What does a noun do in a sentence?

It acts as the subject of a sentence that performs the action of the verb. The subject has to be a noun. It cannot be a verb, an adverb, an adjective or any other part of speech. Nouns are basic to sentence structure because they, along with pronouns, provide the subject of the sentence. In addition, a noun functions as a direct object of a verb, an indirect object of a verb, object of a preposition, or a complement.

(1) Noun as subject of verb
The subject (in bold) can be a person, place, thing or idea. It performs an act or shows a state of being as expressed by the verb. The subject is easily recognized as it usually comes at the beginning of a sentence and is followed by a verb.



  • The man stepped on my toes.
  • The car smashed into a wall.

  • Both of them fell down the stairs.

  • I accidentally hit my head on the bookshelf.


(2) Noun as direct object

The direct object (in bold) is a noun in a sentence. The object is acted upon by the subject, and It typically comes after the verb.



  • Tom bit his nail.
  • I am painting the doghouse.

  • Her dog followed her to the park.

  • Strong wind blew their tent down.


(3) Noun as indirect object

The indirect object (in bold) is a noun in a sentence. An indirect object represents a person or thing that receives the effect of the action of the verb. It usually comes between the verb and the direct object. 



  • He fed the monkeys bananas.
  • The mother was cooking her family a seafood dinner.

  • Jack sent a letter to his parents.

  • She poured drinks for the boys.


(4) Noun as object of a preposition

The object of preposition (in bold) is a noun in a sentence. The object comes after the preposition as shown here in following examples.   



  • Joe broke his nose in a fight. (Preposition: in)
  • Two puppies followed behind the girl. (Preposition: behind)

  • Birdwatching is a facourite hobby of the villagers. (Preposition: of)

  • Everyone is complaining about the boss. (Preposition: about)