The standard definition of a noun is that it names a person, place, or thing. But that is not all. A noun can refer to anything that is living or non-living, animate or inanimate. It can also name a place or an abstract idea. A common noun is your everyday noun, like road, cat, love, mother, or park. They are not capitalized unless they start a sentence or are a part of a name, like Aunt Dorothy or General Lee.
Proper nouns name a specific living or non-living thing, place, or idea. This would be months, days, organizations, people and their titles, places, books, plays, movies, newspapers, and more. Examples include: April, Tuesday, John, Turley’s Restaurant, Yellowstone Park, President Lincoln, Gone With the Wind, and New York Times.
There are five general types of common nouns and proper nouns: countable, noncountable, collective, concrete, and abstract. We will look at each one of these and explain the rules of usage.
Countable nouns can be both singular and plural and are able to be shown with a number, like five cats or a hundred miles. A singular countable noun must be preceded by a determiner. This would be a word that clarifies, like: a, an, the, that, this, one, our, my, or which. Examples include: “The dolphin is gray.”, “My car is red.” and “Which book is yours?”
For plural countable nouns, a determiner is optional and you can not use “a” or “an.” Possession can be shown with: my, yours, our, their, hers, whose, or his. Quantifiers may be used, like: many, some, every, few, each, and much. Lastly, demonstrative words such as: those, these, this, that, and which, may be used. Examples are: “All the roads are paved.”, “There are many fish in the sea.” and “Sixteen people came to the party.”
Uncountable nouns can not appear in either singular or plural form. They are only used in the singular tense and you can not use “a” or “an” with them. Certain quantifiers can be used, like: any, some, or much. Examples include: “coffee, oil, air, happiness, sugar, water, money, and luggage. Sentences that show uncountable nouns are: “There is too much furniture here.” and “I need a lot of love.”
Collective nouns represent a group of things. The singular use of them would refer to one unit or group and the plural would refer to more than one unit. Examples include: family, class, team, department, faculty, jury, school, society, or troupe.
Concrete nouns represent something physical that can be experienced through the senses. They can be common, proper, singular, plural, countable, noncountable, or collective. Examples include: fish, song, house, computers, salt, cheese, Mary Brown, Disneyland, and senate.
Abstract nouns refer to things that are not concrete; they can not be seen, felt, heard, smelled, or tasted. They refer to emotions, ideas, concepts, traits, experiences, or a state of being. Examples are: love, hatred, trust, deceit, culture, curiosity, maturity, sympathy, democracy, patience, and peace.
Since pronouns are substitute words and take the place of nouns, some of the different kinds of pronouns will be explained. Some of the main categories of pronouns are: personal, indefinite, reflexive, intensive, interrogative, and demonstrative.
Personal pronouns refer to people. Personal pronouns are: I, me, you, he, she, it, they, we, them, us, him, and her.
Indefinite pronouns do not specify which noun they are replacing. These include: any, every, little, others, somebody, nothing, more, none, and neither.
Reflexive pronouns are used to emphasize who is performing some action. These are: myself, yourself, himself, herself, itself, ourselves, yourselves, and themselves.
Intensive pronouns emphasize the subject of the sentence and are usually next to the subject. Two sentence examples are: “I myself have two cars.” and “She herself did all of the work.”
Interrogative pronouns are used to ask a question. These are: who, what, which, whom, and whose.
Demonstrative pronouns both identify and specify a noun or pronoun. They are: that, this, these, and those. “These” and “this” are referring to nouns that are close and “those” and “that” point to nouns that are farther away.