“People were always the limiters of happiness except for the very few that were as good as spring itself.” ~Ernest Hemingway

I'm so adjective...Do you remember sitting in school thinking, “When am I ever going to use this stuff in the real world?” I am about to vindicate your 8th grade English teacher. That’s right, there is finally a reason to know the difference between an adjective and a noun.

This is not just an academic or intellectual exercise either. It is actually going to impact your life right now. So suck it up and listen this time (unlike 8th grade).

Think about the difference between these two sentences:

I am grateful.


I am gratitude.

First, what is the structural difference? The first one says, “I am adjective.” The second says, “I am noun.” “So what?” you ask. “They basically say the same thing.”

Ah, but they don’t and the difference is crucial. I’ll bet you can tell me what a noun is. Everybody knows that a noun is a person, place, or thing. Depending on your middle school grades, you may or may not be able to define what an adjective is, so I’ll let you off the hook and tell you: an adjective is an attribute that modifies or describes a noun.

In the first sentence you have the adjective “grateful” modifying the noun “I”. Apparently “I” am not automatically “grateful”, it has to be stated explicitly to be understood. Hmm…

In the second sentence the word “gratitude” is a noun unto itself. The word “I” is still a noun too. So what happens in this sentence? We equate two nouns. “I” is now not just modified to be grateful, but equivalent to “gratitude”. Put another way, no longer do we need to modify “I” to be grateful because it completely embodies gratitude.

Another thing to note is that we have moved from having or even doing an attribute to being. To be is far more powerful than to have or to do. Things you have can be given away, taken away or thrown away. Things you do have a start and a stop. But what you are being is of necessity you. To take it away or to stop it would essentially be to cease to exist.

“Do you know why being is better than doing or having?” click to tweet

So here is where the “right now” impact is: If you want to remove the limiters and the boundaries on who you are, start being nouns instead of having or doing adjectives. Nouns are easier to figure out anyway, right? Check out this handy list of possibilities:

abundant becomes abundance
accepting becomes acceptance
affluent becomes affluence
generous becomes generosity
grateful becomes gratitude
happy becomes happiness
healthy becomes health
joyful becomes joy
loving becomes love
moving becomes movement
peaceful becomes peace
present becomes presence
responsible becomes responsibility
truthful becomes truth
worthy becomes worth

So what nouns are you going to be now? Tell us about it by commenting below.

Photo credit: Ian

You Should Have Paid Attention In English Class
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2 thoughts on “You Should Have Paid Attention In English Class

  • Permalink

    I hated English class. I didn’t see why I should have to study a language I already speak. I’m not so sure I feel any differently about that now but I like the idea of being nouns.

    • Permalink

      Imagine how it will get other people’s attention when you say, “I am health” instead of “I am healthy.” Some of them might correct you saying, “Didn’t you mean to say…” Then you can tell them why what you said is far superior to the common way of saying it. It’s good for you and good for them. You will become the Ambassador of Beingness.


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