English Grammar 101: Nouns

By Daniel Scocco

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A noun is a word used to describe a person, place, thing, event, idea, and so on. Nouns represent one of the main elements of sentences, along with verbs, adjectives, prepositions and articles.

Nouns usually function as subjects or objects within sentences, although they can also act as adjectives and adverbs.

Here is a list with the different types of nouns:

1. Proper nouns

Used to describe a unique person or thing, proper nouns always start with a capital letter. Examples include Mary, India, and Manchester United.

2. Common nouns

Common nouns are used to describe persons or things in general. Examples include girl, country, and team

3. Concrete nouns

Nouns that can be perceived through the five senses are called concrete nouns. Examples include ball, rainbow and melody.

4. Abstract nouns

Nouns that cannot be perceived through the five senses are called abstract nouns. Examples include love, courage, and childhood.

5. Countable nouns

Countable nouns can be counted. They also have both a singular and a plural form. Examples include toys, children and books.

6. Non-countable nouns

These nouns (usually) can not be counted, and they don’t have a plural form. Examples include sympathy, laughter and oxygen.

7. Collective nouns

Collective nouns are used to describe groups of things. Examples include flock, committee and murder.

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11 Responses to “English Grammar 101: Nouns”

  • Maeve

    Although it is sometimes given a plural, the noun “fruit” is more often uncountable:

    I’m going to market to buy fruit. the fruit of this tree is small and purple.

    The poetic expression “fruits of the earth” is the only one I can think of off hand that makes the word plural.

  • Daniel Scocco

    Good point Maeve, I replaced it with a more appropriate example.

  • Eugene

    “A noun is a word used to describe a person, place, thing, event, idea, and so on.”

    The word “describe” makes me think that the definition above is for adjectives, not nouns. Maybe it should be:

    “A noun is a word that names a person, …”

    Also, many of your statements have exceptions. Like “proper nouns always start with a capital letter”. There’s “iPod” and the “metric system” for starters. 🙂

  • bantu

    In the Non-countable nouns, for example, while using oxygen you can say lots of oxygen. So is the verb used with the noun, plural or singular.

  • Cathy Maiden

    Can you please clafify the appropriate usage of affect and effect?

    Thank you.

  • julia hatchard

    Is dog a noun

  • julia hatchard

    is dog a noun or not

  • kedar battewar

    pls give eg with defination

  • Sarah

    All animals are nouns. Horses, dogs, cats, you name it it’s a noun.
    All humans are nouns. You, your friends, your family, you are all nouns.
    All places are nouns. The place you live, your favorite place to go, anywhere, is a noun.
    To sum it up, everything is a noun. If you can see it, it’s a noun.

    Hope that helps you guys! 🙂

  • Alex

    Fruit is a collective noun when referring to a single type of fruit or when referring to fruit in general (i.e. when distinguishing fruit from vegetable, legume, etc.).
    When specifying a mixture of different types of fruit, the plural form may be used.
    e.g. I’m going to the market to buy fruit.
    This could apply or a mixture of different fruits, but I’m not being specific here and am merely making a generalization; so the singular is used.

    The fruits of the earth…
    Here the speaker is specifically calling attention to the fact that there are many different types of fruit. He is not merely referring to fruit in general or distinguishing fruit from vegetable, etc.

    But really, fruits in this case may not actually refer to fruit versus vegetable (although it may, as shown in the above explanation). Here anything produced by the earth is the fruit of the earth. Since there are so many different kinds of things produced by the earth, there are many fruits of the earth. This explanation may also explain why we refer to the fruit/vegetable part of the market as the “produce” section and also why non-plants are also referred to as fruit, as in “be fruitful and multiply” or when an infant is referred to as the “fruit of the [mother’s] womb”.

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