There are eight basic types of English words, called Parts of Speech. Let’s look at how they’re used.
1. Nouns are persons, places, and things.
When a noun becomes a specific person, place or thing, it’s call a proper noun, and it’s capitalized.
ie: Jacob is a specific person, Jacob is a proper noun.
ie: mouse, house, car and hat, are considered common nouns, they are not capitalized.
ie: Jacob the mouse, Jacob is specific and mouse isn’t; so, Jacob is capitalized and mouse isn’t.
Remember: Beginning writers who capitalize their common nouns show a weakness in using words properly. An editor reading a Manuscript submitted with repeated instances of this mistake, knows right off that this writer has a long way to go before publication.
Except for writing for the youngest of children, a writer should avoid using the same noun over and over again. They need to find a way that differently refers to the person, place, or thing the noun names. This also can lead to passive writing, which is another no no.
ie.: Instead of Jacob, the mouse, ran into the bushes. Jacob saw the big rat and hid. Rufus the rat ran by Jacob.
write: Jacob ran into the bushes. He saw the big rat and hid. Rufus ran by.
2. Pronouns replace nouns.
They refer to specific nouns that precede them. Their function in sentences is the same as nouns. All nouns have pronoun replacements.
If the noun is one or more persons: the pronoun might be: he, she, her, him, we, us, they, them, you, or ourselves.
These are called personal pronouns. Some are masculine, others are feminine, and some like ‘them’ can be either masculine or feminine.
If the noun is a place or a thing, the pronoun might be: it, itself, they, them or themselves.
These are called impersonal pronouns.
And yes, some pronouns such as ‘them’ can be both personal and impersonal pronouns. The difference is whether the pronoun refers to a person, place or thing.
Places and things in children’s literature are personalized.
Talking animals, vehicles, and trees given human characteristics require personal pronouns.
Ships are “she”.
Trouble for writers occur when it isn’t clear which noun they are referring to. Here are three things to remember doing when using pronouns.
1. Use the correct pronoun to replace a particular noun.
2. Clarify which noun the pronoun replaces/refers to.
3. Make sure you have an interesting and pleasant rhythm in your writing by changing up the use of nouns and pronouns.
more on Parts of Speech 2