1. The wind blows from the sea.
2. His father's house is a beautiful mansion.
3. The Gordon Highlanders are brave soldiers.
4. We heard the distant train.
5. He prepared a home for his mother.
6. Milton, the author of Paradise Lost, was a friend of Cromwell.
7. I thank you, my dear friend, for your great kindness.
8. The order having been given, we resumed our march.
A careful study of the italicised words in the sentences above shows that wind is the subject of the verb blows, that father's shows a relation of ownership to the house, that mansion is the predicate noun, the complement of is, that soldiers is the complement of are, that train is the object complement of the verb heard, that he is the subject of the verb prepared, that mother is the object of the preposition for, that author describes Milton, that you is the object of the verb thank, and that order is used as nominative absolute with having been given.
From our study of the relations of the noun and the pronoun in sentences, we see that they may be used:
1. As the subject of a predicate verb:
The robins built their nest in the apple tree. They carefully guard their young.
2. As a predicate noun or pronoun:
The knife is a handy tool. I am he.
3. As a term of address:
John, will you please come here! Mr. Speaker, I rise to a point of order.
4. As a nominative absolute:
The storm having ceased, we continued our journey. He being alone, they entered unobserved.
5. As a possessive:
The author's work was done. Their sleep is sweet.
6. As the object of a verb:
Edith wrote a letter to her mother. The boys aided him in his work.
A noun or a pronoun may be used as the indirect object, see page 239 for examples.
7. As the object of a preposition:
Heavy clusters of grapes grew on the vine. The children went to church with us.
8. As explanatory of another noun:
Abraham Lincoln, the martyr President, was once a rail-splitter.
Longfellow the poet was born in Portland, Maine.
These uses are called cases, because they show the relations, or cases, in which nouns and pronouns stand to other words in sentences.
Case is that use, or form, of a noun or pronoun which shows its relation to other words in a sentence.
There are three cases in English, the nominative, the possessive, and the objective.
The nominative case is the use of a noun or form of a pronoun as the subject of a predicate verb, as a predicate noun or pronoun, as a term of address, or as an independent element.
When a noun is used as a term of address, it is in the nominative case by address; when used as an independent element, it is in the nominative absolute, because it is freed from its grammatical relation to the subject or the predicate of the sentence.
The possessive case of a noun or pronoun is its form to denote ownership or possession.
1. John's book is on the table.
2. He had a pair of men's boots.
3. A boy's will is the wind's will.
4. He found the princess' purse.
5. For such is their majesties' pleasure.
6. These are not children's thoughts.
7. These oxen's horns are crooked.
8. He is my mother-inrlaw's lawyer.
9. Jones, Smith and Brown's store is on Pine Street 10. They exhibited Burne Jones's and Millet's pictures.
A study of these sentences will show that:
1. The possessive case of a noun in the singular is formed by adding an apostrophe (') and the letter s to the nominative.
When too many hissing sounds would come together, the apostrophe alone is added; as, for conscience' sake; the princess' hat
2. The possessive case in the plural is formed by adding the apostrophe only, if the nominative plural ends in s.
3. But if the nominative plural does not end in s, the apostrophe and s are added.
4. In compound nouns the sign of the possessive case is added to the last word only.
5. When two or more nouns denote joint possession, the sign of the possessive is added to the last noun only.
6. But when two or more nouns denote separate possession, the sign of the possessive is added to each.
We have already seen that personal pronouns have different forms to represent the different cases.
1. The cat caught a mouse with her claws.
2. They camped at the foot of the mountain.
We see from these sentences that mouse is the object which the cat caught, and is, therefore, in the objective case; that claws tells us the objects with which the cat caught the mouse. Claws is therefore in the objective case, and is the object of the preposition with.
For like reasons we see that foot is in the objective case as the object of at, and that mountain is in the objective case as the object of of.
The objective case of a noun is its use as the object of a verb or of a preposition.
1. Webster, the orator and statesman, delivered the address.
2. I met Mr. Brown, the merchant, on the street.
In the first sentence orator and statesman are in the nominative case in apposition with Webster; in the second, merchant is in the objective case in apposition with Mr. Brown.
Apposition means placed by the side of.
Orator, statesman, and merchant are called appositives, as they are placed by the side of the words they explain.
Webster is called the subject of the appositives, orator and statesman; and Mr. Brown, the subject of the apposi-tive merchant.
An appositive agrees with its subject in case.
When a noun is used to explain the meaning of another noun, it is in the same case by apposition.