In Grammar, the word 'noun' is a term that most people are familiar with from their early school days. Nouns represent one of the most fundamental entities of English language grammar and are crucial in forming the assertion part of a sentence. Their function varies from acting as the subject of a sentence to the object of verbs or prepositions. In this tutorial, we will focus on different types of nouns: common and proper, count and mass, collective, abstract, concrete, compound and possessive.
Common and Proper Nouns
A common noun is a non-specific term for any person, place, or thing in a group. These nouns are often not capitalized unless they begin a sentence or are part of a title. They can be singular (cat, city, toy) or plural (cats, cities, toys).
Proper nouns are the antithesis of common nouns. These types of nouns are used to identify unique individuals, places, or things. They always start with a capital letter.
Emma (a unique individual)
London (a unique place)
Nike (a unique thing – a specific brand)
Count and Mass Nouns
Count nouns are things that can be counted and made into plurals. Often, 'a', 'an', or 'one' can be used before a count noun.
apple (one apple, two apples, etc.)
box (one box, two boxes, etc.)
table (one table, two tables, etc.)
Mass nouns, also known as non-count nouns, are substances, concepts etc that we cannot divide into separate elements. They cannot be counted and do not typically have plural forms.
sugar (not sugars)
rice (not rices)
information (not informations)
Collective nouns refer to a group or collection of similar individuals or things treated as one entity. Singular verbs and pronouns usually follow these nouns, although plural verbs and pronouns can be used if the individuals within the collective are acting independently.
team (implying multiple players as one unit)
flock (implying multiple birds as one unit)
family (implying multiple family members as one unit)
Abstract and Concrete Nouns
An abstract noun is a type of noun that refers to something with which a person cannot physically interact. It represents an idea, quality, or state rather than a concrete object.
Concrete nouns are tangible and you can use your five senses to identify them—they can be touched, seen, heard, smelled, or tasted.
cat (can be seen, touched, heard)
sandwich (can be seen, touched, tasted, smelled)
music (can be heard)
Compound nouns are made when two or more words are joined together to create a new word that has an entirely new meaning. They can be written as single words, separated words, or hyphenated words.
toothpaste (single word)
post office (separated words)
well-being (hyphenated word)
Possessive nouns show ownership or possession towards something. They are usually formed by adding an apostrophe(') and s at the end of the word. But for plural nouns ending with 's', you only add an apostrophe after the 's'.
the girl’s book
the teachers’ lounge
Understanding the different types of nouns is crucial for mastering English grammar. By being able to identify the type of noun in a sentence, we can accurately structure our sentences and effectively express our thoughts and ideas.