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Grupurile de litere: ce, ci, ge, gi, che, chi, ghe, ghi
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Substantivul (The Noun) – limba engleza



1.1. Kinds and function

A     There are four kinds of noun in English:

Common nouns: dog, man, table

Proper nouns: France, Madrid, Mrs Smith, Tom

Abstract nouns: beauty, charity, courage, fear, joy

Collective nouns: crowd, flock, group, swarm, team

1.2. Gender

A     Masculine: men, boys and male animals (pronoun he/they).

Feminine: women, girls and female animals (pronoun she/they).

Neuter: inanimate things, animals whose sex we don't know and sometimes babies whose sex we don't know (pronoun it/they).

Exceptions: ships and sometimes cars and other vehicles when regarded with affection or respect are considered feminine.

Countries when referred to by name are also normally considered feminine.

The ship struck an iceberg, which tore a huge hole in her side.

Scotland lost many of her bravest men in two great rebellions.

B     Masculine/feminine nouns denoting people

1     Different forms:

boy, girl

gentleman, lady

son, daughter
bachelor, spinster

husband, wife

uncle, aunt
bridegroom, bride

man, woman

widower, widow
father, mother

nephew, niece

    duke, duchess

king, queen

prince, princess

earl, countess

lord, lady

2    The majority of nouns indicating occupation have the same form:
artist     cook           driver      guide assistant       dancer        doctor            etc.

Main exceptions:

actor, actress

host, hostess

conductor, conductress

manager, manageress

heir, heiress

steward, stewardess

Sometimes -person is used instead of -man, -woman: salesperson, spokesperson.

C     Domestic animals and many of the larger wild animals have different forms:

bull, cow

duck, drake

ram, ewe

stallion, mare

cock, hen

gander, goose

stag, doe

tiger, tigress

dog, bitch

lion, lioness

     1.3. Plurals

A     The plural of a noun is usually made by adding s to the singular:

day, days     

dog, dogs     

house, houses

 - s is pronounced /s/ after  p, k or f sound. Otherwise it is pronounced /z/.

When s is placed after ce, ge, se or ze an extra syllable (/iz/) is added to the spoken word.

Other plural forms

B     Nouns ending in o or ch, sh, ss or x form their plural by adding es:

tomato, tomatoes             

brush, brushes                  

            box, boxes

church, churches

kiss, kisses

But words of foreign origin or abbreviated words ending in o add s only:

dynamo, dynamos

kimono, kimonos

piano, pianos
kilo, kilos             

photo, photos          

soprano, sopranos

C    Nouns ending in y following a consonant form their plural by dropping the y and adding ies:

baby, babies

country, countries

fly, flies

lady, ladies

Nouns ending in y following a vowel form their plural by adding s:

boy, boys

day, days

donkey, donkeys

guy, guys

Twelve nouns ending in f or fe drop the f or fe and add ves. These nouns are calf, half, knife, leaf, life, loaf, self, sheaf, shelf, thief, wife, wolf:

loaf, loaves

wife, wives

wolf, wolves


The nouns hoof, scarf and wharf  take either s or ves in the plural:

hoofs or hooves

 scarfs or scarves     

wharfs or wharves

Other words ending in f or fe add s in the ordinary way:

cliff, cliffs

handkerchief, handkerchiefs

safe, safes

A few nouns form their plural by a vowel change:

foot, feet                   

louse, lice       

mouse, mice              

woman, women

goose, geese      

man, men      

tooth, teeth

child children

ox, oxen.

Names of certain creatures do not change in the plural. fish is normally unchanged, fishes exists but is uncommon. Some types of fish do not normally change in the plural:

Carp    pike     salmon      trout   cod    plaice     squid  turbot  mackerel but if used in a plural sense they would take a plural verb. Others add s:

crabs        herrings      sardines      eels             lobsters       sharks

Deer and sheep do not change: one sheep, two sheep.

The word game, used by sportsmen to mean an animal/animals hunted, is always in the singular and takes a singular verb.

Collective nouns, crew, family, team etc., can take a singular or plural verb; singular if we consider the word to mean a single group or unit:

Our team is the best or plural if we take it to mean a number of individuals.

Our team are wearing their new jerseys.

Certain words are always plural and take a plural verb:

Clothes, garments consisting of two parts  breeches      pants      pyjamas      trousers      etc. and tools and instruments consisting of two parts:

Binoculars  pliers       scissors        spectacles   glasses    scales      shears   etc.

A number of words ending in ics, acoustics, athletics, ethics, hysterics, mathematics, physics, politics etc., which are plural in form, normally take a plural verb:

His mathematics are weak. But names of sciences can sometimes be considered singular:

Mathematics is an exact science.

Words plural in form but singular in meaning include news:

The news is good

And certain diseases:

mumps      rickets      shingles

and certain games:

billiards      darts       draughts    bowls           dominoes

2    The first word is made plural with compounds formed of verb + er
nouns + adverbs:

hangers-on      lookers-on      runners-up and with compounds composed of noun + preposition + noun: ladies-in-waiting      sisters-in-law      wards of court

3    Initials can be made plural:

MPs (Members of Parliament) VIPs (very important persons) OAPs (old age pensioners) UFOs (unidentified flying objects)

1.3.1. Uncountable nouns (also known as non-count nouns or mass nouns)

1     Names of substances considered generally:

Bread, cream, gold, paper,           tea, beer, dust,       ice, sand, water, cloth, gin, jam,     soap, wine, coffee, glass, oil, stone, wood

2    Abstract nouns:

advice, experience,         horror, pity, beauty, fear, information  , relief, courage, help, knowledge, suspicion, death, hope, mercy, work

3    Also considered uncountable in English:

baggage, damage, luggage, shopping, camping, furniture, parking       weather

1.4. The form of the possessive/genitive case

A     's is used with singular nouns and plural nouns not ending in s:

a man's job               the people's choice

men's work               the crew's quarters

a woman's intuition  the horse's mouth

the butcher's (shop)  the bull's horns

a child's voice           women's clothes

the children's room   Russia's exports

B    A simple apostrophe (') is used with plural nouns ending in s:
a girls' school        the students' hostel

the eagles' nest      the Smiths' car

C    Classical names ending in s usually add only the apostrophe:

Pythagoras' Theorem      Archimedes' Law      Sophocles' plays

D     Other names ending in s can take 's or the apostrophe alone:

Mr Jones's (or Mr Jones' house)       Yeats's (or Yeats') poems

1.5.  Use of the possessive/genitive case and of + noun

A    The possessive case is chiefly used of people, countries or animals as shown above. It can also be used:

1       Of ships and boats: the ship's bell, the yacht's mast

2       Of planes, trains, cars and other vehicles, though here the of construction is safer:

a glider's wings or the wings of a glider

the train's heating system or the heating system of the train

3    In time expressions:

a week's holiday, today's pape, tomorrow's weathe, in two years' time,       ten minutes' break, two hours' delay,

4.      With for + noun + sake: for heaven's sake, for goodness' sake

5       In a few expressions such as:

a stone's throw     journey's end      the water's edge

6.      Sometimes certain nouns can be used in the possessive case without the second noun, a/the baker's/butcher's/chemist's/florist's etc. can mean 'a/the baker's/butcher's etc. shop'.

Similarly, a/the house agent's/travel agent's etc. (office) and the dentist's/doctor 'sivet's (surgery):

You can buy it at the chemist's.      He's going to the dentist's.


exercise 1. Nouns ending in -f/-fe form their plural in -fs/-fes  or -ves  or both. Give the plural form of the following nouns and noun groups into the respective three categories:

Half, cuff, wolf, belief, leaf, scarf, chief, calf, cliff, shelf,.dwarf, self, thief, safe, gulf, proof, loaf, wife, roof, handkerchief, knife.

exercise. a) Write the singular of:

 allies         countries        taxes        doves      shoes             toes

 alleys         enemies          taxis         halves      kangaroos    potatoes

 dresses     skies              sizes        pies         valves

 houses       skis             buzzes        eyes         porches

b) Write the plural of: potato, radio, hero, cargo, echo, tango, buffalo, concerto,    Negro, volcano.

exercise . Turn into the plural:

1. Englishman 2.  Spaniard 3. Chinese 4. Frenchman 5. Pole 6.  Swede

7. Norwegian 8. German 9. Dutchman 10. Italian 11. Romanian 12. Russian

13. Greek 14. Australian 15. Japanese 16. Dane 17. Finn 18. Irishman 19. Scot  20.   Pakistani.

exercise  Choose the right form of the verb :

1.  a) The committee (consist, consists) of 12 members.

b) The committee (has, have) come to a common point of view.

2.  a) My friend's family (is, are) small.

b) The family (was, were) asleep when we arrived.

3.   a) The press (is, are) kindly requested to leave the Conference Hall,

     b) The press (is, are) always present on such occasions.

4.   a) The audience (was, were) taking their seats.

b) The audience (was, were) applauding enthusiastically.

5.   a) The mob (has, have) been fighting among themselves for some time,

     b) A mob (is, are) a disorderly crowd.

6.   a) The Education Board (is, are) arguing about the cost of textbooks,

     b) The Selection Board (has, have) selected the best pupils from the can­didates.

7.   a) The government (has, have) announced further wage rises.

b) The government (stand, stands) firm in refusing  to   make  further concessions.

8.  a) The new Cabinet (was,  were) the result of his bargaining with the

center-left   parties,

b) The new Cabinet (is, are) reluctant to look into it.

9.  a) A flock of sheep (has, have) invaded my garden.

b) Look out! Your flock (is, are) straying in all directions.

10.  a) The Army (has, have) seized power.

b) The invading Army (was, were) defeated.

11.  a) Canada (is, are) bilingual.

b) Canada (has, have) got into the semi-finals again.

exercise . Choose the singular or plural form. Translate into Romanian:

1.  colour      a) I simply hate this .

b)   You must stand still when the country's is being raised.

c)    My favourite . .. are blue and beige.

2.  custom    a) You have to declare everything at the .

b)    She was privileged to get acquainted with this of the Burundians.

c)    Hand shaking is one of the most frequent in Europe.

3.  damage   a) I'll have to pay for the

b) In case of fire the insurance company will pay the .

4.  ground    a) You must have solid if you want to ask for a divorce.

b)   What was the of this quarrel?

c)   Children have taken good care of their sports . . .

5.  minute     a) How many . . . does it take to get to the office?

b)   We wanted him to read the of the previous meeting.

c)   Wait a . . . !

6.  pain         a) She feels no . . . now.

b)   What do you recommend for stomach . . . ?

c)   You do take great. . . with your work.

7.  scale        a) My neighbour has been practising for hours.

b)   Did you know he could play with a fish . . . . ?

c)   The of this species of fish are phosphorescent.

d)   On top of the Court House one can notice a sculptured of Justice.

8.  term        a) When  does . . . end?

b)   Are you on good . . . ?

c)   What are the of the treaty?

9.  spectacle a) It was a terrifying. . .

b) Why not wear .. . ?

10. spirit        a) That's the right. . .

b)   How can you believe in ?

c)    I shall never touch . . . again.

d)   Is there no in your lighter?

exercise . Form feminine nouns from the following masculine nouns using the following suffixes: -ess, -ix, -a, -ine:

Actor, host, shepherd, administrator, sultan, god, lion, prior, negro, hero, prince, tiger, heir, waiter.

exercise . a) Give the corresponding masculine nouns of the following femi­nine nouns; b) then give the generic term, if any:

model: — a) mother — father

b) mother — father — parent

Queen, woman,  wife,  daughter,  nun, lady, sister, goose, bee, duck, grand­daughter.

exercise . List the feminine nouns in the 2nd column and the generic nouns in the 3rd column so as to correspond to the masculine nouns in the 1st column:

hog                                    mare              pig/swine

cock                                  vixen              deer

hound                                 hen                dog

buck                                  ewe                ox

bull                                     bee                horse

drone                                 bitch              fowl

stallion                               hind               fox

fox                                     cow               sheep

ram                                    doe                deer

stag                                   sow                cattle

exercise . Give the masculine of:

Bride,  girl-friend,   maidservant,  female  candidate,   policewoman,   lady footballer, woman diplomat, lady speaker, spinster, lady, nurse, female student.

exercise . Arrange the following nouns into two columns according to their usual gender when personified in poetry, etc. Remember that the masculine gender is usually ascribed to nouns denoting strength, harshness, cruelty, and negative features while those denoting delicacy, feebleness, tenderness and other positive features are feminine. On the other hand, the distinction sometimes depends on the author's imagination or intentions:

Friendship, anger, boat, fury, ship, terror, car, crime, moon, spring, storm, morning, thunder, evening, sleep, night, sun, pride, time, truth, fear, soul, death.

exercise 39. Substitute synthetic genitive forms for the prepositional genitive forms. The former are generally used with animate nouns, mainly with persons, with collective nouns (e.g. government, company), and with certain kinds of inanimate nouns denoting: a) geographical names (continents, countries, cities, towns); b) locative nouns denoting regions, heavenly bodies, institutions (e.g. the region's welfare, the earth's core, the sun's impact, the Club's band); c) tem­poral nouns (e.g. yesterday's reception, this year's anniversaries); d) nouns of the type: body, mind, science, life, treaty, play, book, car, ship etc. (e.g. the play's success, the ship's captain, science's progress):

1.                  The new car of his friend is a Fiat 125. 2. What do you know about the climate of this country? 3. I admired the hats of the ladies. 4. He has been studying the folklore of WTales for three years. 5. What's the name of the new typist of the manager? 6. This is the most important museum of/in London. 7. The parents of all the other girls are present. 8. What are the first signs of spring? 9. These are the best paintings of Turner. 10. He won't say a word about the purpose of his life. 11. The interests of the Government lie elsewhere. 12. What do you know about the War of a Hundred Years? 13. The future of Africa is in the hand of its own peoples. 14. The blouses of the shop-girls are the best advertisment. 15. Bob doesn't even know the time-table of his child. 16. Is it possible to track the rays of the sun? 17. He is proud of the performance of his car on the road. 18. Do you doubt the good intentions of my relatives?


2.1. The definite article

A     Form

the is the same for singular and plural and for all genders:
the boy  the girl  the day   the boys   the girls   the days

B    Use

The definite article is used:

1    When the object or group of objects is unique or considered to be

the earth      the sea      the sky      the equator      the stars

2    Before a noun which has become definite as a result of being mentioned
a second time:

His car struck a tree; you can still see the mark on the tree.

3    Before a noun made definite by the addition of a phrase or clause:

the girl in blue      the man with the banner       the boy that I met      the place where I met him

4    Before superlatives and first, second etc. used as adjectives or
pronouns, and only:

the first (week)      the best day      the only way

C     the + singular noun can represent a class of animals or things:

The whale is in danger of becoming extinct.

The deep-freeze has made life easier for housewives.

But man, used to represent the human race, has no article:

If oil supplies run out, man may have to fall back on the horse.

D    the + adjective represents a class of persons: the old = old people in general

E          the is used before certain proper names of seas, rivers, groups of islands, chains of mountains, plural names of countries, deserts, regions:

the Atlantic        the Netherlands     the Thames     the Sahara                 the Azores      the Crimea    the Alps                         the Riviera

and before certain other names:

the City          the Mall       the Sudan  the Hague   the Strand     the Yemen

F          the is used before the adjectives east/west etc. + noun in certain names:

the East/West End    the East/West Indies

the North/South Pole

 but is normally omitted:

South Africa      North America      West Germany

G    the with names of people has a very limited use. the + plural surname can be used to mean 'the . . . family':

the Smiths = Mr and Mrs Smith (and children)

2.2. Omission of the

A    The definite article is not used:

1        Before names of places except as shown above, or before names of people.

2        Before abstract nouns except when they are used in a particular sense:

Men fear death but

The death of the Prime Minister left his party without a leader.

3    After a noun in the possessive case, or a possessive adjective:

the boy's uncle = the uncle of the boy

It is my (blue) book = The (blue) book is mine.

4    Before names of meals:

The Scots have porridge for breakfast but

The wedding breakfast was held in her father's house.

5        Before names of games: He plays golf.

6        Before parts of the body and articles of clothing, as these normally prefer a possessive adjective:

Raise your right hand.       He took off his coat.

But notice that sentences of the type:

She seized the child's collar.

I patted his shoulder.

The brick hit John's face.

7    Omission of the before home, before church, hospital, prison, school etc. and before work, sea and town

A     home

When home is used alone, i.e. is not preceded or followed by a descriptive word or phrase, the is omitted: He is at home.home used alone can be placed directly after a verb of motion or verb of motion + object, i.e. it can be treated as an adverb:

He went home.      I arrived home after dark.      I sent him home. But when home is preceded or followed by a descriptive word or phrase it is treated like any other noun:

They went to their new home.

We arrived at the bride's home.

For some years this was the home of your queen.

A mud hut was the only home he had ever known.

B    bed, church, court, hospital, prison, school/college/university

the is not used before the nouns listed above when these places are

visited or used for their primary purpose. We go:

to bed to sleep or as invalids     to hospital as patients
to church to pray               to prison as prisoners

to court as litigants etc.       to school/college/university to study

Similarly we can be:

in bed, sleeping or resting        in hospital as patients
at church as worshippers   at school etc. as students

in court as witnesses etc.

We can be/get back (or be/get home) from school/college/university.

We can leave school, leave hospital, be released from prison.

When these places are visited or used for other reasons the is necessary:

/ went to the church to see the stained glass.

He goes to the prison sometimes to give lectures.

C     sea

We go to sea as sailors. To be at sea = to be on a voyage (as passengers or crew). But to go to or be at the sea = to go to or be at the seaside. We can also live by/near the sea.

D    work and office

work (= place of work) is used without the:

He's on his way to work.      He is at work.

He isn't back from work yet. Note that at work can also mean 'working'; hard at work = working hard:

He's hard at work on a new picture, office (= place of work) needs the: He is at/in the office. To be in office (without the) means to hold an official (usually political) position. To be out of office = to be no longer in power.

E    town

the can be omitted when speaking of the subject's or speaker's own town:

We go to town sometimes to buy clothes.

We were in town last Monday.

2.3. The indefinite article

Its Romanian equivalent: un, o.

A is used in front of consonants: e.g. a good man, a map, a window and an is used in front of vowels: an apple, an important issue.

·        The indefinite functions as a numeral: one hundred – a hundred

·        Used to show the number of happenings during a given period of time: once a week, one apple a day

·        Used with nouns denoting jobs when after the verb to be: I am a lawyer. (eu sunt avocat)

·        When the noun is unique, then it doesn’t need the indefinite article: He is chairman.

·        Used as appositions: Irving, a prose writer, ……..

·        Used in expressions: for a time, lend me a hand, once upon a time, to set an example, to pay a call on, to have a mind to, once in a blue moon.

2.4. The zero article

Zero article is used to express generalities, whole categories and not individual items.

            Children will be children

            Clothes do not make the man

            Barking dogs seldom bite.

  • Substance names: Oil is lighter than water; Blood is thicker than water.
  • With abstract nouns: Love is a noble feeling;
  • Before human names: Michael, George, Daisy
  • Names of continents, countries, provinces, regions, counties, towns, cities, villages: Europe, Africa, Wallachia – exceptions: the Ukraine, the United States, the Argentine, the Congo.
  • Months of the year, days of the week
  • Expressions: from time to time, by means of, at random, by sea, on sale, at dawn.


exercise 1. Insert definite or indefinite articles.

1. I have ordered . . . washing machine and . . . washing machine has come. 2 . . . climate does not suit me. 3. How did . . . press receive it? 4. Since lunch was not ready yet, my husband read . . . paper for a while, then he rose from . . . armchair and turned on . . . television. 5. I mentioned bridge; he was very good at. . . game. 6. Give me . . . newspaper to clean the mirror with. 7. Give me . . . newspaper, I want to have a look at the ads. 8. . . . moon rose out of the sea. 9. Is there . . . moon tonight? 10. The door opened and . . . teacher came in. 11. The door opened and . . . headmaster came in. 12. I heard on . . . radio that they have come to . . . truce. 13. . . . man has called and left. . . present for you. 14. . . . moon goes round . . . earth and . . . earth goes round . . . sun. 15. How have myths come into . . . world?

exercise 2. Supply the necessary article(s): zero (0), the or alan, used in their generic function. Make any necessary changes:

1.      . . . verdict has to be unanimous. 2. . . . tiger is larger than . . . lynx. 3.. witness may tell only what he himself knows to be true. 4. . . . French have good wines. 5. . . . leopard is a cat. 6. . . . leopard is the fastest cat. 7. He's wasted his life in search of . . . unusual. 8. You're rather partial to . . . asparagus, and . . . trout. 9. They have a fine taste in . . . music and . . . lite­rature. 10. The responsibility of. . . parents is stressed in the Declaration on the Rights of. . . Child. 11. . . . fellow does a lot of crazy things when he has been drinking. 12. . . . man has left his imprint here too. 13. What can  …. man do when he is cast on a far-off island? 14. . . . (rubber tyre, do, not, make a noise). 15. . . . (first offender) should be treated with sympathy. 16. . . . rich have always exploited . . . poor.

exercise 3. Supply the necessary article: zero (0), ajan

1. He had served his country as . . . Minister of Finance and . . . Ambassa­dor to Finland. 2. She was . . . typist by trade. 3. Can you act as . . . guide? 4. Who is going to hold the office of. . . secretary? 5. Be .   . foster parent!

6.   He had the help of two deputies, the economist Mark Webster, . . . Director of the U.N. Population Division and Roy Wilkins, . . .   career U. N. officer.

7.   You can get a job as . waiter. 8. He'll be acting the part of . . . solicitor next week. 9. The castle in which Mary . . . Queen of Scots was imprisoned is worth a visit. 10. He became . . . unwilling sailor. 11. He fully well deserved to be awarded the rank of. . . general. 12. He spent his adolescence as . . . seaman, . . . prospector and . . . fireman. 13. He was . . . firm believer in the triumph of good. 14. He has been elected . . . President of the Conference. 15. Now he's had a go at solving a difficult case, he might turn . . . detective. 16. I rather doubt he'll remain . . . content accountant all his life. 17. I won't have you take her for . . . fool. 18. What with everybody finding him indispensable person! It's gone to his head.

exercise 4. Supply the necessary article: definite or zero:

1.                  I hate . . . wet weather. 2. I spent four hours going from . . . hotel to . . . hotel, trying to find a room. 3. . . . winter of last year was pretty mild. 4. . . . youth look down on oldtimers. 5. A humane leader is loved by . . . people. 6. That type of . . . skirt is no longer fashionable. 7. He doesn't go by . . . train because he can never find a seat. 8. Nobody liked . . . cheese but I; I thought it very tasty. 9. She has . . . youth and she has . . . taste. 10. Did you see . . . van Eyke at the National Gallery? 11. I decided to stay in . . . bed. 12. He hoped he would be inside the harbour before . . . sundown. 13. He looked forward to leaving . . . school and joining . . . army. 14. . . . dinner is being prepared by the children today. 15. The number of. . . smokers has dropped. 16. She is suffering from . . . loss of . . . memory. 17. They generally have . . . breakfast out on the porch in . . . warm weather. 18. Don't drive. Take . . . train. 19. Everybody feels . . . spring is in . . . air. 20. There are no raspberries on . . . market. 21. Cover the roots of the plant with . . . earth. 22. . . . lunch was good but. . . breakfast was awful. 23. Granny went to . . . market to buy . . . fruit for the family. 24. One can get tired of. . . fish and chips. 25. . . . health is better than . . . wealth. 26. It is not visible at. . . night. 27. The party went on far into . . . night. 28. The party started in . . . evening and broke up after . . . midnight. 29. Around . . . noon he can be found in his office. 30. . . . atmospheric polluants turn . . . marble into . . . fine dust which is washed away by . . . rain.

exercise 5. Insert definite or zero articles before the geographical names used in the following sentences:

1. . . British Isles have a total area of about 121,600 square miles. The largest islands are . . . Great Britain proper (comprising the mainlands of. . , England,. . . Wales, and . . . Scotland) and . . . Ireland (comprising . . . Nor­thern Ireland and Irish Republic). 2. Isle of Man in Irish Sea and . . . Channel Islands between . . . Great Britain and . . . France have administra­tive autonomy. 3. The latitude of 50° North cuts across Lizard Peninsula and latitude 60° North passes through Shetland Islands. 4. The boundaries of this region run from the mouth of . . . Tyne to the mouth of. . . Exe. 5. . . . North Atlantic Current reaches the islands from across . .. Atlantic. 6. . .. Highland Britain comprises the whole of. . . Scotland (including the hills and moors of . . . southern Scotland as well as the mountains of. . . Scottish Highlands, which extend from . . . Forth-Clyde valley to the extreme north-west), . . . Lake District in . . . north-west England, the broad central upland known as . . . Pennines. 7. The whole of. . . Britain north of a line joining river Thames and . . . Bristol Channel was covered by ice caps. 8. The red sandstone on . . . Cumberland coast and the limestone masses and slates of . . . Pembrokeshire coast in . . . South Wales are notable features of the varied coastline. 9. Between 150 and 200 inches of rain fall on the summits of . . . Snowdon and .. . Ben Nevis during the average year. 10. The eastern coast of England between . . . Humber and . . . Thames estuary is for the most part low-lying.

(Adapted from 'Britain-An Official Handbook 1968')


3.1. Kinds of adjectives

A    The main kinds are:

(a) Demonstrative: this, that, these, those

(b) Distributive: each, every ; either, neither

(c)  Quantitative: some, any, no ; little/few ; many, much ; one, twenty

(d) Interrogative: which, what, whose

(e)  Possessive: my, your, his, her, its, our, your, their

(f)   Of quality: clever, dry, fat, golden, good, heavy, square

B    Participles used as adjectives

Both present participles (ing) and past participles (ed) can be used as adjectives. Present participle adjectives, amusing, boring, tiring etc., are active and mean 'having this effect'. Past participle adjectives, amused, horrified, tired etc., are passive and mean 'affected in this way'.

The play was boring. (The audience was bored.)

The work was tiring. (The workers were soon tired.)

The scene was horrifying. (The spectators were horrified.)

an infuriating woman (She made us furious.)

an infuriated woman (Something had made her furious.)

C    Agreement

Adjectives in English have the same form for singular and plural, masculine and feminine nouns:

a good boy, good boys, a good girl, good girls

The only exceptions are the demonstrative adjectives this and that, which change to these and those before plural nouns:

this cat, these cats      that man, those men

3.2. Order of adjectives of quality

A    Several variations are possible but a fairly usual order is: adjectives of

(a)  size

(b) general description (excluding adjectives of personality, emotion)

(c)  age

(d) shape

(e)  colour

(f)   material

(g)  origin

(h) purpose (these are really gerunds used to form compound

nouns: walking stick, riding boots).

a long sharp knife    

a small round bath

new hexagonal coins

blue velvet curtains

an old plastic bucket

an elegant French clock

3.3. Comparison

There are three degrees of comparison:

Positive        Comparative       Superlative

dark                                 darker               darkest

tall                                    taller                 tallest

useful                                more useful        most useful

B    One-syllable adjectives form their comparative and superlative by adding er and est to the positive form:

bright      brighter      brightest

Adjectives ending in e add r and st:

brave      braver      bravest

C    Adjectives of three or more syllables form their comparative and
superlative by putting more and most before the positive:

interested                  more interested   most interested

frightening                   more frightening       most frightening

D     Adjectives of two syllables follow one or other of the above rules. Those ending in ful or-re usually take more and most:

doubtful        more doubtful       most doubtful

obscure       more obscure        most obscure

Those ending in er, y or ly usually add er, est:

clever        cleverer       cleverest

pretty       prettier       prettiest (note that the y becomes i)

silly        sillier       silliest

E     Irregular comparisons:

bad                 worse       worst

far                 farther     farthest (of distance only)

further     furthest (used more widely; see F, G)

good               better       best

little               less           least

many/much        more  most

old                  elder       eldest (of people only)

older        oldest (of people and things)

F    farther/farthest and further/furthest Both forms can be used of distances:

York is farther/further than Lincoln or Selby.

York is the farthest/furthest town

Further can also be used, mainly with abstract nouns, to mean 'additional/extra':

Further supplies will soon be available.

Further discussion/debate would be pointless.

II    elder, eldest; older, oldest

elder, eldest imply seniority rather than age. They are chiefly used for comparisons within a family: my elder brother, her eldest boy/girl; but elder is not used with than, so older is necessary here:

He is older than I am. (elder would not be possible.)

3.4. Constructions with comparisons

A    With the positive form of the adjective, we use as as in the affirmative and not as/not so as in the negative: A boy of sixteen is often as tall as his father. He was as white as a sheet. Manslaughter is not as/so bad as murder. Your coffee is not as/so good as the coffee my mother makes.

B     Parallel increase is expressed by the + comparative . . . the + comparative:

HOUSE AGENT: Do you want a big house?

ANN: Yes, the bigger the better.

TOM: But the smaller it is, the less it will cost us to heat.

C    Gradual increase or decrease is expressed by two comparatives joined by and:

The weather is getting colder and colder. He became less and less interested.

the + adjective with a plural meaning

A    blind, deaf, disabled, healthy/sick, living/dead, rich/poor, unemployed and certain other adjectives describing the human character or condition can be preceded by the and used to represent a class of persons. These expressions have a plural meaning; they take a plural verb and the pronoun is they:

The poor get poorer; the rich get richer. the can be used in the same way with national adjectives ending in ch or sh:

the Dutch      the Spanish      the Welsh and can be used similarly with national adjectives ending in se or ss:

the Burmese      the Chinese      the Japanese      the Swiss though it is just possible for these to have a singular meaning.

3.5. Possessive adjectives           







A Possessive adjectives in English refer to the possessor and not to the thing possessed. Everything that a man or boy possesses is his thing; everything that a woman or girl possesses is her thing:

Tom's father is his father but

Mary's father is her father. Everything that an animal or thing possesses is its thing:

A tree drops its leaves in autumn.

A happy dog wags its tail. But if the sex of the animal is known, his/her would often be used. If there is more than one possessor, their is used:

The girls are with their brother.

Trees drop their leaves in autumn. Note that the possessive adjective remains the same whether the thing possessed is singular or plural:

my glove, my gloves      his foot, his feet

C    To add emphasis, own can be placed after my, your, his etc. and after one's:

my own room      her own idea own can be an adjective, as above, or a pronoun:

a room of one's own

Note the expression:

I'm on my own = I'm alone.


exercise 1. Choose the appropriate adjective. Note that -ic alternates with -ical with a difference of meaning:

1.      I am fond of classic / classical languages. 2. Caragiale's play 'The Lost Letter' is a comic / comical masterpiece. 3. Everybody has realized that big cars are not economic / economical to run. 4. It has taken long years of I historic historical research to gather all the data about this historic / historical building. 5. The Royal Ballet's performance of 'The Nut-cracker' was a clas­sic! classical one. 6. Romania's economic economical performance is no longer considered a miracle. 7. She was quite a sight with that comic co­mical old hat on. 8. Many an innocent man has gone to the electric electrical chair. 9. He is quite an expert in electric / electrical engineering.

exercise 2. Group the adjectives listed below under the three heads of the table.

Note that there are two regular ways of marking the category of comparison in English; a) by means of -er in the comparative and (the) -est in the super­lative (the synthetic comparison) with monosyllabic adjectives; b) by means of the periphrastic forms with more and (the) most (the analytic com­parison), incase of plurisyllabic adjectives. A series of monosyllabic adjectives, such as: calm, cross, fit, fond, frank, scarce, grave, prompt display both patterns. Many disyllabic adjectives display both patterns too. It is typically the case with adjectives ending in -y, -ow, -le, -er such as: clumsy, sallow, humble, clever, as well as the following adjectives: handsome, common, polite, quiet, pleasant, precise, sincere etc.

sly, wicked, convenient, foolish, active, vague, afraid, common, red, wound­ed, thin, pretty, startling, stupid, big, healthy, correct, alive, fertile, worthy, pleasant, minute, eager, cruel, tiring, remote, early, comic, simple, easy, tender, low, calm, sore, fast, just, docile, proper, distinct, high, sincere.

a) -er                    b) more+Adj.                   ©) a) -er; (the) -est /

(the) -est               (the) most+Adj.                    b) more + Adj. (the)

most + Adj.

exercise 3. Provide the irregular degrees of comparison of the following adjec­tives. Remember that some of them have two forms of degrees of comparison :

1. good, 2. bad / ill, 3. little, 4. near, 5. much / many, 6. far, 7. late, 8. old.

exercise 4.  Use the correct form of the adjectives in brackets:

1.      What is the (late) information you've got? 2. Her (old) brother is called Jim. 3. We were in a hurry to catch the (late) bus. 4. Which is (old) of the two ? 5. Who is the (old) member of the students' club? 6. They got down to business without (far) delay. 7. I've got a still (old) edition of the dictionary. 8. The  (old) sister was twenty years (old) than the youngest. 9. The (late) half of May was quite rainy. 10. I was told to wait until (far) notice. 11. I wish I had bought it at the (near) shop. 12. He provided them with (far) information as agreed. 13. The (near) station is Calea Victoriei. 14. John's (late) novel was a (good) seller and for sure it won't be his (late) one. 15. He is the (little) writer of the two. 16. I saw him meet her at the (far) end of the street. 17. I shall need (far) help with this.

exercise 5. Supply the appropriate form of the adjectives given in brackets :

1. This is the . . . book I have read for a long time (good). 2. He has one of the . . . cars on the road (fast). 3. The work you are doing today is . . . than the work you did yesterday (easy). 4. Ann often wears . . . dresses than her mother (expensive). 5. Which is the . . . play you have lately read? (interest­ing). 6. The actress on the stage was the . . . girl I have ever seen (striking). 7. Tom is . . . than his friend (tall). 8. They have a. . . garden than ours (lovely). 9. He said this was the . . . day in his life (important). 10. He was . . . than his wife when the child broke the window (angry). 11. He was the . . . man in the world to do that (late). 12. A: 'Which was your . . . subject at school and which was your (good, bad)?' B:'Physics was my . . . and history my.. .'(good, bad).' 13. Is Bucharest or Prague the . . . from London (far)? 14. Tom is 17 years old, his brother Jack is 19 and his sister Jane is 15. Therefore  Jane is the . . . and  Jack is the.. . (young, old).

exercise 6. Supply the comparative form of the adjectives given in brackets. Note that the meaning of the pattern the comparative of Adjective . . . , the comparative of Adjective is cu cit. . . cu atit:

l. The (long) the speech is, the (tedious) it is. 2. The (weak) the patient, the (great) his dependence on the nurse. 3. The (stormy) the weather, the (dangerous) the trip. 4. The (humble) a man is, the (haughty) her manner becomes. 5. The (scarce) the food is getting, the (wild) the beasts become. 6. The (prompt) the answer, the (high) the grade. 7. The (proper) the word, the (exact) the translation is. 8. The (narrow) the path was getting, the (hostile) the horse was becoming. 9. The (eager) the child, the (intricate) the questions he asks. 10. The (fertile) the land, the (little) the amount of fertilizer given to it.

exercise 7. Give the correct succession of the adjectives in the following noun phrases:

1.      a/an (blue, washable, good, cotton) skirt; 2. (blue, frightened, small) eyes; 3. a/an (Asiatic, large, striped) quadruped; 4. (cold, turbulent, greyish, de_ep) waters; 5. (volcanic, dark, tall) rocks; 6. a (Greek, young, bright) stu­dent; 7. a/an (fifteen-foot, pale-red, age-old) brickwall; 8. a/an (little, marble, Roman, brownish) statue; 9. a/an (intelligent, Polish, wiry, elderly) logician; 10 a/an (fluffy, orange, wide, wollen, Peruvian) shawl.


4.1. Kinds of adverbs

Manner: bravely, fast, happily, hard, quickly, well

Place: by, down, here, near, there, up

Time: now, soon, still, then, today, yet

Frequency: always, never, occasionally, often, twice

Sentence: certainly, definitely, luckily, surely

Degree: fairly, hardly, rather, quite, too, very

Interrogative: when? where? why?Relative: when, where, why

4.2. Form and use

The formation of adverbs with ly

A     Many adverbs of manner and some adverbs of degree are formed by adding ly to the corresponding adjectives:

final, finally       immediate, immediately      slow, slowly

Spelling notes

(a)  A final y changes to i: happy, happily.

(b)  A final e is retained before ly: extreme, extremely. Exceptions: true, due, whole become truly, duly, wholly.

(c)   Adjectives ending in a consonant + le drop the e and add y: gentle, gently      simple, simply

Note that the adverb of good is well.

B    Adjectives ending in ly

daily, weekly, monthly etc., kindly and sometimes leisurely can be

adjectives or adverbs, but most other adjectives ending in ly, e.g.

friendly, likely, lonely etc., cannot be used as adverbs and have no

adverb form. To supply this deficiency we use a similar adverb or

adverb phrase:

likely (adjective)    probably (adverb)

friendly (adjective)      in a friendly way (adverb phrase)

C     Some adverbs have a narrower meaning than their corresponding adjectives or differ from them. coldly, coolly, hotly, warmly are used mainly of feelings:

We received them coldly, (in an unfriendly way)

They denied the accusation hotly, (indignantly)

She welcomed us warmly, (in a friendly way)

But warmly dressed = wearing warm clothes.

coolly = calmly/courageously or calmly/impudently:

He behaved very coolly in this dangerous situation. presently = soon: He'll be here presently.

Adverbs and adjectives with the same form

A          back          hard'       little                     right*

deep*         high*        long                     short*

direct*        ill             low                       still

early          just*        much/more/most*      straight

enough       kindly      near*                    well

far             late*         pretty*                  wrong*

fast            left

Used as adverbs:                        Used as adjectives:

Come back soon.                          the back door

You can dial Rome direct.        the most direct route

The train went fast.                  a fast train

They worked hard, (energetically)           The work is hard

an ill-made road                       You look ill/well

Turn right here.                        the right answer

She went straight home.           a straight line

He led us wrong.                           This is the wrong way.

B    Starred words above also have ly forms. Note the meanings. deeply is used chiefly of feelings:

He was deeply offended.

Directly can be used of time or connection:

He '11 be here directly, (very soon)

The new regulations will affect us directly/indirectly.

Highly is used only in an abstract sense:

He was a highly paid official.       They spoke very highly of him.

Justly corresponds to the adjective just (fair, right, lawful), but just can also be an adverb of degree.

Lately = recently: Have you seen him lately?

4.3. Comparative and superlative adverb forms

A     With adverbs of two or more syllables we form the comparative and superlative by putting more and most before the positive form:

Positive          Comparative           Superlative

quickly          more quickly          most quickly

fortunately     more fortunately     most fortunately

Single-syllable adverbs, however, and early, add er, est:
hard        harder        hardest
early       earlier        earliest
(note the y becomes i)

B    Irregular comparisons:

well         better       best

badly        worse  worst

little       less          least

much        more    most

far         farther    farthest (of distance only)

further    furthest (used more widely)

4.4 Position of adverbs

Adverbs of manner

A    Adverbs of manner come after the verb:

She danced beautifully or after the object when there is one:

He gave her the money reluctantly.       They speak English well.

Do not put an adverb between verb and object.

B    When we have verb + preposition + object, the adverb can be either before the preposition or after the object:

He looked at me suspiciously or He looked suspiciously at me. But if the object contains a number of words we put the adverb before the preposition:

He looked suspiciously at everyone who got off the plane.

Adverbs of time

A     afterwards, eventually, lately, now, recently, soon, then, today, tomorrow etc. and adverb phrases of time: at once, since then, till (6.00 etc.)

These are usually placed at the very beginning or at the very end of the clause, i.e. in front position or end position.

Eventually he came/He came eventually.

Then we went home/We went home then.

Write today.      I'll wait till tomorrow.

Adverbs of frequency

(a)  always, continually, frequently, occasionally, often, once, twice, periodically, repeatedly, sometimes, usually etc.

(b) ever, hardly ever, never, rarely, scarcely ever, seldom

A    Adverbs in both the above groups are normally placed:

1    After the simple tenses of to be:

He is always in time for meals.

2    Before the simple tenses of all other verbs:

They sometimes stay up all night.

3    With compound tenses, they are placed after the first auxiliary, or, with interrogative verbs, after auxiliary + subject:

He can never understand.

You have often been told not to do that.

Have you ever ridden a camel?

Order of adverbs and adverb phrases of manner, place and time when they occur in the same sentence

Expressions of manner usually precede expressions of place:

He climbed awkwardly out of the window.

He 'd study happily anywhere.

Time expressions can follow expressions of manner and place:

They worked hard in the garden today.

He lived there happily for a year.

4.5. Inversion of the verb

Inversion of the verb after certain adverbs

Certain adverbs and adverb phrases, mostly with a restrictive or negative sense, can for emphasis be placed first in a sentence or clause and are then followed by the inverted (i.e. interrogative) form of the verb. The most important of these are shown below. The numbers indicate paragraphs where an example will be found.

hardly ever                       on no account

hardly . . . when )              only by

in no circumstances          only in this way

neither/nor                        only then/when

never                                 scarcely ever

no sooner . . . than            scarcely . . . when

not only                             seldom

not till                               so


1. Haven't got a ticket. — Neither/Nor have I.

 2. I had never before been asked to accept a bribe. Never before had I been asked to accept a bribe.

3. They not only rob you, they smash everything too. Not only do they rob you, they smash everything too.

4. He didn 't realize that he had lost it till he got home. Not till he got home did he realize that he had lost it.

5.       This switch must not be touched on any account. On no account must this switch be touched.


exercisE Form adverbs from the following adjectives and nouns by adding

the suffix -If or -ward(s), paying attention to their spelling. Remember that certain adverb coincide in form with the adjectives they derive from:

Gay, extreme, back, sincere, true, sensible, east, whole, final, due, beautiful, good, sure, home, pleasant, hungry, whole-hearted, deep, bad, thank­ful, late, devoted, striking, hard, west, unhappy, terrible, diligent, silent, fast, near.

 exercise 2. Choose the correct word:

1.       You are an excellent cook. The food tastes (good, well). 2. It was a lovely day with birds singing and the sun shining (bright, brightly) and girls wearing (bright, brightly)-coloured dresses. 3. I hate taking medicine. It tastes (bitter, bitterly). 4. I don't think he is ill. His voice sounds (merry, merrily). 5. It rains (heavy, heavily). 6. It is (near, nearly) five o'clock. 7. You must work (hard, hardly) for your exams. 8. He spoke so (quick, quickly) that we could (hard, hardly) follow him. 9. When did you (last, lastly) see him? 10. I am (direct, directly) interested in what you think. 11. He couldn't move as he was (dead, deadly) tired. 12. His eyes hurt him (bad, badly). 13. Mr. Jones held it (tight, tightly). 14. It was six o'clock as (near, nearly) as he could guess. 15. (last, lastly) I must account for my sister's behaviour.

exercise 3. Rewrite these sentences substituting -ly adverbs for the italicized phrases:   

model: 'Who's afraid?' he said in an uneasy manner. 'Who's afraid?' he said uneasily.

1.  He smiled a contemptuous smile. 2. I pick my staff in a careful manner.

3.  'Oh, John', she said in a hoarse voice. 4. He bade us farewell in a cold voice.5. She cried with bitter tears. 6. He came up to me at a slow pace. 7. He spoke about the trip in an excited voice. 8. They defended their friend in convincing words. 9. She stared at me with a fixed look. 10. The Indians lived a simple life, hunting and fishing.

exercise 4. Give the degrees of comparison of the following adverbs:

Much, brightly, quietly, expressively, badly, quickly, late, fast, high, often, well, swiftly, far, little, slowly.

EXERCiSE 5. Rewrite the following sentences using the adverbs in parantheses in the correct degree of comparison:

1. In a large city you must cross the street (carefully) than in a small one. 2. He walked (far) than I did. 3. Please speak (slowly), so that I can take notes. 4. She moved (awkwardly) an elephant. 5. He reviewed her work (unfa­vorably) than Dixon did. 6. Of the three men, you behaved (disgracefully). 7. He's been sleeping (badly) than myself the last few months. 8. Of the ten students he has been working (hard). 9. I pick my staff (carefully) than you do; that's why our results are worse. 10. The answer came back (quickly) than I had expected.

exercise 6 Fill in the blanks with rather or fairly:

Note that fairly implies the idea of something 'favourable' while rather the idea of something 'unfavourable'. Rather can be used before alike, like, similar, different and before comparatives conveying the meaning of a little, slightly, (e.g. Your example is rather similar to mine. The suitcase was rather heavier than I expected). Fairly cannot be used before comparatives. Rather can be used before certain 'favourable' words such as: good, well,pretty, clever, amusing, and the verbs to like, to enjoy, etc., its meaning becoming nearly equivalent to very. (e.g. The performance was rather good.)

1.      This cake is . . . good, but the other is . . . sour. 2. They behaved . . . meanly. 3. You speak English . . . well. 4. It was . . . stupid of him to propose to Mary. 5. She looks . . . nice. 6. Lesson 25 is . .. difficult but Lesson 24 was . . . easy. 7. She was . . . kind to me. 8. The teacher was . . . angry with us. 9. She is . . . tall for her age. 10. It was . . . cruel of him to say that. 11. The lecture was . . . interesting but. . . long. 12.1 didn't want to make friends with them but now I . . . like them.


Pronoun is a word used to replace a noun.

Pronouns identify persons, places, things, and ideas without renaming them.

EXAMPLE: John broke John’s arm.

ANSWER: John broke his arm.

The noun that a pronoun replaces is the antecedent of the pronoun.


Carmen and Joan walked into the theatre. It was so dark that they could barely see the floor.

(Theatre is the antecedent of it. Carmen and Joan are the antecedents of they.)

The antecedent usually appears before the pronoun. Pronouns may be the antecedents of other pronouns

EXAMPLE:  HE enjoys HIS free time. (He is the antecedent of his)

A pronoun must agree with its antecedent in number.

If the antecedent is singular, the pronoun must be singular. If the antecedent is plural, the pronoun must be plural

There are seven kinds of pronouns:

n      personal,

n      demonstrative,

n      reflexive,

n      intensive,

n      interrogative,

n      relative, and

n      indefinite.

5.1. Personal pronouns

Personal Pronouns are the largest group of pronouns. They have different form to express person, number, and gender.

Expressing person

When you write or speak about yourself, you use first-person pronouns: I, me, we, us.

When you refer to an audience, you use the second person pronoun: you.

When you refer to other people or things, you use third-person pronouns: he, she, they, it, and them.

Expressing number (are they singular or plural)

Personal pronouns also indicate whether the antecedent (the noun that the pronoun is replacing) is singular or plural.

I , She, he, and it are SINGULAR pronouns.

We, they and us are PLURAL pronouns.

You can be EITHER singular or plural.

Expressing gender

Personal pronouns express gender.

He and His indicate the masculine gender.

She and Her indicate the feminine gender.

It indicates the neuter gender, which you use to refer to things and ideas.

5.2. Uses of it

A     it is normally used of a thing or an animal whose sex we don't know, and sometimes of a baby or small child: Where's my map? I left it on the table. Look at that bird. It always comes to my window. Her new baby is tiny. It only weighs 2 kilos.

it can be used of people in sentences such as: ANN (on phone): Who is that/Who is it? BILL: It's me. Is that Tom over there? ~ No, it's Peter.

it is used in expressions of time, distance, weather, temperature, tide: What time is it? ~ It is six. What's the date? ~ It's the third of March

How far is it to York? ~ It is 400 kilometres.

How long does it take to get there? ~ It depends on how you go.

It is raining/snowing/freezing.      It's frosty.      It's a fine night.

It's full moon tonight.      In winter it's/it is dark at six o'clock.

It is hot/cold/quiet/noisy in this room.

It's high tide/low tide. Note also:

It's/It is three years since I saw him =

I haven't seen him for three years.

E    it/this can represent a previously mentioned phrase, clause or verb: He smokes in bed, though I don't like it. (it = his smoking in bed) He suggested flying, but I thought it would cost too much, {it = flying)

F     it also acts as a subject for impersonal verbs:

it seems      it appears      it looks       it happens

5.3. Possessive pronouns

Personal Pronouns have possessive forms to show ownership or belonging.


The house is ours.

The pen is mine.

The following chart contains the personal pronouns. The POSSESSIVE forms are in parentheses.




I, me (my, mine)

we, us (our, ours)


you (your, yours)

you (your, yours)


he, him (his)
she, her (her, hers)
it (its)

them, they (their, theirs)

5.4. Demonstrative pronouns

Demonstrative pronouns tell which one or which group is referred to. A list of demonstrative pronouns follows: THAT THIS THESE THOSE

THIS and THESE point to people or things that are near in space or time. THAT or THOSE point to people or things that are farther away in space or time.

EXAMPLE 1: THIS is a new book.( the antecedent of THIS is book)

EXAMPLE 2: THOSE are rare coins. (the antecedent of THOSE is rare coins)

 5.5. Reflexive  pronouns

Reflexive Pronouns are used to indicate that people perform actions TO, FOR, or UPON themselves. You form reflexive pronouns with the suffixes -self, and -selves.

FIRST PERSON: myself, ourselves

SECOND PERSON: yourself, yourselves

THIRD PERSON: himself, herself, itself, oneself, themselves.

EXAMPLE 1: Brad bumped himself on the knee. (Brad performed the action of bumping upon himself.)

EXAMPLE 2: The Hanson CHILDREN built themselves a tree house. (The Hanson children built a tree house for themselves)

5.6. Interrogative pronouns

Interrogative Pronouns introduce questions. A list of interrogative pronouns follows.

Who     which              whose              whom              what

EXAMPLE 1: WHO was at the door?

EXAMPLE 2: WHICH do you prefer?

EXAMPLE 3: WHOM did you elect?

5.7. Relative  pronouns

Relative Pronouns introduce adjective clauses, which are word groups that modify a word or a phrase. A list of reflexive pronouns follows.

Who Whose That Whom Which

EXAMPLE 1: I know the PERSON who lives here. (PERSON is the antecedent of who)

EXAMPLE 2: He planted FLOWERS that bloom every year. (FLOWERS is the antecedent of that)

*Remember, that INTERROGATIVE PRONOUNS introduce QUESTIONS only.

5.8. Indefinite pronouns

Indefinite Pronouns do not refer to a definite person, place or thing; instead they refer to persons, places or things in general.

The following indefinite pronouns are singular. They are used with the singular possessive pronouns HIS, HER, and ITS.

Another            anything           everybody       neither              one

anybody           each                 everyone         nobody            somebody

anyone             either                everything         no one              someone

EXAMPLE: Each of the jobs has ITS rewards.

The following indefinite pronouns are plural. They are used with the plural possessive THEIR.

Both many few several

EXAMPLE: Many of the viewers expressed THEIR opinions.

The following indefinite pronouns can be either singular or plural, depending on their meaning in the sentence.

All   Some               None


exercise 1. Substitute possessive pronouns for the italicized groups of words:

model: His results are more impressive than my results. His results are  more impressive  than  mine.

1. Jim's sense of humour is as unusual as her sense of humour. 2. Grand­mother's pears are very juicy; our pears are not. 3. Our employers will be as surprised as their employers. 4. Tom boasted to his friend about his success and Bob boasted to his friend. 5. I'm glad I haven't a mind like your mind.

6.  You have your own interests, and I have my interests. 7. The Browns took
their twins to the Zoo, and the Ashtons took their twins to the circus. 8. He'll
take my hand and I'll take her hand and we'll start dancing. 9. She is mad at
her daughter and I am mad at my daughter. 10. Scratch my back and I'll
scratch your back.

exercise 2. Use the possessive pronoun instead of the possessive adjective:

model: He is one of her fans. He is a fan of hers.

1. He is one of my friends. 2. Tom lent his friend one of his books. 3. I gave him one of our dictionaries. 4. She played one of her old records. 5. Some of their neighbours had come over to tea. 6. He took a fancy to one of my cousins. 7 Here, John, meet one of your well-known commentators. 8. Is this another of their little schemes? 9. Was it one of her favourite puns? 10. That's one of our favourite tunes.

exercise 3. Fill in the blanks with the suitable reflexive pronouns:

1. If the child eats so little he'll make . . . ill. 2. Can a five-year-old boy wash . . ., dress . . . , feed . . . ? 3. We find it still difficult to express in English. 4. Alice hurt. . . when she fell down the tree. 5. They are likely to have enjoyed at your party. 6. One has to serve in that restaurant.

7.   My cousin switched the light off and finding in the dark began to cry.

8.   I was told you have devoted to science. 9. She cheers up by talking about her youth. 10. I bought a new watch for . . . yesterday. 11. One can lose . . .quite easily in London. 12. We forced to smile. 13. Do pull. . . together! 14. The ringleader shot . 15. I chose to defend . . . against her. 16. The cat looked at in the looking glass. 17. Make at home (pi). 18. They could only speak for . 19. She cooked a good meal and went to bed.

exercise 4. Choose the necessary pronoun:

Note that prepositions denoting concrete spatial relations are not followed by reflexive pronouns. With the following prepositions as, like, but, except personal and reflexive pronouns are used in variation:

1.      He began to imagine how he might rescue her in spite of (her/herself). 2. They tried to live up to a lot of people who were better off than (them/ themselves). 3. The car was heading straight towards (them/themselves). 4. Then he went crazy, screamed and threw (him/himself) about. 5. Look about (you/yourself)! 6. Somebody like (you/yourself) should set the fashion. 7. I winced inside (me/myself). 8. She was beside (her/herself) with rage. 9. My sister and (I/myself) went shopping. 10. Do they have any money on (them; themselves) ? 11. When he was (him/himself) again she was too happy to question him. 12. We'll place our paper in front of (us/ourselves). 13. I am deeply touched to be offered help by so eminent a man as (you/yourself). 14. He takes too much upon (him/himself). 15. For somebody like (me/myself) this is no surprise. 16. I hope it'll remain between (us/ourselves).


Identify the two personal pronouns in each of the following sentences. Tell whether each pronoun is in the first person, the second person, or the third person.

1. I picked up Sam’s paycheck and sent it through the mail.

2. I would like to tell you about last summer.

3. It was a long winter, and to make the time pass more quickly, I took up painting.

4. He couldn’t quite hear what you said.

5. We thought that the team was out of the running, but it came back to win the pennant.

6. Is the book Sandy’s, and does she want it?

7. Will you please try to write us more often?

8. We should not criticize other people too harshly, for those people may turn around and criticize us.

9. They saw the exhibit when it was at the art museum last year.

10. Brad looked at the painting, and knew it was his.


Underline the pronouns used in place of nouns. Identify their antecedents (the noun each pronoun stands for)

1. Carolyn and Katy waxed their skis.

2. Ms. Rodriguez played the guitar for her class.

3. “Have you spoken to Jean?” Sheila asked Rene.

4. The steam made a hissing sound as it escaped.

5. Dad and Marty finished their painting.

6. The Millers moved. Anthony helped them.

7. “Are the gloves yours?” the sales clerk asked Joe.

8. Kim won a trophy. She was excited.

9. “I will write the invitations,” said Kevin.

10. “We met Jim at the movie,” said Mike and Jan.

11. The test took half an hour. It was simple.

12. The results are in. They will be posted later.

13. Bob carried Sue’s picture with him.

14. Dolores deposited the money in her savings account.

  1. Al and Lee are here. Did Sarah find them?


List the antecedents of the pronouns in CAPITAL letters.

1. Shelley, will YOU please answer the phone? IT has been ringing for five minutes.

2. Grandmother said that SHE would love to come for dinner today.

3. Larry will give you the information when you need IT.

4. Juan should go to the fair before IT closes on Friday.

5. Peter and I will practice our duet before WE come to band practice on Saturday morning.

6. The carpenter picked up HIS hammer.

7. You must wait YOUR turn.

8. The columnist wrote HER article.

9. Two members have not paid THEIR dues.

  1. Nora has improved HER grades.

EXERCISE 8 Write a correct demonstrative pronoun for each sentence.

1._____________________ is the first Japanese restaurant I’ve been in.

2._____________________ were my favorite stores.

3._____________________ don’t taste as fresh as the others.

4._____________________ was a good idea.

5._____________________ are my sisters with me.

6._____________________ over there are yours.

7._____________________ is his house across the street.


Write whether each capitalized pronoun is DEMONSTRATIVE or INTERROGATIVE.

1. WHO was at the door?

2. Are THESE left over?

3. We chose THAT for our theme song.

4. WHICH of the jackets is yours?

5. Sara preferred THOSE.

6. WHOSE is the blue pen?

7. THIS is best for everyone.

  1. WHAT was that noise?

EXERCISE 10 Using Indefinite Pronouns Correctly.

Underline the indefinite pronoun, then underline the correct possessive pronoun.

1. Nobody lost (his or her, their) place.

2. Everyone has paid (his or her, their) fee.

3. Many of the musicians brought (his or her, their) instruments.

4. Each of the type writers comes with (its, their) own carrying case.

5. All of the gymnasts practiced (his or her, their) routines.

6. Neither of the girls brought (her, their) swim suit.

7. If anyone is interested, have (him or her, them) see me.

8. Several of the containers were missing (its, their) labels.

9. Both of the stores raised (its, their) labels.

10. Neither of the scientists completed (his or her, their) experiment.

11. Everything was returned to (its, their) owner.

12. Some of the architects sent in (his or her, their) designs.

13. None of the sulphur is in (its, their) flask.

14. No one offered (his or her, their) help.

15. Either of the girls can explain (her, their) answer

Ex. 11 Fill in the correct self pronoun (myself, yourself, himself, herself, itself, ourselves, yourselves, themselves) or each other into the gaps.

1. Bob cut ………………….. while he was preparing supper.

2. The two climbers fell and hurt ………………….. on the rocks.

3. Sandy and her friend Margie looked at ………………. very surprised.

4. 'Don't worry, Mandy. We can take care of ……………………. .'

5. Mr Smith is teaching …………………  Spanish but he thinks it's very difficult.

6. What a nice sweater! - Thank you, I've knitted it …………………….. .

7. The clock came off the wall …………………. .

8. Mrs Brown wallpapered the living room ………………….. .

9. Both families haven't been talking to …………………..  since the big quarrel last year.

10. Cathy and Ann are sewing fancy costumes for …………….. .

Ex.12 Fill in with relative nouns

1. This is the boy ……………. had an accident.

2. Yesterday I saw a car ……….. was really old.

3. Mandy is the girl …………. I met on Friday.

4. I haven't seen Peter, ……….. brother is five, for a long time now.

5. The robber stole the car………….  the lady parked in front of the supermarket.

6. This is the man …………. house is on fire.

7. Can I talk to the girl ……………… is sitting on the bench?

8. The book ………….. you gave me is great.


Ex.13 Relative Clauses, Relative Pronouns


1. Where is the bottle of Coke ……….  who which whose x I bought this morning?

2. I talked to the girl ……….  who which whose x car had broken down in front of the shop.

3. Mr Jones,  ……… who which whose x is a taxi driver, lives on the corner.

4. There is the car ……….  who which whose x I'd like to buy.

5. He cleaned the car  ………. who which whose x had an accident.

6. This is the girl ……….  who which whose x comes from Spain.

7. That's Peter, the boy …….  who which whose x has just arrived at the airport.

8. What did you do with the money  …….. who which whose x your mother lent you?

Ex. 14 Correct the pronoun errors.

1. Keats wrote that 'a thing of beauty is a joy forever.' He added that it's 'loveliness increases.'

2. At some schools, you have to take the courses they tell you to take.

3. Everyone at the game brought their Thermos filled with hot chocolate.

4. Marie and me will go with you and she to the craft fair.

5. You have a much higher GPA than me.

6. Make your reservations with either Dana or myself.

7. On the ten o'clock news, they announced that Pete and her will be the new delegates.

8. Unless you grasp the concept, it can be really frustrating.

9. My barber and his boss are always arguing; he told me they may never make peace.

10. The band played a fanfare for the President and I as we disembarked from the plane.

11. You and me are best buds. This makes me very happy.

12. When they drove to California, they were surprised at how fast it went.

13. The photograph certainly did justice to the scenery; it's quality was excellent.

14. Dad loves the wide open spaces. That is why he moved out of the city.

15. Sarah says she is going to graduate with honors or die trying.

16. Mike, Susan, and I washed the floor ourself this morning.

17. One of the plans were drawn by the architect who is more famous than me.

18. All of the lumber were warped by the heavy rain.

19. Joe is afraid of dogs, and he is allergic to cats. That is why he doesn't have a pet.

Ex. 15  'Who' and 'Whom,' 'Whoever' and 'Whomever' Exercises

Fill in the correct form in the following sentences.

1. _____ kicked the field goal?

2. The governor appointed _____ for the position?

3. I will pick ______ needs the money.

4. Dan Baker is not only the man ______ wrote the best-selling novel but also the ex-convict about ______ everyone wonders.

5. Trudy and ______ will be co-chairs of the committee?

6. You and ______ bought the flowers for ______ ?

7. This is the woman for ______ the bell tolls.

8. The student ______ was wearing the blue shorts swore that he would punch out ______he could catch.

9. Jody went to the history class admiring ______ could write an 'A' paper for that professor, ______ was noted for his tough grading policies and about ______ everyone was gossiping.

10. The corporation was facing bankruptcy; consequently, it could not advertise for the technicians ______ would be the most qualified, and they had to settle for ______ they could find that would be willing to work for low wages.

11. Martha is a very conscientious mother upon ______ the whole family depends.

12. This general, with ______ many soldiers fought and under ______ more soldiers were trained, ______ disciplined soldiers _______ disobeyed the slightest order, and ______ challenged ______ appeared to have the faintest spark of promise, died ingloriously yesterday while sitting in his easy chair in the nursing home, dreaming of the days when he could strike fear in the hearts of ______ he commanded.


6.1. Introduction

Prepositions are words normally placed before nouns or pronouns

The student has two main problems with prepositions. He has to know

(a)                whether in any construction a preposition is required or not, and

(b)               which preposition to use when one is required.

The first problem can be especially troublesome to a European student, who may find that a certain construction in his own language requires a preposition, whereas a similar one in English does not, and vice versa: e.g. in most European languages purpose is expressed by a preposition + infinitive; in English it is expressed by the infinitive only:

I came here to study

Alternative position of prepositions

A     Prepositions normally precede nouns or pronouns. In two

constructions, however, it is possible in informal English to move the preposition to the end of the sentence:

1   In questions beginning with a preposition + whom/which/what/

To whom were you talking? (formal)

Who were you talking to? (informal)

In which drawer does he keep it? (formal)

Which drawer does he keep it in? (informal) It used to be thought ungrammatical to end a sentence with a preposition, but it is now accepted as a colloquial form.

2   Similarly in relative clauses, a preposition placed before whom/which
can be moved to the end of the clause. The relative pronoun is then
often omitted:

the people with whom I was travelling (formal) the people I was travelling with (informal) the company from which I hire my TV set (formal) the company I hire my TV set from (informal)

B     But in phrasal verbs the preposition/adverb remains after its verb, so the formal type of construction is not possible, the children I was looking after could not be rewritten with after + whom and Which bridge did they blow up? could not be rewritten with up + which.

Time and date: at, on, by, before, in

at daw, at six, at midnight, at 4.30, at sixteen/at the age of sixteen, on Monday, on 4 June, on Christmas Day, by the end of July

C     on time, in time, in good time

on time = at the time arranged, not before, not after:

The 8.15 train started on time. (It started at 8.15.) in time/in time for + noun = not late; in good time (for) = with a comfortable margin:

Passengers should be in time for their train.

I arrived at the concert hall in good time (for the concert). (Perhaps

the concert began at 7.30 and I arrived at 7.15.)

I    Time: from, since, for, during

from is normally used with to or till/until:

Most people work from nine to five

since is used for time, never for place, and means 'from that time to the time referred to'.

He has been here since Monday, (from Monday till now)

He wondered where Ann was. He had not seen her since their


 for is used of a period of time: for six years, for two months, for ever:

Bake it for two hours.

He travelled in the desert for six months. for + a period of time can be used with a present perfect tense or past perfect tense for an action which extends up to the time of speaking:

He has worked here for a year. (He began working here a year ago

and still works here.)

during is used with known periods of time, i.e. periods known by name, such as Christmas, Easter or periods which have been already defined:

during the Middle Ages      during 1941

during the summer (of that year)

during his childhood

Time: to, till/until, after,

A     to and till/until

to can be used of time and place; till/until of time only. We can use from to or from . . . till/until:

They worked from five to ten/from five till ten. (at five to ten would

mean 'at 9.55'.) But if we have no from we use till/until,


after (preposition) must be followed by a noun, pronoun or gerund:

Don't bathe immediately after a meal/after eating.

Don't have a meal and bathe immediately after it.

at, in; in, into; on, onto

A    at and in


We can be at home, at work, at the office, at school, at university, at an address, at a certain point e.g. at the bridge, at the crossroads, at the bus-stop.


We can be in a country, a town, a village, a square, a street, a room, a forest, a wood, a field, a desert or any place which has boundaries or is enclosed.

But a small area such as a square, a street, a room, a field might be used with at when we mean 'at this point' rather than 'inside'.

We can be in or at a building, in means inside only; at could mean

inside or in the grounds or just outside. If someone is 'at the station' he

could be in the street outside, or in the ticket office/waiting room/

restaurant or on the platform.

We can be in or at the sea, a river, lake, swimming pool etc.

in here means actually in the water:

The children are swimming in the river. at the sea/river/lake etc. means 'near/beside the sea'. But at sea means 'on a ship'.

B     in and into

in as shown above normally indicates position. into indicates movement, entrance:

They climbed into the lorry.       I poured the beer into a tankard.

Thieves broke into my house/My house was broken into.

With the verb put, however, either in or into can be used:

He put his hands in/into his pockets. in can also be an adverb:

Come in = Enter.       Get in (into the car).

I'     on and onto

on can be used for both position and movement:

He was sitting on his case.        Snow fell on the hills.

His name is on the door.   He went on board ship.

onto can be used (chiefly of people and animals) when there is movement involving a change of level:

People climbed onto their roofs.       We lifted him onto the table.

The cat jumped onto the mantelpiece. on can also be an adverb:

Go on.       Come on.

 above, over, under, below, beneath etc.

A     above and over

above (preposition and adverb) and over (preposition) can both mean 'higher than' and sometimes either can be used:

The helicopter hovered above/over us.

Flags waved above/over our heads. But over can also mean 'covering', 'on the other side of, 'across' and 'from one side to the other':

                »We put a rug over him. He lives over the mountains. There is a bridge over           the river.

over can mean 'more than' or 'higher than'.

above can mean 'higher than' only.

Both can mean 'higher in rank'. But He is over me would normally mean

'He is my immediate superior', 'He supervises my work', above would

not necessarily have this meaning.

If we have a bridge over a river, above the bridge means 'upstream'.

over can be used with meals/food/drink:

 below and under

below (preposition) and under (preposition) can both mean 'lower than' and sometimes either can be used. But under can indicate contact:

She put the letter under her pillow.

The ice crackled under his feet. With below there is usually a space between the two surfaces:

They live below us. (We live on the fourth floor and they live on

the third.) Similarly: We live above them. (See A above.)

beneath can sometimes be used instead of under, but it is safer to keep it for abstract meanings:

He would think it beneath him to tell a lie. (unworthy of him) She married beneath her. (into a lower social class)

beside, between, behind, in front of, opposite

Imagine a theatre with rows of seats: A, B, C etc., Row A being

nearest the stage.                         


Row A          Tom             Ann               Bill

Row B           Mary            Bob              Jane

This means that:

Tom is beside Ann; Mary is beside Bob etc.

Ann is between Tom and Bill; Bob is between Mary and Jane.

Mary is behind Tom; Tom is in front of Mary. But if Tom and Mary are having a meal and Tom is sitting at one side of j the table and Mary at the other, we do not use in front of, but say:

Tom is sitting opposite Mary or Tom is facing Mary. But He stood in front of me could mean either 'He stood with his back toj me' or 'He faced me'.

People living on one side of a street will talk of the houses on the other I side as the houses opposite (us) rather than the houses in front of us.

 Don't confuse beside with besides, beside = at the side of: We camped beside a lake.

besides (preposition) = in addition to/as well as:

I do all the cooking and besides that I help Tom.

Besides doing the cooking I help Tom. besides (adverb) means (a) 'in addition to that/as well as that':

I do the cooking and help Tom besides and (b) 'in any case/anyway':

We can't afford oysters. Besides, Tom doesn't like them.

between and among

between normally relates a person/thing to two other people/things,

but it can be used of more when we have a definite number in mind:

Luxembourg lies between Belgium, Germany and France. among relates a person/thing to more than two others; normally we have no definite number in mind:

He was happy to be among friends again.

a village among the hills

Prepositions used with adjectives and participles

Certain adjectives and past participles used as adjectives can be

followed by a preposition + noun/gerund.

Usually particular adjectives and participles require particular

prepositions. Some of these are given below; others can be found by

consulting a good dictionary, which after any adjective will give the

prepositons that can be used with it.

absorbed in                         involved in

according to                        keen on

accustomed to                  liable for/to

afraid of                           nervous of

anxious for/about             owing to

ashamed of                       pleased with

aware of                           prepared for

bad at/for                         proud of

capable of                         ready for

confident of                      responsible for/to

due to/for                          scared of

exposed to                           sorry for/about

fit for                                 successful in

fond of                              suspicious of

frightened of/at                 terrified of

good at/for                        tired of

interested in                      used to

He was absorbed in his book.

She is afraid/frightened/scared of the dark.

According to Tom it's 2.30. (Tom says it's 2.30.)

He is bad/good at chess, (a bad/good player)

Running is bad/good for you. (unhealthy/healthy)

They are very keen on golf.

Drivers exceeding the speed limit are liable to a fine.

The management is not responsible for articles left in

customers' cars.

I'm sorry for your husband. (I pity him.)

I'm sorry for forgetting the tickets.

I'm sorry about the tickets.

Verbs and prepositions

accuse sb of                      insist on

apologize (to sb) for         live on (food/money)

apply to sb/for sth            long for

ask for/about                    object to

attend to                           occur to

beg for                               persist in

believe in                            prefer sb/sth to sb/sth

beware of                         prepare for

blame sb for                     punish sb for

charge sb with (an offence)    quarrel with sb about

compare sth with             refer to

comply with                        rely on

conform to                          remind sb of

consist of                          resort to

deal in                              succeed in

depend on                           suspect sb of

dream of                           think of/about

fight with sb for                wait for

fine sb for                         warn sb of/about

hope for                              wish for

Do you believe in ghosts?

They were charged with receiving stolen goods.

You haven't complied with the regulations.

For a week she lived on bananas and milk.

It never occurred to me to insure the house.

They persisted in defying the law.

When arguments failed he resorted to threats.


exercise 1. Choose the correct preposition in parentheses in the sentences below:

1.      Mary walked (in, into) the dining-room. 2. She put her packages (on, at) the table. 3. She is sitting (in, on) an armchair (into, in) the living-room. 4. Is her husband (at, in) home now? No, he is (on, at) the library. 5. He also spends many hours (in, on) his office (on, at) 50, Fleet Street. 6. I found a note pinned (in, on) my door which said: 'Meet me (at, in) the corner of Oxford Street and Regent Street. 7. His family lives (at, on) Bridge Street (in, on) Edinburgh, Scotland. 8. You must always write your return address (in, on) the envelope. 9. The team arrived (in, at) England last week.

exercisE 2. Will in each blank with to, into or from:

1. She learnt English . . . books. 2. Then she taught it . . . you. 3. A pri­soner has escaped . . . prison. 4. He escaped . . . the woods. 5. He fell a river and the police rescued him it. 6. They saved him . . . drowning. 7. Her father has retired . . . bed. 8. He has retired . . . the army.

exercise 3 Fill in each blank with onto or into whenever possible; otherwise with on or in:

a)    1) Take a seat the car. 2. Don't take everything the car. 3. Help me lift this suitcase . . . the seat. 4. They are arriving . . . Rome. 5. They are driving . . . the city. 6. Are they staying . . . the city tonight ?

b)    In which of the last 6 sentences could we use off, and in which could we use out of?

exercise 4. Fill in each blank with the suitable preposition. Use a different preposition each  time:

1. The Danube rises . . . the Black Forest and flows . . . the Black Sea. 2. The Isles of Scilly are a group of islands . . . the Atlantic, . . . Cornwall. Not many people live . . . them. 3. The train leaves . . . Paris early in the morning, and it gets . . . Gurtici by dinner-time. 4. Step . . . this ladder, but be careful you don't fall it. 5. Wait me round the corner, just . . . the baker's. 6. You aren't permitted to smoke . . . the area of petrol tanks. 7. Look out, children! There's a car racing . . . you!

exercise 5. Choose the correct preposition in parentheses in the sentences


1.      They stopped (in front of, below) the museum and sat down (in, on) the steps. 2. Jim said, 'I must go (to, towards) the library and take out some books. I'm living (to, in) our hostel this term'. 3. Our house is number 40. Number 42 is (opposite, next to) ours. 4. Number 41 is (opposite, next to) ours. 5. We like to live (about, among) civilised people. 6. Something is hidden (at the back of, behind) this simple occurence. 7. I am (behind, at the back of) my work. 8. There is a beautiful park (behind, at the back of) my house.

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