds rupees. A crowd of people who were passing by. They approached them. They advised them to spend the night in a Dharmashala. But they had no believes in what they said. So they went along. On their way to finding a shelter, they, however, saw the Governor’s-General office. Suddenly they heard somebody’s voice calling their names’. As they turned around, they found it was Upen, Ram’s and Shyam’s old friend. When he heard that they were now in deep trouble, he told them to come to his room, which was at the distance of the throw of a stone from the place.
SINGULAR AND PLURAL NOUNS WITH DIFFERENT MEANINGS
MEANINGS of certain words sometimes depend on their numbers or the form of the number.
1. Cloth: Kind or pieces of cloth.
* He wears costly cloths. (Inc.)
In this the word ‘cloths’ means the kind or pieces of cloth. But what the speaker wants to refer to is garments. So the correct sentence is: He wears costly clothes.
2. Air: atmosphere (n), Ventilate (v), declare (v).
Airs: (Affected) manners.
* She gives herself air whenever she goes outside. (Inc.)
* She gives herself airs… (Cor.)
3. Brother: Sons of the same parents.
Brethren: old archaic form of brother: now it means members of a particular society or community.
· Ram and Lakshman were brethren. (Inc.)
· Ram and Lakshman were brothers. (Cor.)
4. Colour: hue (red, green, blue etc.). Ex. The colour of the sky is blue.
Colours: appearance or aspect. Ex. We should see the thing in its true colours.
5. Compass: extent or range. Ex. We were amazed at the compass of the singer’s voice.
Ex. We need to bring modern techniques within the compass of normal teaching.
Compasses: an instrument with two long thin parts joined together at the top, used for drawing circles and measuring distances on a map. Ex. When we draw a circle, we use compasses.
6. Custom: an accepted way of behaving or doing things in a society or community, habit.
Ex. We are now observing the custom of giving presents at Christmas.
Customs: the government department that collects taxes on goods bought and sold and on goods brought into the country, and that checks what is brought in.
Ex. The customs have seized large quantities of smuggled heroin.
7. Die: small cube used in games. (pl.)
Dice: the plural form of die, i.e., small cubes used in games. Ex. We played dice at night.
Dies: stamps for coining. (pl.)
8. Force: strength (Sing.)
Forces: troops (Plu.)
9. Genius: person with great talent (sing.).
Geniuses: persons with great talent (pl.).
Genii: supernatural creatures, spirits (pl.).
10. Ground: earth (sing.).
Grounds: reasons, sediment or dregs in coffee or tea (pl.). Ex. He was dismissed on solid grounds.
11.Iron: a kind of metal (sing.).
Irons: fetters or chains made of iron (pl.).
12. Manner/s: both the singular and plural forms are used in the sense of method.
Manners: only the plural form is used in the sense of behaviour.
· I was amazed at his manner as he did not shake hands. (Inc.)
· I was amazed at his manners… (Cor.)
13. Mean: adj. Meaning average, unkind, poor.
Mean: n. way or method (sing.).
Means: n. ways or methods (pl.). Ex. Internet is an effective means of communication.
Means: n. wealth (pl.). Ex. He does not have the means to support a wife and child.
14. Quarter: fourth part, a person or group of people, especially as a source of help, information or help.
Ex i) Cut the apple into quarters.
ii) It is a quarter to four now – I will meet you at a quarter after.
iii) Support for the plan came from an unexpected quarter.
Quarters: lodgings. Ex. Next month we are moving to more comfortable quarters.
15. Respect: regard (sing.). Ex. In this respect we have been fortunate.
Respects: polite greetings (pl.). Ex. With due respects I would like to draw your attention to the dismal condition of the drinking water supply in our locality.
16. Spectacle/s: When it means sight both forms are applicable.
Spectacles: When it means eyeglasses only the plural form is used.
17. Premise/s: proposition/s.
Premises: buildings (pl.).
18. Advice: counsel
19. Pain: suffering.
Pains: troubles, a lot of effort. Ex. Team India went to great pains to keep its winning record.
20. Sand: the material
Sands: sandy places. Ex. He crossed the sands of Arabia in great distress.
Correct the following sentences:
A. i) He stuck to his ground while arguing against the dispute.
ii) In the Mahabharata Shakuni was expert in the game of dies.
iii) Use your forces of mind whenever you are under pressure.
iv) Do not explain the incident in false colour.
v) We were astonished at the compasses of his knowledge.
vi) Don’t be deceived by the air of a lady.
vii) Loitering in the school premise is prohibited.
viii) In the past iron was attached to the legs and hands of the prisoners.
ix) He was absent-minded and lost his spectacle.
x) Mr. Dutta is a custom official.
USAGE 1: When two or more singular nouns are joined by ‘and’ and refer to separate persons, the pronouns used for them must be plural;
Ex. Both Ram and Shyam show his love for his brother. (Incorrect)
Both Ram and Shyam showed their love for their brother. (Correct)
USAGE 2: When two or more singular nouns are joined by ‘and’ and refer to the same person, the pronoun used for them must be singular:
Ex. The Prime Minister and Chancellor of the university expressed their regret over the theft of the Nobel. (Incor.)
Here the nouns the Prime Minister and Chancellor are used for the same person because we can find the definite article used only once before a noun. If it is written in this way—The Prime Minister and the Chancellor—it will refer to two different persons.
So the correct form of the sentence is:
The Prime Minister and Chancellor of the university expressed his regret over the theft…
USAGE 3. When two or more singular nouns are joined by ‘and’ and are preceded by ‘each’ or ‘every’, the pronoun must be singular.
Ex. Every poet and every singer should show their talent in their works.(Incor.)
Every poet and every singer should show their talent in his/her works. (Cor.)
*To avoid gender discrimination in language use both the masculine and feminine form of the pronoun.
USAGE 4. When two or more nouns are joined by ‘or,’ ‘either…or’, ‘neither…nor’, the pronoun is generally singular.
Ex. Neither Ram nor Shyam has brought their books. (Inc.)
Neither Ram nor Shyam has brought his books. (Cor.)
USAGE 5. When a plural noun and a singular noun are joined by ‘or,’ ‘either…or’, ‘neither…nor’, the pronoun must be plural.
Ex. Either the captain or the players will go to justify his poor performance. (Inc.)
Either the captain or the players will go to justify their poor performance. (Cor.)
USAGE 6. When a pronoun refers to more than one noun or pronoun of different persons, (I) it must be of the first person plural in preference to the second, and (ii) of the second person plural in preference to the third.
Ex. (i) You and I, husband and wife, have to look after your home. (Inc.)
You and I, husband and wife, have to look after our home. (Cor.)
Ex. (ii) you and Hari have done their job. (Inc.)
You and Hari have done your duty. (Cor.)
USAGE 7: When all three persons are taken into account, it has to be first person plural.
Ex. You, he and I have done your duty. (Inc.)
You, he and I have done our duty. (Cor.)
Usage 8. In an a sentence the second person come before the third person, and the third person should come before the first person.
Ex. I, you and he will go there. (Inc.)
You, he and I will go there. (Cor.)
Usage 9: The complement of a verb, when it is expressed by a pronoun should be in the nominative case.
Ex. : It is him whom I am looking for. (Inc.)
It is he whom I am looking for. (Cor).
Usage 10: When a pronoun is used as the object of a verb or of preposition, it should be in the objective case.
VERB: Ex. Let you and I go there. (Inc)
Let you and me go there. (Cor.)
PREPOSITION: Nobody will help you but I. (Inc)
[ because ‘but’ in the construction is not a conjunction. In that case, it would mean—Nobody will help you but I will help. In the above sentence ‘but’ is a preposition and ‘I’ is an object to the preposition ‘but’. So instead of ‘I’ ‘me’ should be used.]
Nobody will help you but me.(Cor)
Ex. He earns more than me. (Inc)
[ In the above sentence ‘than’ is not a preposition, it is a conjunction joining clauses. So it will be followed by nominative ‘I’ . So the correct form of the sentence should be—He earns more than I (earn).]