I don't know what it means. It confusing me like it says noun is used before an adjective.

It's so confusing and troublesome.

Take a look:

  • Noun: a word that refers to a person, place, thing, event, substance or quality e.g.'nurse', 'cat', 'party', 'oil' and 'poverty'.

  • Verb: a word or phrase that describes an action, condition or experience e.g. 'run', 'look' and 'feel'.

  • Adjective: a word that describes a noun e.g. 'big', 'boring', 'pink', 'quick' and 'obvious'.

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    @Araucaria That "rubbish article" is the canonical answer. But I don't think concepts like these (in any terminology) can be taught by definitions, not even definitions with a few accompanying examples. For most people, learning them requires some patient, in-person interaction, as well as getting some experience with the language so you can understand what the concepts abstract from.
    – Ben Kovitz
    Mar 27, 2015 at 10:00
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    It starts off with "nouns are things" the very epitomy of bad grammar teaching!!! And EXACTLY the reason why the OP had to ask this question here. What kind of "thing" is arrival or massacre? Mar 27, 2015 at 10:03
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    @Araucaria I think it would be awesome if you wanted to contribute a canonical post and I would hope that you would write a clearer question than this one (or its duplicate ell.stackexchange.com/q/53630/9161) to start if off. A question written by someone who understands the issue would probably be easier for learners to find in a search, and could be framed in a way to make the answer clearer.
    – ColleenV
    Mar 27, 2015 at 14:35
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    @Araucaria Thanks for the suggestions for sources. I do think that the Wikipedia article needs a lot of work, and I took no offense. It's a collaborative work, anyway: I just modified what was already there, and there are many parts I don't like. The article is on traditional grammar generally: the way of thinking about grammar, with "eight parts of speech", that started in Ancient Greece, and was basically force-fit onto English.
    – Ben Kovitz
    Mar 27, 2015 at 15:53
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    @Araucaria Looks like we both noticed the same thing (the Wikipedia article isn't just about English). I think it probably needs a total rewrite.
    – Ben Kovitz
    Mar 27, 2015 at 15:59

1 Answer 1


Shamboo, I think I can give you a simple approach to help you get some intuitive understanding of these. I have been helping my son learn these recently.

it says noun is used before an adjective.

I'm not sure where you saw that, but you are right to feel confused about it! It is incorrect.

For now, just think of a noun as a person, place or thing. For example: mother, house, dog. You can say my mother, my forest, my dog. So, those are nouns.

Now let's do adjectives. The adjective tells us, in a small number of words, what kind of noun the noun is. Examples: a strict mother, a big forest, a friendly dog.

When you are looking at a sentence and you want to find the nouns, and the adjectives, please try to find words that seem similar to my examples.

Verbs can be a little harder to learn. There are two kinds. The first kind is a very small group of words. The most common one is "to be (am, are, is, etc.)." for example, She is hungry. This type of verb is similar to an equals sign: She = hungry.

The second kind of verb is an action word. You have to use energy to do an action! For example, She runs. She thinks. She cooks.

Verbs might look more complicated than that, for example She ran. She will think. She was cooking. But it's still the same idea.

I hope this helps.

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