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Kinds of Nouns

Aug 30, 2022
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Read the following sentences: 

  • Lee got hit by a car. 
  • Frank ate all the burgers. 
  • New York is a large city. 

Sentence 1 consists of two nouns. While the noun Lee gives us an idea of a specific person, the noun car does not give away much information such as, if the car is an Audi, Benz, etc.  

Sentence 2 also consists of two nouns. While the first noun Frank is a specific person, the variety of burger that Frank has eaten is not clear. 

Similarly, in sentence 2, the noun New York refers to a particular city, and the noun city when looked in isolation can be taken to be any city.  

This points out to the fact that nouns are not just simply our naming words. These naming words are actually of different types.  

Without further ado, let us have a look at the different kinds of nouns. 

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Common nouns: 

Common nouns are the generic names given to any person, place, or a thing in common. Common here itself means shared by all.  Here, the feeling is that of anything in general. So, when we say a girl, it can be any girl. It can be Mary, it can be Alexa, it can be any other girl. 

More examples:  

  • Country (=any country) 
  • River (=any river) 
  • Book (=any book) 

Proper nouns: 

Proper nouns are the names of some particular person, place, or thing. They have something specific that is being talked about. Here, the feeling is that of something in particular. So, when we say Martha, we refer to a particular girl and no one else.  

More examples:  

  • Russia (=a particular country
  • The Nile (= a particular river
  • Emma (= a particular novel

Collective nouns: 

When nouns form a group of any kind, they are called collective nouns. A collective noun contains a number of persons, animals, or things that are spoken of as a unified whole. So, when we say a crowd, it means that a large number of people come together to form a crowd. 

More examples: 

  • A fleet (= a collection of ships) 
  • An army (= a large number of soldiers) 
  • A herd of cattle 

Abstract nouns: 

Nouns which cannot be seen or touched are abstract nouns. They can only be felt. It is the name usually given to qualities, action, or a state that are abstract in themselves. So, when we say that we love someone, it is the feeling of love that we have for someone. We cannot see or touch it. Similarly, Christmas is characterized by the lighting up of cities and by the decoration of trees. That is when we know it is Christmas time. We do not get to see or touch Christmas as such. 

More examples: 

Hate, happiness, kindness, childhood, slavery, sleep, poverty, etc. 

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