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Types of Noun

Sep 2, 2022
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Read the following sentences: 

  • The crowd was dying to meet Brad Pitt. 
  • Phoebe wrote a letter. 
  • New York is a large city. 
  • In the sentence, The crowd was dying to meet Brad Pitt, there are two nouns. We know that a crowd is a group that comprises of a lot of people.  
  • This is to say that, the first noun in the sentence doesn’t give us anything about the specific individuals who constitute the crowd. But we have a clear information about the person who they are waiting to meet, Brad  Pitt. The noun, Brad Pitt, gives us the idea of a specific person who is being talked about. 
  • Similarly, the sentence Phoebe wrote a letter also consists of two nouns, Phoebe and letter. While the noun Phoebe refers to a specific person, we don’t know what specific type of letter Phoebe is writing. All we know is that she is writing some letter
  • The same goes for the sentence New York is a large city. The noun New York refers to a particular city. If it stands in isolation, the reader could still comprehend that it is a particular city.  
  • But the other noun in the sentence, city, when looked in isolation, doesn’t give us any specificity. It can be any city. It can be Chicago, Florida, Ohio, etc. 

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

  1. Common nouns 
  2. Proper nouns 
  3. Collective nouns 
  4. Abstract nouns 

Let’s take a look at the different kinds of nouns:

Common Nouns

Common nouns are the generic names given to any person, place, or 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 any 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:  

parallel
  • Canada (=a particular country
  • The Nile (= a particular river
  • Animal Farm (= a particular novel

Collective Nouns 

When nouns form a group of any kind, they are called collective nouns. A collective noun contains several 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 
  • The jury declared the suspect guilty. 

Abstract Nouns 

The nouns which cannot be seen or touched are the 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’s when we know it is Christmas time. We do not get to see or touch Christmas as such. 

More Examples: 

parallel

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

Abstract nouns are formed from: 

1. Adjectives 

Examples: 

  • Kindness from the adjective kind
  • Honesty from the adjective honest
  • Happiness from the adjective happy

2. Verbs

Examples: 

  • Obedience from the verb obey. 
  • Growth from the verb grow. 

3. Common Nouns

Examples: 

  • Childhood from the common noun child. 
  • Slavery from the common noun slave

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