Types of Nouns with Examples
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Table of Contents

List of 11 Types of Nouns

These are eleven different types of nouns with examples and essential details with pictures.

  1. Common Noun
  2. Proper Noun
  3. Abstract Noun
  4. Concrete Noun
  5. Collective Noun
  6. Compound Noun
  7. Gender-specific Noun
  8. Gerund
  9. Uncountable Noun
  10. Countable Noun
  11. Verbal Noun

What are Nouns?

A noun is a word that is used for a person place or thing. A person might be a pirate, a boy=a clown=Coco, city=Paris, a café=The Coffee Hut, a mountain=The Mount Everest, an apple=Granny Smith, a bear=Barney or a hurricane=Hurricane Erin, etc.

Examples of Types of Nouns

Common Nouns

These are the words that we use for common or general things like a book, a school, a boy, etc. The words in red here are common nouns. So, you might find them in a dictionary but there’s another category of nouns. Look at this: name of a boy might be Blackbeard and that’s a proper noun.

All the common nouns all start with a lowercase letter. And, common nouns can only take a capital letter when they start a sentence while proper nouns always have a capital letter.

Common vs Proper Nouns
Common vs Proper Nouns

Proper Nouns

It’s the name we give it to make a person, a place, a thing more specific like a personal name or a title. Suppose, the boy is Toby, the clown Coco, that city is Paris, this cafe is the coffee Hut, this mountain is Mount Everest.

This is a Granny Smith apple; the bear is Barney and the hurricane name is Hurricane Erin; the name of a hurricane that recently struck the coast of Ireland.

Note: All of the proper nouns start with a capital letter.

Abstract Nouns

Abstract Nouns
Abstract Nouns

Examples of Abstract Nouns are fear, anger, comfort. And these are things you cannot see or touch or sense with any of your senses. You can’t see them, you can’t hear them, smell them, touch them or taste them.

If you can’t sense them with one of your senses it’s an abstract noun.  Further examples might be bravery; you can’t see bravery/health/freedom, or hear them or smell them or touch them or taste them.

Concrete Nouns

 Abstract vs Concrete Nouns
Abstract vs Concrete Nouns

The nouns that you can see, hear, smell or touch, or taste. For instance, in an igloo, you can see it, you can attend it you can smell it you can touch it you can taste it. Certainly, hammer you can see a hammer and touch it or a lobster again it’s something perceivable by one of your five senses.

Collective Nouns

Collective Nouns
Collective Nouns

Examples of the Collective Nouns are team, police, class, gang or choir, etc. These are groups of things you get groups for people; you get groups for animals and you get groups for things. For people, a gang of thieves, for crows a murder of crows, for ships a fleet of ships. So, they are collective nouns.

They can be singular or plural like: “The gang of thieves was moving across the hills.” this is correct, but look at this: “The gang of thieves was wearing different masks.” When the focus is on the individuals within the group it is possible to treat collective nouns as plural.

Compound Nouns

Compound Nouns
Compound Nouns

Examples are mother-in-law, textbook, snowman, classroom. These are nouns consisting of two or more words; just take the word sea. Let’s add it to food and that gives us seafood.  Sometimes, we can write them with spaces as well as without spaces or with hyphens.

The ones with spaces, we call them open compound nouns and the ones without spaces are closed compound nouns, and the hyphenated ones are called hyphenated compounds.

Gender-specific Types of Nouns

Gender-Specific Nouns
Gender-Specific Nouns

Examples are gents/ladies, boy/girl, waiter/waitress. These are nouns that are specifically male or female. So, let’s look at some masculine ones some male ones. A rooster, it’s always a he, a man, always a he, a bull, an elephant, always he. Let’s look at some feminine ones: a hen, a woman, a tigress.

For comparison, let’s look at some non-gender-specific. These are neutral. So, we have a chicken, you can’t tell if it’s male or female, a doctor, the same hippopotamus.

Gerunds Types of Nouns

Gerunds
Gerunds

Examples of gerunds are the words like singing, talking, painting, eating, smoking, thinking, etc. A gerund is a noun form from a verb and always ends in ‘ing’.

Let’s look at some of the properties of a gerund. So, unlike a normal noun, the gerund can be modified by an adverb and take an object. Look at this little phrase: “Carefully painting the fence”, ‘painting’ is our gerund. But it has been modified by an adverb and it has taken a direct object; painting what? ‘Painting the fence’ makes it a direct object.  So, gerunds retain some of their verb-like properties but they are nouns.

Uncountable Nouns

Examples are milk, water, flour, etc. Generally, these are nouns that don’t have a plural form and we cannot count them.

Countable vs Uncountable Nouns
Countable vs Uncountable Nouns

Countable Noun

It’s the opposite of an uncountable noun. Nouns that do have a plural form like lemon/lemons, book/books, orange/oranges, etc.

Verbals Types of Nouns

Examples are development, drawing, attack. These are non-gerund nouns formed from a verb. So, a verbal noun is a noun that comes out of a verb that has no verb-like properties. For example, ‘arrival’ from the verb ‘to arrive’, ‘decision’ from ‘to decide’, ‘repetition’ from ‘to repeat’, ‘building’ from ‘to build’.

A verbal noun can be pluralized. It can be modified by an adjective and followed by a prepositional phrase. Look at this little phrase: ‘two sensible decisions on the future. A verbal noun is ‘decision’ and it’s plural of into two decisions.

But you can’t pluralize a gerund. It is modified by an adjective; ‘sensible’ you can’t modify a gerund with an adjective and it has been followed by a prepositional phrase: ‘on the future. You can’t do that with a gerund. So, let’s put up a verbal noun and a gerund with similar examples.

Examples of Verbal and Gerund

Verbals
Verbals
  • A brilliant reading of the poem won the competition.
  • The word ‘reading.’ is our verbal noun. Let’s put up a similar version with a gerund.
  • Brilliantly reading the poem won the competition.
  • This is our gerund, now look at the verbal noun. A determiner and an adjective modify it.
  • It’s used in the sense that determines whether it’s a verbal noun or a gerund.

Recap of 11 Types of Nouns

Common Nouns-having no specific names e.g. a boy.
Proper Nouns-having specific names e.g. John.
Abstract Nouns-cannot be sensed e.g. honesty.
Concrete Nouns– can be sensed e.g. a box.
Collective Nouns-represents the whole group or class as one e.g. team.
Compound Nounsjoined by two words e.g. classroom.
Gender-specific Nouns– regarded either as males or females e.g. bull/cow.
Gerunds-a verb with ‘ing’ form behaves as a noun e.g. painting.
Uncountable Nouns– they cannot be counted in numbers e.g. milk.
Countable Nouns-they can be counted in numbers e.g. books.
Verbal Nouns-formed out of verbs e.g. development from the verb=to develop.

By ES

English Language Teaching Professional

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