1. Education

Exercise in Identifying Nouns

Practice in Recognizing the Parts of Speech


This exercise will give you practice in recognizing nouns--the part of speech (or word class) used to name or identify people, places, things, qualities, or actions. To learn more about nouns in English, see:


The sentences in this exercise have been adapted from those in the opening four paragraphs of Raymond Chandler's novel The Big Sleep (1939). The narrator is detective Philip Marlowe, and the location is Sternwood Place, the mansion owned by the elderly General Sternwood. (If you'd like to read Chandler's original sentences, go to Raymond Chandler's Hardboiled Prose Style.)

See if you can identify all the common nouns and proper nouns in these 12 sentences. When you're done, compare your responses with the answers on page two.

  1. I was wearing my powder-blue suit, with dark blue shirt, tie and display handkerchief, black brogues, and black socks with dark blue clocks on them.

  2. The main hallway of the Sternwood Place was two stories high.

  3. Over the doors, which would have let in a troop of elephants, there was a broad panel showing a knight in dark armor rescuing a lady who was tied to a tree.

  4. The knight had pushed the vizor of his helmet back.

  5. He was fiddling on the ropes that tied the lady to the tree.

  6. I thought that if I lived in the house, I would sooner or later have to climb up and help him.

  7. In the front of the garage, a young chauffeur in shiny black leggings was dusting a maroon convertible.

  8. Beyond the garage were some decorative trees trimmed as carefully as poodles.

  9. Beyond them stood a large greenhouse with a domed roof.

  10. Inside the house, large hard chairs with rounded red plush seats were backed into the vacant spaces of the wall.

  11. In the west wall there was a big empty fireplace with a brass screen in four hinged panels.

  12. Above the mantel there was a large portrait.

Related Exercise:
Practice in Identifying Count Nouns and Mass Nouns

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