Open-Class Items: Learning More Words

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There are many ambiguous words in the language (English) but some of them will be examined in this book.

[Rock] as a noun

This is the kind of hard solid material. Consider the examples below.

(i)         Look at this sedimentary rock.

(ii)        I stood up on the rock.

‘Rock’ in the sentences above is a noun and both of them function as headwords in the noun phrase ‘this sedimentary rock’ and the prepositional phrase ‘on the rock’.

[Rock] as a verb (1)

It implies ‘to move gently backward or forward or side to side. Consider the examples below.

(i)         Seeing masquerades coming in their direction, the people were rocking backward.

(ii)        At about 8.00 pm, a thief is rocking right away to my room.

‘Rocking’ in the sentences above is a verb. It helps the auxiliaries were and is and it acts the sentences.

[Rock] as a verb (2)

This connotes ‘to shock someone/something very much’ or ‘to make people afraid’. Consider afraid males below.

(i)         The constant fire disaster rocked the Ibadan people.

(ii)        Beatrice was rocked when a thief was shot dead.

Rocked is used to activate the sentences above. ‘Rocked’ in a sentence (1) suggests ‘make the Ibadan people afraid’. In sentence (ii) ‘rocked’ also suggests ‘Beatrice was shocked …’

[Rock] as a verb (3)

It connotes ‘to shake or make something shake violently’. Consider the following examples:

(i)         Eagle Square was rocked after the bomb exploded.

(ii)        A bandit of armed robbers rocked the whole town yesterday when they were robbing a bank.

The ‘rocked’ used in the sentences above acts the sentences. The ‘rocked’ in a sentence (i) means shaken violently while the ‘rocked’ in a sentence (ii) means shook.

[Rat] as a noun

‘Rat’ as a noun is small with a long tail that looks like a large mouse. Look at the examples below.

(i)         My trap catches a rat.

(ii)        A big rat hides in my mother’s cupboard.

‘Rat’ in a sentence  (i) is used as a noun that functions as a complement to a sentence. Also, ‘rat’ in a sentence (ii) is used as a noun that serves as the headword in the phrase – A big rat.

[Rat] as a verb

This connotes ‘to tell someone in authority about something wrong’ or ‘wrong things that somebody else has done. Look at the examples below.

(i)         Mr. Bade rats their boss about his friend’s indolence.

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(ii)        Doyin’s stealing was ratted to the principal.

‘Rat’ in the two sentences above is used as a verb that performs the actions of the sentences.

[Flock] as a noun

It represents a group of sheep, goats, or birds of the same type. Look at the examples below.

(i)         Chief Waleola has a flock of sheep.

(ii)       This is a flock of sheep.

‘Flock’ in the sentences above is used as a noun (Collective noun) that functions as an object and complement of the sentences they appear or as the headword in the noun phrase – a flock of sheep.

[Flock] as a verb

Flock is a verb that means ‘to go or gather somewhere in large numbers. Look at the examples below.

(i)         The congregation flocked to the church to listen to the sermon.

(ii)        The footballers and their supporters flock to the stadium.

‘Flocked’ in a sentence (i) is a verb. It acts as the sentence and means ‘gathered in large numbers. Flock in a sentence (ii) is also a verb. It does the action of the sentence and means ‘go in large numbers.

[Man] as a noun (1)

Man as a noun means a ‘male person if it is preceded by the article a or the. Look at the examples below.

(i)         Tola loves the man so much.

(ii)        A man is waiting for you here.

‘Man’ preceded by the article (the) and (a) in the sentence above represents ‘a male person.’ Also ‘the man’ in a sentence(i) is a noun because it functions as the object of the sentence. It serves as the headword in the noun phrase – the man of the sentence. A man in a sentence (ii) is also a noun because it functions as the subject of the sentence.

[Man] as a noun (2)

‘Man’ as a noun also means the ‘all human beings, both male and female’ or ‘humans in a group.’ In this case, man must not be used with the article (a), (the), or any determiners while referring to humans in general. Look at the following examples:

(i)         Man should be involved in moderate exercises.

(ii)        Some diseases are caused by man.

In sentence (1), ‘man’ is a noun since it functions as the subject of the sentence. Also, in a sentence (ii), ‘man’ is a noun because it is used as the headword in the prepositional phrase – by man of the sentence. ‘Man’ here represents all humans, including male and female persons.

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[Man] as a verb

‘Man’ as a verb means ‘to take charge of’ or ‘control’ something or place(s). Look at the examples below.

(i)         The man manned the company judiciously before his sudden death.

(ii)        Make sure you man that property wisely.

Remember that ‘manned’ (as the past tense) and ‘man’ (as the present tense) above have shifted from the noun to the verb. The actions of the sentences are used.

[Milk] as a noun

It means the white liquid produced by cows, goats, and, other animals as food. Examine the examples below.

(i)         Milk is got from cows.

(ii)        Peak milk is rich.

In sentence (i), ‘milk’ is used as a noun and it functions as subject of the sentence it occurs. Furthermore, in a sentence (ii), ‘milk’ is a noun because it serves as the headword of the noun phrase – peak milk.

[Milk] as a verb

‘Milk’ as a verb implies ‘to obtain as much money,’ ‘advantages’ etc. for yourself as you can from a particular situation or place, especially in a dishonest way. Examine the following examples:

(i)         The boss milked almost N2m from the company.

(ii)        A certain amount of money was milked by some Governors of the state.

‘Milked’ in the sentence they are used is a verb. It does the actions of those sentences.

[Necklace] as a Noun

This means a piece of jewelry consisting of a chain, string of beads, and so on. Examine the examples below.

(i)         I bought a diamond necklace for my wife.

(ii)        My sister likes the imported necklace.

‘Necklace’ in the sentences above is a noun. In sentence (i), it functions as the headword of a noun phrase – a diamond necklace in the sentence it is used. Also, ‘necklace,’ in a sentence (ii) functions as the headword of a noun phrase – the imported necklace in the sentence it is used.

[Necklace] as a verb

‘Necklace’ as a verb implies ‘to kill someone by putting a burning car tire around his/her neck.’ Examine the examples below.

(i)         One of the thieves caught was necklaced in public.

(ii)        The crowd necklaced the kidnappers caught.

Note that ‘necklaced’ in this case, has shifted from the noun to the verb because they perform the action of the sentences above. Here, ‘necklace’ connotes that one of the thieves and the kidnappers caught are killed by putting the burning car tires around their necks.

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[Storm] as a noun (1)

‘Storm’ as a noun means bad weather with strong winds and rain, and often thunder. Examine the illustrations below.

(i)         Some buildings were damaged in Lagos by strong storm.

(ii)        Jesus quieted storms.

‘Storm’ in a sentence (1) is a noun. It serves as the headword of the prepositional phrase – by the strong storm in the sentence, it is sued. In sentence (ii), it is also a noun because it functions as the object of the sentence it is used.

[Storm] as a noun (2)

This is a situation in which a lot of people suddenly express strong feelings about something or a sudden loud noise that is caused by emotion or excitement. Examine the following illustrations:

(i)         I pray that the storm of your life will be calm.

(ii)        The boy is suffering from the storm of academic bad luck.

‘Storm’ above is used as a noun expressing sudden or strong feelings about one’s life and one’s academic bad luck.

[Storm] as a verb

Storm as a verb connotes ‘suddenly attack a place.’ Examine the illustrations below.

(i)         The armed robbers stormed a bank and stole away some money.

(ii)        The thugs stormed the girls’ hostel and raped seven of them.

Now that ‘Storm’ acts of the sentences above, so it is a verb. It also means (attack suddenly) in the sentences used.

[People] as a noun

This connotes persons, men, women, children, etc. Consider these illustrations:

(i)         All people need money, but not all people have money.

(ii)        Those lecturers are my people.

It is established in a sentence (1), ‘people’ serves as the headword of the noun phrase – All people in the sentence it is used. Also, in sentence (ii), ‘people’ functions as a complement to the sentence it is used.

[People] as a verb

‘People’ as a verb means ‘to fill a place with people’. Look at this example:

Yesterday, my house was peopled by the Nigerian soldiers.

‘People’ in the above example is used as a lexical verb helped by the auxiliary was. It means that the speaker’s house was filled with Nigerian soldiers.

Deola Adelakun

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