Concrete nouns are simply those nouns that can be experienced physically rather than abstractly. As we're usually taught that nouns are people, places, and things, most nouns are concrete nouns. Take a look around you and you'll see many examples of concrete nouns.
If a noun is not concrete then it's an abstract noun. The two often work hand in hand, with concrete nouns supporting abstract nouns. For example, "happiness" is an abstract noun that can't be seen, but the "smile" that expresses the feeling can be seen, so it is concrete.
Before we look at some examples of concrete nouns, let's review some of the different types of nouns.
First, nouns can be divided into common and proper nouns:
Nouns can also be divided into countable and uncountable nouns:
Collective nouns are used for a group of objects that are a collection or unit. Because there can be more than one unit, they may appear as singular or plural. For example: one family, two families.
You can tell if something is a concrete noun because you experience it through one of your five senses: sight, smell, hearing, taste, and touch. If you cannot see, hear, taste, touch, or smell the person or thing, it is not a concrete noun.
Concrete nouns are found in all categories of noun described above:
To better understand concrete nouns, take a look at the examples below. We've broken them down by the sense you use to experience each noun:
Abstract nouns are the opposite of concrete nouns. These are nouns that name things you cannot see, smell, taste, hear or touch. They refer to emotions, ideas, concepts, beliefs, or your state of being. Examples of abstract nouns include:
To decide whether a noun is concrete or abstract, ask yourself if you can see, hear, taste, smell or touch it. If so, it is concrete. If not, it is abstract. Concrete and abstract nouns are both "real," but one is a physical presence and the other is not.
Concrete nouns represent things that can be experienced through the five senses. Abstract nouns refer to ideas and concepts that cannot be sensed on a physical level. Understanding the difference between them will help you describe and explain them appropriately in your writing.
Test your noun knowledge in the quiz below.
One way to make sure you understand the difference between types of nouns is to test your knowledge. Try our quick quiz below, or download the worksheet, to see if you understand concrete nouns or need a bit more practice:
Directions: Underline the collective nouns in the following paragraph. Hint: There are six.
My family went to the zoo on Monday. We saw a mob of people waiting to see a pride of lions. At noon, a marching band appeared on Main Street. Lunch was unpleasant because there was a swarm of flying insects around us. After that, we saw a tribe of baboons and some crazy monkeys.
Directions: Decide whether the underlined noun in the sentences is countable or uncountable. Put a "C" for countable and a "U" for uncountable.
Directions: Put a "C" for concrete and an "A" for abstract next to the noun.
1. _____ cobbler
2. _____ sadness
3. _____ liberty
4. _____ butter
5. _____ intelligence
Part A. Collective Nouns:
My family went to the zoo on Monday. We saw a mob of people waiting to see a pride of lions. At noon, a marching band led a parade on the main street. Lunch was unpleasant because there was a swarm of flying insects around us. After that, we saw a tribe of baboons and some crazy monkeys.
Part B. Countable and Uncountable Nouns:
Part C. Concrete and Abstract Nouns: