A noun is usually defined as being a word that names a person, place, thing, or idea. Nouns can either be common or proper nouns.
A common noun is a generic name given to a person, place, thing or, idea. For example, lake, street, dog, and cat are all common nouns. Common nouns are not capitalized unless they begin a sentence. They can be broken into three categories: concrete, abstract, and collective.
- Concrete nouns are nouns that are physical or tangible objects. You can touch and feel concrete nouns. Examples of concrete nouns would be dog, cat, metal, and cheese.
- Abstract nouns are nouns that are not physical or intangible objects. You cannot touch or feel abstract nouns. Examples of abstracts nouns would be justice, hope, joy, and love.
- Collective nouns are, in fact, concrete nouns but are sometimes categorized by themselves. Collective nouns refer to a group or collection of people or things. Examples of collective nouns are a jury, a team, a committee, and a herd of buffalo.
A proper noun is a specific name given to a person, place, thing, or idea. It is its official name. For example, Lake Michigan, 28th Street, John Smith, and Jane Doe are all proper nouns. Proper nouns are always capitalized, regardless of how they are used.
Nouns can be further classified into count nouns and mass nouns.
Count nouns refer to nouns that can be enumerated or counted. Examples of count nouns would be four books, seven continents, two hands, and two feet.
Mass nouns refer to nouns that can cannot be enumerated or counted. They are sometimes called “noncount” nouns. Mass nouns are uncountable either because they are abstract things such as courage or bravery or because they are a part of an indeterminate aggregation of people or things such as the public or a crowd of people. These latter examples would also be classified as collective nouns.
So, as you can see, nouns are very wide-reaching things, but they can be easily broken down into a few smaller groups.
- Common nouns are generic names given to persons, places, things, or ideas.
- Proper nouns are specific names given to persons, places, things, or ideas.
- Count nouns are nouns that can be enumerated or counted.
- Mass nouns are nouns that cannot be enumerated or counted.