Practical exercise (11.3.4.1)

Identifying word types

Practical exercise 11.3.4.1: Identifying word types

Have a look at the following sentences and identify what type of word is written in italics:

  • The definition of rape was expanded by the Sexual Offences Act 2003.
  • Special measures have been introduced to protect vulnerable witnesses.
  • The law was changed by statute in 1990 but these changes have not been implemented.
  • The Supreme Court replaced the House of Lords.
  • The duties of trustees are onerous.
  • Recent criticisms of the jury system suggest that only one-third of jurors understand the law and the judge’s instructions to them.
  • The issue of whether terrorists’ human rights should be protected is a difficult one within international law.
  • The existence of a defence of necessity is a hotly contested issue within criminal law.

Suggested answers

Word

Type

Explanation

Definition

Noun

‘Definition’ is a noun as it is the name that we give to an explanation of something that describes it. The clue that helps us to identify it as a noun is that it can be preceded by ‘the’ and ‘a’.

Special

Adjective

The word ‘special’ is used to describe the noun ‘measures’ so it is an adjective. Do not make the mistake of thinking that ‘special’ is a noun because it can be preceded by ‘the’ and ‘a’. If you say ‘the special’, you expect something to follow it that identifies what thing it is that is special. This demonstrates that it is an adjective that describes a noun.

Protect

Verb

This is a verb. It is something that happens to the vulnerable witnesses so it can be said to describe an action.

The

Article

A word that introduces a noun is an article. The word ‘the’ is a definite article as it refers to a particular law.

But

Conjunction

‘But’ is a conjunction because it joins two different parts of the same sentence together. A conjunction gives the reader information about how the two different parts of a sentence relate to each other.

Supreme Court

Noun

It would be tempting to suggest that ‘court’ is a noun and that ‘supreme’ is an adjective that describes it but the use of capital letters for both words shows us that this is a proper noun; in other words, it is the name of a particular place.

Onerous

Adjective

Just as ‘special’ describes ‘measures’ so ‘onerous’ is also an adjective because it describes the duties of the trustees. It can be tricky to identify an adjective when it does not appear immediately before the noun.

Recent

Adjective

Another adjective. ‘Recent’ describes the time at which the criticism (a noun) occurred.

Them

Pronoun

A pronoun replaces a noun in order to prevent its repetition. Here, the ‘them’ in question are the jurors.

Terrorists’

Noun

The name used for a group of people so this is a noun.

Should

Verb

This is a tricky one. ‘Should’ is a verb as it refers to the action of creating an obligation.

Within

Preposition

A preposition links a noun (the law) with the rest of the sentence.