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What parsing is.To parse a word is to examine it in two different points: (1) What part of speech it is, (2) what part it plays in the building of a sentence. (Parse is from Latin pars, a part.)


Note. – Of the eight parts of speech the only kind of word that cannot be parsed in the second sense is an Interjection. So in parsing such a word the only thing we can say is that it is an Interjection.


All the other parts of speech stand in some connection with other words, and must therefore be parsed in the second sense as well as in the first. Thus if we have to parse in in such a phrase as a bird in the hand, we do not merely say that it is a preposition, but a preposition having hand for its object. It shows what the bird has to do with the hand, or the hand with the bird.

In the older forms of our language, when inflectional endings were more numerous, parsing was less difficult than it is now, because we have but few of these left to guide us. Now we have to consider chiefly the work that a word does in a sentence, and not expect so much help from the form or ending.

How to parse Nouns. –To parse a noun you have to show four different things concerning it:

(a) Of what kindit is, – Proper, Common, Collective, Material, or Abstract.

(b) Of what genderit is, – Masculine, Feminine, Common, or Neuter.

(c) Of what numberit is, – Singular or Plural.

(d) In what caseit is, – Nominative, Accusative, or Genitive, etc.



(1) The master of this class teaches French without a book.

Master – Common noun. Masculine gender, Singular number, Nominative case. Subject to the verb teaches.

Class – Collective noun. Neuter gender, Singular number, Accusative case after the preposition of.

French – Proper noun. Neuter gender, Singular number, Accusative case after the verb teaches.

Book – Common noun. Neuter gender, Singular number, Accusative case after the preposition without.


(2) The deer in my father’s forest nibble the grass with eagerness.

Deer – Common noun. Common gender. Plural number, Nominative case. Subject to the verb nibble.

Father’s – Common noun. Masculine gender. Singular number, Genitive case qualifying the noun forest.

Forest – Collectivenoun. Neuter gender. Singular number, Accusative case after the preposition in.

Grass – Material noun. Neuter gender. Singular number, Accusative case after the verb nibble.

Eagerness – Abstract noun. Neuter gender. Singular number, Accusative case after the preposition with.


Ex. 1. State morphological composition of the following nouns:

snow sandstone

impossibility widower

opinion exclamation

passer-by misunderstanding

inactivity snowball

kingdom mother-in-law

immobility might

warmth succession

nurse misdeed

blackbird policeman

merry-go-round usefulness

fortune friend

friendship statesman

population fellow-worker

smelling-salt German


Ex. 2. State to what class the nouns belong:

1. The hotel specialized in homely English food, and we had pieces of excellent lamb with green peas and new potatoes and a deep-dish pie with Devonshire cream to follow.

2. His face was sick with pain and rage.

3. They would see the river and fruit trees in blossom.

4. He was reading in the library. I was very much impressed by his power of concentration.

5. He was professor of physics.

6. Snow lay thick in the valley.

7. Isabel poured out the coffee and Larry lit his pipe.

8. I found them sitting over a cup of tea.

9. The hills ran up clear above the vegetation in spires of naked rock.

10. You had better have a slice of ham or an egg, or something else with your tea. You can't travel on a mouthful of bread and butter.

11. The plane trees (платан, чинар) were just bursting into leaf.


Ex.3. State whether the underlined nouns denote countable or uncountable objects.

1. The box is made of iron and has a tricky lock.

2. The fever within her was like a red-hot iron pressing upon her breast.

3. Montanelli took the hand and examined it closely. “Have they put irons on a fresh wound?”

4. There was a moon but it was still low in the sky. It gave sufficient light for Victoria.

5. He saw a light in one window on the ground floor.

6. The book gives much food for thought.

7. Health is a priceless possession.

8. Of all prosperity their respective healths naturally concerned the Forsytes most.

9. The boys stood on the bank throwing stones into the river.

10. When I think of this, my heart turns to stone.

11. He (James) stretched out his hand to meet that man with hardly a hair on his hand.

12. Her hair has gone quite grey.

13. When the dynamite explodes in the water, the fish are killed. It is forbidden.

14. I prefer fish for supper.

15. All the water rushed out and the reeds were full of fishes flopping around in them.

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