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How To Use Abstract Nouns and Concrete Nouns To Beautify Your Writing

Mansurat is a creative writer that writes poetry, fiction and nonfiction.


The various parts of speech must be woven together intelligently for our writing to have a unique appeal. While many focus on whether to include more or fewer adverbs and adjectives, nouns can be just as powerful.

Abstract nouns have no concrete meaning whereas concrete nouns have direct meaning. We can understand the latter with our five senses but the former is left to the capacity of our brain's imagination. When used together, it creates meaning in one of the most beautiful ways.

This article is a detailed explanation of how abstract and concrete nouns can beautify your poetry or prose write-ups.


Abstract Nouns in Poetry

Poetry is the most concise form of writing. The poet has to drive home whatever meaning is intended with a limited number of words. Abstract nouns come in handy every single time. When trying to construct metaphors or strike a simile, abstract nouns leave the reader intrigued and puzzled at just how beautiful words can be.

Let's look at this beautiful line from a poem by E.E. Cummings

"You are whatever a moon has always meant

And whatever a sun will always sing is you"

The poet leaves us wondering if the sun can sing and if the moon has a mind of its own.

Abstract Nouns in Prose

Prose works focus on being self-explanatory. It might be almost impossible to spot abstract nouns due to the beautiful flow in prose but when you pay attention, it's easy. Let's look at the text below.

"I always wondered how poets came up with crazy, far-fetched metaphors. It's like trying to find ice in the sun or making the moon cry."

The last two phrases combine an abstract noun and a concrete noun. The moon, abstract and cry, concrete. In the end, the writer conveys just exactly how they feel about a subject.

Concrete Nouns in Prose and Poetry

Purple prose uses abstract nouns excessively without linking them to anything solid. This might be fine with poetry as the reader is urged to think and interpret things subjectively. Since that luxury of freedom is not permitted in prose, writers have to be more careful.

In general, prose uses more concrete nouns than poetry. It saves the writer and the reader from the confusion and trouble of ambiguity. Abstract nouns are reserved for areas where readers can interpret things the way they wish.

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How To Use Abstract and Concrete Nouns in Writing

When abstract nouns and concrete nouns are used together, it creates striking, clear-cut meaning. Poets and prosaits can employ this technique to add more colour to their writing.

Here are a few examples:

When the World is about to end, the earth will be filled with sad rocks. The mortals will lose balance after gravity vacates the heart for another planet. The earth will be heartbroken, tired to exhaustion, and wreak itself to pieces.

In the above text, you will notice how abstract nouns and concrete nouns are used side by side. In addition, the combination makes it easy to personify objects often deemed inanimate.

Ways Abstract Nouns and Concrete Nouns Should Not be Used

The first and most popular rule is to use both abstract nouns and concrete nouns moderately. This combination creates a wonderful meaning but it should not be used too much. It would end up destroying whatever meaning was created initially.

However, it's great to try out new things. If you intend to use abstract nouns and concrete nouns in almost all your sentences, do this with poetry instead of prose.

In poetry, your readers will be drawn to your use of words, which is a good thing as it helps draw meanings in their minds.

This selection of words in prose might end up obstructing the whole message of the text. When readers read your prose works, they should not be so aware of your choice of words that reading becomes difficult.


Examples of Poems That Use Concrete and Abstract Nouns

Shall I compare thee to a summer's day by William Shakespeare

Birches by Robert Frost

The Pulley by George Herbert

Be mindful of the angel dressed in black by Mansurat Zakari

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

© 2021 Mansurat Zakari

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