Friday, November 6, 2015

Diagramming Possessive and Plural Nouns

Do you want to write about one butterfly or many butterflies?

Nouns: Possessives and Plurals 

As a general rule, a noun ends in "s" when a writer is referring to more than one of the given noun. For example, the writer might write about seeing one butterfly or several butterflies.  The writer might mention encountering  a ghost or multiple ghosts.

When a writer means to say that something belongs to the noun, however, he or she uses an apostrophe before adding the "s."  The writer could refer to the butterfly's wings or the ghost's intentions.

When a writer wants to tell his or her readers that something belongs to more than one of the given noun, the writer must use the plural form of the noun and the possessive apostrophe.  In this case, the writer would tell us about butterflies' wings or ghosts' intentions.

How to Diagram Plural, Possessive, and Possessive Plural Nouns

Before diagramming these nouns, the form of the noun must be carefully considered.  Plural nouns are diagrammed on horizontal lines, either on a base line or horizontally as the object of a preposition.  Possessive nouns, however, have an entirely different purpose, and they are diagrammed as modifiers underneath the nouns they modify.

To diagram a plural noun as a direct object, simply place it on the horizontal base line in the third segment of that base line.  In this instance, the writer is referring to more than one butterfly.

To diagram the singular possessive form of a noun, place the possessive noun under the word it modifies on the diagonal line.  In this example, the direct object is "wings."  The possessive noun, "butterfly's" tells us more about the kind of wings Kate admired. 

In this final diagram, Kate admired the wings of multiple butterflies.  Although "butterflies'" is plural, it is also possessive, and it is therefore a modifier.  It remains underneath the word it modifies, just like any other adjective.

In diagramming, just as in writer, the form of a noun must be carefully considered before it is written. Plural nouns are placed just as singular nouns are placed, but possessive nouns are diagrammed like adjectives.

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