Muhammad Rafiq is a freelance writer, blogger, and translator with a master's degree in English literature from the University of Malakand.
What is Noun?
Before we define the word noun, let me explain the etymology of the word noun. The word noun derives from the Latin word nomen, which means ‘name’. It shows that it is the name of something. Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary defines the term noun as “a word used to name or identify any of a class of things, people, places or ideas, or a particular one of these.”
The above-mentioned definition shows that noun is the name of a person, place or thing. It is worth noting that the word ‘thing’ here means ‘anything that we see around ourselves or that we can think of’. It encompasses all of the ideas that we can think of or talk about. There is nothing in this world that has no name. Everything has got its name and that name is known as ‘noun’ in English grammar.
Here are some of the examples of nouns.
- I bought a camera for him.
- They saw a beautiful monkey in the zoo.
- You can ride on the back of a camel.
- The water in the river is very cold.
- Can you help him write a book?
- She is flying a kite.
- They are playing hockey.
- There are clouds in the sky.
Types of Nouns
There are many kinds of nouns, some of which are discussed below:
Those nouns which are the names of specific persons, places or things are called proper nouns. A proper noun always begins with a capital letter. For example, London beings with a capital letter. Look at the following sentences, wherein the highlighted words are all proper nouns:
- Jack will visit London tomorrow.
- Islamabad is the capital of Pakistan.
- He was watching a comedy show on HBO.
- K-2 is the second tallest mountain in the world.
- She likes to read the Holy Quran.
You might have observed in the above-mentioned sentences that the proper nouns are unique in nature. They possess a specific quality, which differentiates them from the rest of things. That's why; they are called proper nouns. Moreover, the first letter of each noun begins with a capital letter.
Common nouns refer to those nouns which are common in nature. The word common here means something shared by all. Unlike proper nouns, common nouns are not associated with particular things. Rather, they refer to things, which are having common quality i.e., they are not specific to only one thing unlike proper nouns, which are specific to only one thing. Look at the following sentences, wherein the highlighted words are common nouns:
- There are thirty girls in this classroom.
- Which mountain is the tallest in the world?
- The parrot is talking to children.
- I bought a new car.
- The goats are grazing in the fields.
A collective noun is the name of collection of items taken together as a whole or regarded as one thing. For example, the words crowd, police, herd, army, class, fleet, jury in the following sentences are all collective nouns:
- The crowd is going out of control.
- He is a Lieutenant in Army.
- A fleet of ships is coming towards us.
- The police dispersed the crowd.
- The jury decided in his favour.
An abstract noun is the name of an action, quality or state. It is a kind of noun that is used for things having no physical shape. We can't feel abstract nouns with our five senses. Look at the following sentences, wherein the highlighted words are abstract nouns:
- It was John's kindness that he lent us money.
- Honesty is the best policy.
- I have no hatred for him.
- Death keeps no calendar.
The word kindness is an example of abstract noun. You can see John, but can't see his kindness as it is having no physical shape. You can't see it, touch it, smell it or listen to it. That's why; it is an abstract noun. Similarly, the word death is an abstract noun as it has no physical shape.
Concrete nouns are also called material nouns. Unlike abstract nouns, concrete nouns are the kinds of nouns, which have got physical shapes. You can touch them, feel them, see them and taste them with your five senses. That's why; they are called material nouns. For example, mango is a concrete noun as you can see it, touch it and taste it. Similarly, the words chair, table, car, airline, apples, mountain, cow, water etc. are all concrete nouns.
Countable noun is a kind of noun, which can be counted. All those objects which we can count are called countable nouns. For example, book, apple, car, airline, horse, laptop, chair, table etc. are all countable nouns as they can be counted i.e., they have plural forms. Book is a singular noun while books is a plural noun. That's why; such like nouns are termed as countable nouns. Another important feature of countable nouns is that articles are used with their singular forms. For example:
- He is writing a book.
- She is reading an article.
- They are searching the driver, who violated the traffic rules.
- An apple a day, keeps the doctor away.
- Get me a cup of tea.
Uncountable noun is the opposite of countable noun. It is a kind of noun which can't be counted. Uncountable nouns have no plural form. For example, we can say milk, but we can't say milks. The words, sugar, milk, kindness, honesty, oil, bravery, gold, blood, biology, attention etc. are all uncountable nouns.
For each question, choose the best answer. The answer key is below.
- ____________ is a proper noun.
- BMW Car
- _____________ is a common noun.
- Mount Everest
- _____________ is a proper noun.
- ______________ is a collective noun.
- _____________ is a collective noun.
- ______________ is an abstract noun.
- _____________is an abstract noun.
- ___________is a concrete noun.
- __________is a countable noun.
- _____________is uncountable noun.
- BMW Car
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2015 Muhammad Rafiq