Answers: writing about nouns (Text 2)

Nouns in Text 1

The nouns are printed in red, and then listed in categories by noun type underneath.

Seventy years ago, Europe was being torn apart by its second catastrophic conflict in a generation. A war which saw the streets of European cities strewn with rubble. The skies of London lit by flames night after night. And millions dead across the world in the battle for peace and liberty.

As we remember their sacrifice, so we should also remember how the shift in Europe from war to sustained peace came about. It did not happen like a change in the weather. It happened because of determined work over generations. A commitment to friendship and a resolve never to re-visit that dark past

COMMON: years, conflictgeneration, war, streets, cities, rubble, skies, flames, night, millions, world, battle, peace, liberty, sacrifice, shift, changeweatherworkgenerationscommitmentfriendshipresolvepast

PROPER: EuropeLondon

CONCRETE: streetscitiesrubbleskiesflames, world

ABSTRACT: years, conflict, generation, war, night, millions, battle, peace, liberty, sacrifice, shift, change, weather, work, generations, commitment, friendship, resolve, past

COUNT:  years (plural), conflictgeneration (singular), war (singular, with a determiner), streets, cities, skies, flames (plural), night (singular), millions (plural), world, battle, sacrifice, shift, change (singular), generations (plural), commitment (singular)

NON-COUNT: Europerubble,  London, peace, liberty, war (no determiner), weather, work, friendship, resolvepast

Nouns and text type

This text is an example of a public speech. The primary audience is specific: politicians, the business world and people interested in Britain’s relationship with Europe; the secondary audience is the general public who can access the speech and commentaries on it via the internet and the print media. The purpose is to inform the audience about the Conservative Party position on Britain’s membership of the European Union. The context is initially narrow (the audience at the London headquarters of Bloomberg) and then very wide as journalists report on the occasion.

Five key points about the nouns:

  1. dominated by abstract nouns which mark the reflective tone
  2. repetition of abstract nouns (peacewar) and synonyms (shiftchange) to establish theme of change
  3. small lexical set of negative abstract nouns (conflictwarbattle) set against the larger positive set (peace, libertysacrificecommitmentfriendship) to emphasise the importance of the relationship between Britain and Europe
  4. limited number of concrete nouns to create dramatic sense of the Second World War and its physical effect
  5. proper nouns indicate places (EuropeLondon), underpinning contrast of speech’s title

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