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:

  1. 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
    city                                           London
    mayor                                      Mayor Lopez
    game                                       Super Bowl
    street                                       Downing Street
    river                                         The (River) Thames
  2. 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
    Mary                                         kindness
    thinder                                     skill
    perfume                                  truth
    water                                       generosity
    banana                                    courage
    rocket                                      sorrow
  3. Collective nouns [a collective noun names a group of people or things]
    Collective nouns
    committee, club, team, crowd, class, flock, family
  4. Compound nouns [a compound noun contains two or more words; it may be written as one word, as two words, or with a hyphen]
    Compound nouns
    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:

  1. 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;
  2. sentence patterns;
  3. word engings.


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