In the following sentence:

Movies with sound became popular in the twenties

how would I parse the prep phrase? Mainly I can't figure out part of speech of "twenties". Is it a common noun or proper noun?

Or, if it were written as follows:

Movies with sound became popular after 1925

is "after 1925" also a prep phrase? And what would be the part of speech of 1925?


"Twenties" is a common noun and the object of the prepositional phrase "in the twenties." In the other sentence, 1925 is also a noun and the object of the prepositional phrase "after 1925."


Both twenties and 1925 are nouns; periods of time, specifically. And they are also both objects of prepositions: in and after, respectively.

There are two general rules of English you can follow to figure out that these are nouns. First, the definition of noun: person, place, or thing, generally speaking. Dates and times are things. Second, the use of prepositions, which require a noun target. In what? The twenties. After what? 1925.

Is it a common noun or proper noun?

These are both common nouns. Twenties refers to a general group of numbers with two as the tens digit. Because it doesn't refer to anything specific, it cannot be a proper noun.

Even though 1925 refers to a specific year, it's still a common noun, because it's a number. Numbers just aren't proper nouns in English, even though there's only one specific year in this case, because 1925 can be used in a broad range of contexts and mean subtly different things, depending on the context. A year, an age, a count, the result of a calculation, etc.

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