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10 Types Of Nouns Used In The English Language

Nouns are an all-star team of words and always have a player ready to step up to the plate, no matter the challenge. Common nouns, proper nouns, abstract nouns, and concrete nouns are our go-to nouns but there are many types of nouns ready to get in the game. To learn the difference between all these nouns, use this guide to link to in-depth articles about each type of noun.

What is a noun?

A noun is a word that refers to a person, place, or thing. The category of “things” may sound super vague, but in this case it means inanimate objects, abstract concepts, and activities. Phrases and other parts of speech can also behave like nouns and can be the subject in a sentence, as in Jogging is a fun exercise. Here, the verb jogging acts like a noun and is the subject of the sentence.

Different types of nouns

1) Common nouns

Common nouns are words that refer to undefined or generic people, places, or things. For example, the country is a common noun that refers to a generic place while the word Canada is not a common noun because it refers to a specific place. Common nouns are only capitalized when they begin sentences or are used in the names or titles of something, as in Grand Canyon or Iron Man.

 

  • common nouns:
    house, cat, girl, foot, country

2) Proper nouns

Proper nouns help distinguish a specific person, place, or thing. These words should be capitalized. The names and titles of things are always proper nouns, such as the brand name Starbucks and the personal name Jenny.

 

  • proper nouns:
    Spain, Fido, Sony

3) Singular nouns

Singular nouns are nouns that refer to only one person, place or thing. For example, a cat is one animal and a banana is one fruit.

 

  • singular nouns:
    house, cat, girl, foot, country

4) Plural nouns

plural noun refers to more than one of something. Many singular nouns just need an S added at the end to make them plural (e.g., bee becomes bees). For some nouns that already end with an S, you may need to add -es to the end to make their plural forms (e.g., classes and buses). Some singular nouns also change spelling when made plural (e.g. countries and babies).

 

  • regular plural nouns:
    houses, cats, girls, countries

Not all nouns follow this pattern. Those that become plural in other ways are called irregular plural nouns. Some examples are man and men, wolf and wolves, foot and feet, and sheep and … sheep.

 

  • irregular plural nouns:
    person and people
    life and lives
    mouse and mice
    tooth and teeth

5) Concrete nouns

A concrete noun is something that can be perceived through the five senses. If you can see, hear, touch, taste, or smell something, it uses a concrete noun.

 

  • concrete nouns:
    table, apple, rabbit, ear

6) Abstract nouns

Abstract nouns are intangible ideas that can’t be perceived with the five senses, such as social concepts, political theories, and character traits. For example, the abstract noun anger refers to an emotion and the abstract noun courage refers to a quality a person has.

 

  • abstract nouns:
    love, creativity, democracy

7) Collective nouns

A collective noun is a noun that functions as a singular noun while referring to a group of people or things. A collective noun refers to a group that functions as one unit or performs the same action at the same time. For example: the team plays in the main gym.

 

  • collective nouns:
    crowd, flocks, committee, a sum of money

WATCH: We Asked: How Do You Remember The Definition Of A "Noun"?

8) Compound nouns

A compound noun combines two or more words into one. Compound nouns can appear as a single word, multiple words used separately, or words connected by hyphens.

 

  • compound nouns:
    dry-cleaning, jack-in-the-box, toothpaste, haircut, output, ice cream, potato chip

9) Countable nouns

A countable noun (also known as a count noun) is one that you can count. When you have three books or 10 pennies, you are describing a noun that is countable.

 

  • countable nouns:
    table, apple, rabbit, ear

10) Uncountable nouns

An uncountable noun (also known as a mass noun) is one that cannot be counted. For example, happiness cannot be counted. You don’t say that you have “a happiness” or “three happinesses.” Uncountable nouns typically don’t have plural forms.

 

  • uncountable nouns:
    salt, seafood, luggage, advice

Nouns make up the majority of the English language. More nouns appear every year as people come up with new ideas, media, and technologies. However, a noun’s basic function never changes. It is a person, place, or thing, and it may be one or more of the types of nouns that we all know and love.

Nouns are great, but when you’re looking for clarity in writing, punctuation marks do the work! Learn about the major ones here.

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