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Grammar is like a game of chess. Each piece of grammar, known as a part of speech, has a form (e.g., verbs, nouns, adjectives, adverbs, prepositions, articles, pronouns, and conjunctions.)  Each of these forms has permissible modes of moving, or functioning.       

Because nouns name objects, people, places, and ideas, most students have no problem recognizing a noun.   

Can you recognize nominals? Learn to win the game!   

Sometimes, grammatical forms other than "nouns" function as nouns. Collectively, such structures are known as nominals. This means that noun phrases, noun clauses, gerunds, and infinitives act as subjects or objects of clauses, or objects of prepositions. 

Although native speakers of English use all nominals with no difficulty, they may not always have the explicit knowledge to explain how nominals function.

Depending upon their level of comprehension of formal grammar, ESL students may have difficulty understanding nominals.    

Click here for nominal clauses.

Click here for non-finite verb forms.