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    The Case for Nouns

    Thursday, August 13, 2009

    We all learned in school that nouns name people, places, and things. In addition, they can be divided by class - proper, common, and so on - and by form - meaning gender, number, and case. Today, let's consider just the case of nouns. Nouns can be nominative, possessive, or objective case, depending upon how they are used in a sentence.

    The term nominative comes from the Latin, meaning "pertaining to naming." Fittingly, nominative nouns are used to either name or rename the subject of a clause. For example, in the sentence "Luci is a valuable employee," the subject Luci is a nominative noun, as is the noun employee, which is used to rename the subject Luci.

    When a noun owns something, it is written in the possessive case. For example, in the sentence "That is Edgar's lunch," Edgar owns the lunch, and the apostrophe-s creates the possessive case.

    Finally, a noun is considered to be in the objective case when it is used as an object. It may be a direct object, an indirect object, or the object of a preposition. An example of each of these occurs in the following sentence: "The CEO gave Frank a promotion for his efforts. Here, Frank is the indirect object, promotion is the direct object, and efforts is the object of the preposition.

    In any case, nouns are hard workers and play an important role in communicating clear, specific messages.

    You can learn more about the case of nouns on page 242 in Write for Business, just one of the many helpful business writing materials from UpWrite Press.

    - Joyce Lee