Today we are going to delve into an important aspect of English grammar. We’re going to be taking a deeper look at one of the 9 parts of speech.
The part of speech we’re going to deal with is the noun.
If you read my article “ What are the Parts of Speech in English”, you’ll probably remember that we said that a noun names a person, place, thing or idea.
So, in order to get a more in-depth understanding, we are going to see what are the different types of nouns.
The English language has 11 different types of nouns. In the following paragraphs, we’ll look at each type individually to ensure that you can get a clear understanding of each.
1. Common Nouns
Common nouns are used to refer to people, places or things that are not specific. Common nouns are used everywhere and all the time. Objects, for example, are named using common nouns: table, book, lamp, chair, window, bed, etc.
Places, when you are referring to them in general, are also named using common nouns. Some examples are bathroom, street, house, school, kitchen, building, etc.
When we want to refer to people in general, we do so using common nouns. For example teacher, student, grandfather, cousin, priest, doctor, etc.
Common nouns are generally not capitalized, unless they are part of a title or at the beginning of a sentence.
Let’s look at some example sentences.
- Where is my red pen?
- You know, I really hate going to the dentist.
- Did you go out with your friends last night?
- I told my friend Amy to meet me at the restaurant at 8.
2. Proper Nouns
Proper nouns name specific places, people or things and they always begin with a capital letter no matter where in the sentence they’re found.
Following are some examples.
Examples: Michael, California, Toronto, Dr. Morrison, Pacific Ocean.
- Mary has been living in Chicago for the last five years.
- Mr. Edwards is a wonderful history teacher.
- Brad Pitt is a very famous and well-known actor.
- Do you know if Jessica went to Italy last week?
3. Abstract Nouns
Abstract nouns refer to ideas, concepts, and emotions which means that we can’t touch them. Following are some examples of abstract nouns.
Quality: kindness, intelligence, honour, honesty, wisdom, courage, beauty, bravery, brilliance, compassion, etc.
State of being: childhood, manhood, youth, sickness, slavery, death, poverty, sleep, womanhood, etc.
Also, the names of arts and science are abstract nouns.
Examples: physics, math, music, geography, art, history, chemistry, etc.
Abstract nouns can be formed from adjectives, verbs, and common nouns.
- honesty from the adjective honest.
- illness from the adjective ill.
- bravery from the adjective brave.
- happiness from the adjective happy.
- sadness from the adjective sad.
- growth from the verb grow.
- obedience from the verb obey.
- anger from the verb angry.
- communication from the verb communicate.
- imagination from the verb imagine.
From common nouns
- slavery from the noun slave.
- faithfulness from the noun faith.
- democracy from the noun democratic.
- parenthood from the noun parent.
- patriotism from the noun patriot.
Now let’s use some of them in sentences.
- I hate math.
- I never listen to rumours.
- They say that beauty is only skin deep.
- That child is very evil.
4. Concrete Nouns
Concrete nouns refer to things that can be touched, tasted, seen, etc. They can be either countable or uncountable.
Examples: apple, apartment, bus, bird, flower, eyes, hands, etc.
Here are some sentences using concrete nouns.
- My mother bought 2 kg of apples.
- Michael lives in a 2 bedroom apartment.
- I’m going to wear my new pair of shoes.
5. Countable Nouns
Countable nouns are nouns that can be counted. They can be singular or plural. When the noun is in its singular form, it can use an article.
Example: movie, cat, piano, match, watch, boys, etc.
- Elizabeth has a blue car.
- I bought a dozen eggs.
- Do you know how many countries there are in North America?
- There are 50 apartments in that building.
6. Uncountable Nouns
Uncountable nouns are substances, or concepts and can’t be counted. For example, water can’t be counted. We can count litres of water or bottles of water but we can’t count the water itself. We don’t usually use indefinite articles (a/an) with uncountable nouns.
love, happiness, music, art, information, furniture, luggage, sugar, milk, rice, flour, electricity, gas, money, work, etc.
- I need to buy new furniture.
- Tony spends his whole day listening to music.
- Why did you buy so much rice?
- Money makes the world go around.
Note: Some nouns can be both countable and uncountable.
- I found 3 hairs in my food. (countable)
- He has very little hair. (uncountable)
- There are many different noises in the city. (countable)
- Noise really distracts me. (uncountable)
- My house has 6 rooms. (countable)
- The stadium is full. There’s no more room. (uncountable)
7. Compound Nouns
Compound nouns are made up of two or more words. Usually, they are made up of two nouns or an adjective and a noun but there are other combinations as well.
There are 3 types of compound nouns.
- Open or spaced (e.g. running shoe)
- Hyphenated (e.g. brother-in-law)
- Closed or solid (e.g. eyeglasses)
Here are some more examples:
New York, tablecloth, football.
- New York is a beautiful city.
- I got a special tablecloth for Christmas.
- Tom loves playing football.
whiteboard, software, full moon.
- The full moon makes people crazy.
- The teacher couldn’t write on the whiteboard because she had no markers.
- I just purchased some new software for my computer.
verb + noun
breakfast, washing machine.
- I never eat breakfast.
- Did you remember to take the clothes out of the washing machine?
noun + verb
- I don’t think he has ever been up at sunrise.
- He just got a haircut.
8. Collective Nouns
Collective nouns are words for single things that are made up of more than one – animal, idea, person, or thing.
- class (a group of students)
- group (of people)
- army (a group of soldiers)
- team (a group of players in some type of sport)
- family (people related to each other)
- audience (a group a people watching a play)
- crowd (a large group of people)
- choir ( a group of singers)
- bunch ( a group of small objects such as flowers, bananas, keys)
- flock (a group of birds)
Some example Sentences:
- His family is not very large.
- The whole class was absent because of the snow storm.
- Oliver decided that he was going to join the army.
9. Singular Nouns
Singular nouns name one person, place, thing or idea.
Example: monkey, baby, lion, peach, game, movie, etc.
- He is the cutest monkey I have ever seen.
- The movie we saw yesterday was really bad.
- Karen had a baby 3 months ago and she is back to her regular weight.
10. Plural Nouns
Plural nouns name more than one person, place, idea or thing.
elephants, dresses, tomatoes, babies, matches, candles, etc.
- I had no idea elephants were so big.
- I need matches to light the candles.
- Could you hand me three tomatoes from the fridge, please?
- Why are all your dresses black?
11. Possessive Nouns
Possessive nouns indicate ownership. To show possession we usually add an ‘s to the noun.
- a man’s tie
- a dog’s dinner
- a book’s pages
- a boy’s ball
- Tom’s shoes
- John’s homework is not done yet.
- Leo’s new car is red.
- My sister’s friend lost all of her money at the club.
That brings us to the end of this lesson on nouns. I hope that you now have a better understanding of them, what they are, what are the different types and how to use them.
If you have any questions post them in the section below.
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