There are many types of nouns, each with a different purpose in sentence structure; but, the most everyday of the nouns is the common noun or the more specific proper noun.
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.
A common noun is the more general version of a proper noun which names a specific living or non-living thing, place, or idea. The proper noun would include the names of months, days, organizations, people and their titles, places, books, plays, movies, newspapers, and more.
Examples of proper nouns include:
April, Tuesday, John, Turley’s Restaurant, Yellowstone Park, President Lincoln, Gone With the Wind, and New York Times
Types of Common Nouns
There are five general types of common 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?”
- Uncountable nouns are only used in the singular tense and you can not use “a” or “an” with them. Certain quantifiers can be used such as: 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.
Nouns are basic to sentence structure because they, along with pronouns, provide the subject of the sentence.