In the sentence, “Thomas usually visits his grandparents on Sundays,” the word Sundays is…? a.  a preposition. b.  a pronoun. c.  an adjective. d.  a proper noun.

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mlhamilton's profile pic

mlhamilton | College Teacher | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

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A. a preposition (No way! a preposition is usually a word that indicates the location of a noun. In this example "on" is the preposition.)

B. a pronoun (Not this either! A pronoun takes the place of a noun. In this example "his" is the pronoun.)

C. an adjective (Nope! An adjective is a word that describes a noun. In this example "his" also works as an adjective. Or if the sentence was written “Thomas usually visits his grandparents on rainy Sundays,” the word "rainy" would be the adjective)

D. A proper noun (YES! This is the one!!)

But why is it a "Proper noun" and not just a noun?

When we learn what a noun is, we are told it is a "person, place, or thing." But where did this idea of the "proper noun come from?!"

Well, people, places and things can be general or specific. I can say, "I was in a city last week." Or I can say, "I was in Chicago last week."

"City" is a common noun as it is a general description and not specific to any one place. 

"Chicago" is a proper noun as it is a specific description and refers to a particular place.

"Man" is a common noun.

"Abraham Lincoln" is a proper noun.

mwestwood's profile pic

mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The correct answer is d. a proper noun. 

Interestingly, the word noun derives from the Latin word nom, which means "name." (In French, which is derived from Latin, the word nom means both "name" and "noun.") So, a noun is defined as the name of a person, place, or thing. Nouns can be common or proper. A common noun names any one of a class of people, places, or things. For example, the word writer is a common noun as there are any number of writers. But, Ernest Hemingway is a proper noun as he is a particular writer. 


Sunday 
is a noun because it names a thing--namely, a day. And, it is a proper noun because it names a particular thing, a specific day which is the first day of the week. Sunday is used as the object of the preposition on. This usage of a word in a sentence is called the syntax of the word. 

Here is why the other choices are wrong:

  • A preposition is a word that relates the noun or pronoun which follows it to another word in the sentence. In the sentence on is a preposition.
  • A pronoun is a word that takes the place of noun. In the sentence his is a possessive pronoun; his takes the place of Thomas.
  • An adjective is a word used to describe a noun or a pronoun or to make a noun or a pronoun more specific. In the sentence his is used as an adjective to modify grandparents. The syntax of his is as a possessive adjective; however, his is not considered an adjective, but normally as a possessive pronoun. 

A more common use of an adjective occurs in this sentence,

  • The weary old tree swayed back and forth in the efforts of the band. (weary. old)
Sources:
karenbcn's profile pic

karenbcn | College Teacher | eNotes Newbie

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It's a proper noun.  If you can recognize "on" as a preposition, that helps, because nouns & pronouns follow prepositions. Proper nouns are those that we capitalize.

dbeggs's profile pic

dbeggs | Elementary School Teacher | eNotes Newbie

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a proper noun because it is naming a specific day of the week.

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