A noun is a word that names a person, place, thing, or idea.
Persons: aunt, doctor, Gregory, Andreea;
Places: kitchen, hotel, Savannah, Everest;
Things: blanket, mirror, lightening, Sattue of Liberty;
Ideas: freedom, intelligence, sincerity, democracy.
Nouns may be classified in several ways:
- Common and Proper nouns [a common noun is a general name for a person, place, thing, or idea; a proper noun is the name of a particular person, place, thing, or idea];
Look at the following examples. As you can see, proper nouns begin with capital letters, and they may consist of more than one word:
Common nouns Proper nouns
mayor Mayor Lopez
game Super Bowl
street Downing Street
river The (River) Thames
- Concrete and Abstract nouns [a concrete noun names an object that can be seen, heard, smelled, touched, or tasted; an abstract noun names something that cannot be perceived through the senses]
Concrete nouns Abstract nouns
- Collective nouns [a collective noun names a group of people or things]
committee, club, team, crowd, class, flock, family
- Compound nouns [a compound noun contains two or more words; it may be written as one word, as two words, or with a hyphen]
sunlamp ice hockey great-aunt
bookcase light bulb runner-up
earthworm Mian Street one-half
The Uses of Nouns
A noun may act as a subject, a direct object, an indirect object, or a predicative nominative.
- Subject: Politicians govern the country. [Politicians is the subject of the verb govern];
- Direct Object: The magician amazed the audience. [Audience receives the action of the verb amazed];
- Indirect object: The teacher showed the student his mistakes. [Student tells to whom the mistakes were shown];
- Predicative Nominative: Lyn is my assistant. [Assistant follows the linking verb is].
Clues to Nouns
Besides meaning, there are three excellent clues to help you to identify nouns:
- signal words [ most nouns make sense when a, an, or the is before them; a signal word may be separated from a noun by a modifier, or adjective]:
a driver, the driver, a slow driver, the young driver;
- sentence patterns;
- word engings.