In the Basic English grammar course, nouns refer to persons, animals, places, things, ideas, or events, etc. Nouns include most of the words of a language.
Noun can be a/an – Person – a name for a person: – John, Ayesha, Ahmed, Arjuna, Khizar, etc. or Animal – a name for an animal: – dog, cat, cow, camel, etc.
Place – a name for a place: – London, Australia, Mumbai, Karachi, etc. Thing – a name for a thing: – bat, ball, chair, door, house, computer, etc. o Idea – A name for an idea: – devotion, superstition, happiness, excitement, etc.
Different types of noun in English Grammar
1. Proper Noun 2. Common Noun 3.Abstract Noun
4. Concrete Noun 5. Countable Noun 6.Uncountable Noun
7. Collective Noun 8. Compound Noun 9.Material Noun
10. Possessive Noun 11. Singular Noun 12.Plural Noun
13. Adjectival Noun 14. Adverbial Noun 15.Animate Noun
16. Inanimate Noun 17. Masculine Noun 18.Feminine Noun
19. Neutral Noun
19 types of noun
In English grammar, a proper noun is a name which refers only to a single person, place, or thing and there is no common name for it. In written English, a proper noun always begins with capital letters.
- Lahore (it refers to only one particular city), Ajmal Dass(refers to a particular person)
- Jamil, SE College, Fort Munro, Multan, Sheikh Zayed Hospital, Nathia Gali, Murree, Faisal Mosque, Minar-e-Pakistan, Hafeez Center, Jodh Pur, London etc.
In English grammar, a common noun is a name for something which is common for many things, persons, or places. It represents a particular type of thing, person, or place.
Country (it can refer to any country, nothing in particular), city (it can refer to any city like Lahore, Jai Pur, Rahim Yar Khan, etc. but nothing in particular). So, a common noun is a word that indicates a person, place, thing, etc. in general and a proper noun is a specific one of those. For example: boy, chair, dog, tree, animal, bird, school, university, shoes, bus, train, room, gate etc.
An abstract noun is a word for something that cannot be seen but is there. It has no physical existence. Generally, it refers to ideas, qualities, and conditions. Example: Truth, lies, happiness, sorrow, time, friendship, humor, patriotism, love, hate, pain, thought, intelligence etc.
A concrete noun is the exact opposite of abstract noun. It refers to the things we see and have physical existence. In English Grammar course, concrete nouns have specific value.
Example: Chair, table, bat, ball, water, money, sugar, book, air (mixture of gases which can be seen with microscope), dais, duster, whiteboard, pencil, machine, computer etc.
The nouns that can be counted and are generally counted in daily life are called countable nouns. Countable nouns can take an article: a, an, the.
Example: Chair, table, bat, ball, book, pen, shop, tree, tab, phone, watch, cup, bottle, knife etc.
The nouns that cannot be counted are called non-countable nouns. These nouns are not either counted easily or we don’t count them directly in a routine except by the use of some scale or unit of measurement.
Example: Water, sugar, oil, salt, truth, lies, happiness, sorrow, time, friendship, humor, patriotism, love, hate, pain, thought, intelligence, hair, star, gold, iron, milk, work, furniture, wood etc. (you cannot say “1 water, 2 water, 3 water” because water is not countable)
Abstract nouns and proper nouns are always non-countable nouns, but common nouns and concrete nouns can be both countable and non-countable nouns. Understanding these points will help in strengthening your knowledge of English Grammar.
Collective Noun in English grammar
A collective noun is a word for a group of things, people, or animals, etc. Different entities get to gather in the form of group. This group is given a name which becomes representative of all entities. Under this formed group all entities lose their individuality. The name of this group becomes collective noun having a specific place in the English grammar.
Collective nouns can be both plural and singular. However, Americans prefer to use collective nouns as singular, but both of the uses are correct in other parts of the world.
Example: family, team, jury, cattle, army, police, class etc.
In English grammar, sometimes, two or three nouns appear together, or even with other parts of speech, and create idiomatic compound nouns. Idiomatic means that those nouns behave as a unit. Similarly different parts of speech get together to form a noun. This noun is named as a compound noun enjoying a unique place in English grammar.
Example: six-pack, five-year-old, and son-in-law, snowball, mailbox, football, cricketer-turned-politician, England-born-Pakistani, Facebook, angry-young man, easy-to-fight man, brother-cum-friend etc.
It refers to a material or substance from which things are made such as silver, gold, iron, cotton, diamond and plastic. It refers to things or elements from which stuffs are prepared. These nouns are always uncountable.
It demonstrates possession or ownership over something else. We can easily spot possessive noun because they always have apostrophe at the end. A dog’s house, a guard’s jacket, a day’s pay, book’s pages are examples of possessive noun.
- Freddy’s motorbike was stolen from the bazar.
- Ali’s car is very expensive.
- I have brought Captain’s book for exams preparation.
Singular noun refers to single entity. Singular noun indicates that there is only one person, one thing, one place or one idea. For example cat, dog, book, room, bottle etc
- The boy had a baseball in his hand.
- A Kashmiri threw a stone on a soldier.
- A cat is a pet animal.
- The lion hurt his tail.
These are the words which demonstrate that there is more than one person, animal, place, thing or idea.
Sometimes we put ‘S’ at the end of singular noun thus it is converted into plural noun. For example
Boys, teachers, doors, ideas, cats, dogs, books, rooms, bottles, principles, applications, computers, etc
Some other techniques are also used to change single form into plural but those techniques are not being discussed here. Students should search themselves for more techniques to get more clarity about formation of plural noun.
These are the nouns that function as adjective. A noun modifies other noun and plays the role of an adjective. Nouns that are used sometimes as adjective and sometimes as noun are called adjectival nouns. These have a significant place in English grammar.
- The young boys played outside all day. (here the word ‘young’ is used as an adjective)
- The young are more active in summer. (the word ‘young’ is being used as a noun)
- Red is my favorite color (red rose).
- Cowards are not welcomed anywhere (coward man).
- Clothes got expensive this year (clothes shop).
- Cigarette is injurious to health (cigarette packet).
- We should take bath daily (bathroom).
- I did not buy new shoes (shoes shop).
- Arms are necessary to fight a war (arms store).
Nouns which are sometimes used as adverbs are called adverbial nouns. These nouns usually serve a modifier of verb or adjectives to give them more clarity. Measurement, distance or direction etc. is referred by adverbial nouns.
The important this is that answers of these questions are given with nouns. For example:
- Rama drove east (which way?)
- Eliza walked south for two hours (which way? and how long?)
- The candy bar is only worth a dollar (how much?).
- Azuba Afzal wrote for six years.
- The train leaves today.
- He contracted a building within two months.
Like adjectival nouns, adverbial nouns are adverbs that function as nouns depending on how they are used in the sentence. These types of nouns are usually used as modifiers to provide more details to the verb or adjective to give it more value. Often adverbial nouns refer to some kind of measurement such as distance or direction.
They answer question such as “how far”, “how long” or “which way”. For example
- Shahid drove east. (Shahid drove which way?)
- Zarina walked south for an hour. (she walked which way? And she walked how long?)
- The candy bar is only worth a dollar (how much is the candy bar?)
- “I am leaving tomorrow.”
- “We walked an hour out of town.”
- “I’ll see you next year.”
- “The fabulous swimming pool stretches the whole length of the resort.”
- “I can barely see a foot in front of me in this fog.”
- “This block of cheese weighs a ton!”
- “Their latest shipment weighs a truckload.”
- “She is 35 years old.” (In this case, the adverbial noun phrase modifies the adjective old.)
- “This wine has been aged 25 years.”
- “This coat is only worth a dollar.”
- “I think Mary is due an apology.”
In English grammar, a noun which refers to people, animals and living beings is an animate noun. When one declares that a noun is a person, place, or thing, one is being unfair to animals. After all, animals are animate, just like humans, whereas places and things are inanimate.
On that note, we arrive at the concept of animate nouns. An animate noun refers to a thing that is alive and sentient. For example, the noun “human” would be an animate noun, since people are clearly alive.
- Boy, cat, fish, snack, sparrow, parrot, fly, mosquitos, elephant, man, deer, monkey, hare, frog etc.
An inanimate noun refers to things that are not alive. The inanimate noun basically refers to any noun that is not alive or perceptive. In English grammar, an inanimate noun is generally referred to with the pronoun “it”, as opposed to the pronouns “he” or “she”.
- Pen, book, table, chair, phone, eraser, clean, scissors, needle, tree, fan, draws, flower, board, chart, diary.
Masculine nouns are words for men and boys and male animals. Masculine nouns belong to the masculine gender.
Actor, boy, brother, emperor, father, gentleman, grandfather, grandson, headmaster, husband, lion, man, dog, tiger, bull, ox etc.
Feminine nouns are words for women and girls and female animals. Feminine nouns belong to the feminine gender.
Actress, girl, sister, empress, mother, lady, grandmother, granddaughter, headmistress, wife, lioness, woman, cow, buffalo, deer, bitch, tigress, etc. are the examples of feminine noun.
Most English nouns do not have grammatical gender. Neutral noun does not refer to any masculine or feminine noun. This is considered genderless noun. Nowadays people usually prefer more neutral forms in official correspondence. In English grammar, neutral nouns have a specific place.
Friend, head, student, politician, servant, clerk, neighbor, doctor, professor, lecturer, chair, chairperson, teacher, police officer etc. are examples of neutral noun occupying a specific place in English grammar.
Functions of Nouns in English grammar
Nouns can be used as a subject, a direct object, and an indirect object of a verb; as an object of a preposition; and as an adverb or adjective in sentences. Nouns can also show possession.
Subject: The company is doing great. Roses are the flowers of love.
Direct object: I finally bought a new mobile.
Indirect object: Asad gave Sarfraz another chocolate.
Object of preposition: Roses are the flowers of love.
Adverb: The train leaves today.
Adjective: The office building faces the mall.
Possession: The lion’s cage is dangerous. My brother’s daughter is adorable.