Types of Nouns:

Basically, there are five types of nouns in English grammar:

Proper Noun, Common Noun, Collective Noun, Material Noun and Abstract Noun.

Except for these, there are two more types of nouns that we should know. These are – Concrete Noun and Compound Noun.

If you want to use nouns in a grammatically correct manner, then you should have knowledge of types of nouns. We should also have a good understanding of their singular and plural form, gender, and cases.

Proper Noun:

Proper nouns are names of unique things, places, or persons. This means that they indicate towards something or someone specific or particular, which is one of its kind.

 Proper nouns always begin with a capital letter irrespective of their position in a sentence. Also, they are usually preceded by the article ‘the’.

Examples:

  • Person: Ram, Michel, Gandhi, Lata, Lilly.
  • Place: Asia, Paris, Delhi, Mars, North Pole, Amazon forest.
  • Animal: African lion, Rossy the cat, Jacky the dog.
  • Thing: Parker pen, Natraj pencil, Samsung T.V., Usha fan.

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Common Noun:

Common nouns are general names given to every noun (person, place and thing) of a given class or kind. Unlike proper nouns, common nouns put someone or something in a group.

They do not give any definite information and do not point to a unique object.

Examples:

  • Person: Lawyer, Doctor, Teacher, Jeweler, Baby, Uncle.
  • Place: City, Mountain, Lake, Ocean, Planet, Hospital, Post office.
  • Animal: Elephant, Cat, Monkey, Snake, Tiger.
  • Thing: Bulb, Book, Curtain, Chocolate, Flower.

Proper Noun acting as Common Noun:

Sometimes, in certain sentences a Proper Noun can act as Common Noun. This happens when a proper noun is used as  a reference. Likewise, certain common nouns can become proper nouns under specific circumstances.

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Collective Noun:

Collective noun is the name of a group or collection of nouns (person, place, animal, or thing) taken together and spoken of as one whole. Whenever we hear a collective noun, an image of a group is formed in our head.

Examples:

  • Person: army of soldiers, jury of judges, staff of employees, family.
  • Place: Galaxy of planets, Range of mountains, Block of flats.
  • Animal: Flock of sheep, Pride of lions, Pack of wolves, Shoal of fishes.
  • Thing: Flight of stairs, Bunch of grapes, Deck of cards, Bunch of keys.

Collective nouns are Singular or Plural?

The council has made its mind.

or

The council have made their mind.

Deciding weather a collective noun is singular or plural is a bit difficult. For this, we should have knowledge of subject-verb agreement of collective nouns.

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Abstract Noun:

The word abstract means intangible. That is something that has no physical form or that cannot be touched. So abstract nouns are those which exist in our thoughts or are beyond our five senses. They are always considered as singular.

Examples:

Love Intelligence Knowledge Beauty
Hate
Modesty

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Material Noun:

Material nouns are names of materials or substances which are used as raw materials for other things. Like, milk, gold, oil, water, wool, cotton, plastic, etc.

These are tangible goods. This means you can see and touch them. They have a physical form. And material nouns are always uncountable. This means they are not counted rather, weighed, or measured.

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Concrete Noun:

The word concrete means something that is solid or has physical form. So, anything that has a physical form or can be sensed with our five senses is said to be as a concrete noun.

When you hear words like Mahatma Gandhi, Star, Coffee, Table, Class, Army, Chocolate or Plumber, a certain image comes to our head. A physical shape. These are concrete nouns

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Compound Noun:

Nouns that are made of two or more words are known as compound nouns. Compound nouns are made of a combination of nouns, adjectives, verbs, or prepositions with another noun.

Examples:

Basketball, Father-in-law, Spiderman, Flower pot, Blackboard, Outline, etc.

To form plural of compound nouns suffix -s is added to the root word. For example: Fathers-in-law, Basketballs, Flower pots, Disk drives, etc.

Learn more about Compound Nouns (their formation, Singular and Plural form, Possessive case of Compound Nouns).

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Countable and Uncountable Noun:

Nouns that exist in units are called countable nouns. These are those nouns that we can count. These exist in definite and distinct form. Like, tree, car, teacher, men, girl, book, etc.

Nouns that we cannot count are called uncountable. Uncountable nouns are either weighed or measured or noun.Like, water, milk, sand, oil, cloth, gold, silver, sugar, rice, etc.

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