Nouns, also called naming words, would probably be the very first part of speech you would have learnt in your English grammar classes. Anything we can touch, see, smell, taste, hear and hold can be referred to as nouns.
Here is what we will be covering in this article about nouns:
- What Is a Noun?
- Examples of Nouns
- Types of Nouns
- Nouns Used as Different Components of a Sentence
- Multifunctional Nouns
- Frequently Asked Questions on Nouns
What Is a Noun?
Nouns are a part of speech that comprise words that are used to name people, places, animals, objects and ideas. Almost every sentence will definitely have a noun, and they perform different roles in a sentence. Nouns can act as the subject, an indirect object, a direct object, a subject complement and an object complement. Nouns can also function as adjectives and verbs.
Examples of Nouns:
- People – Rahul, Sheela, Man, Person, Tommy, Women, Girl, The Prime Minister
- Places – Bangalore, India, Mexico, North Pole, South Africa, The Nile River, Classroom, Bedroom, Basketball Court, Cricket Ground, Swimming Pool
- Animals/Birds/Aquatic Animals/Reptiles – Lion, Zebra, Snake, Ostrich, Flamingo, Bear, Cat, Fish, Shark
- Ideas – Evolution, Invention, Extinction, Argument, Destruction
- Objects/Things – Bat, Cycle, Curtains, Paper, Bag, Blackboard, Cupboard
Types of Nouns
Nouns can be broadly classified into:
1. Proper Nouns: Nouns that are used to name a person, place or thing specifically are called a proper noun. Proper nouns always begin with a capital letter.
- My name is Rose. (Name of a particular person)
- This is my dog, Bruno. (Name of a specific pet animal owned by someone)
- David came back from Minsk. (Name of a specific place)
- Louis Philippe is a famous brand of men’s clothing. (Name of a particular clothing brand)
2. Common nouns: Common nouns are those nouns that refer to a generic item, group or place. This means that, unlike proper nouns, they are not used to identify specific people, places or objects. Common nouns are not capitalised unless they appear at the beginning of a sentence.
- I bought a pen yesterday. (Common object)
- I am going to school. (Common place)
- Only ten employees showed up to work today. (Common group)
- The car is out of fuel. (Common items)
3. Singular nouns: These are words that are used to name a single person, place, animal, bird or object.
- There is a little boy in front of our house. (Single person)
- That is my daughter. (Single person)
- I found a wounded sparrow in the bush. (Single bird)
- A red van has been following us for a long time. (Single object)
4. Plural nouns: Plural nouns refer to a number of people, places, animals or things. Nouns are made plural by adding an ‘s’ or ‘es’ or ‘ies’ or ‘ves’ to the existing root word. Nouns that end with an ‘s’ remain the same. Some nouns remain the same in both their singular and plural forms, and some others have totally different spelling.
- I need some apples.
- Did you find the boxes you were looking for?
- I bought mangoes from the market.
- We took photos of some deer on our way.
5. Countable nouns are those nouns that can be counted or measured.
- Tom brought ten packets of lays for the trip. (specific number – ten)
- Mom asked me to buy a dozen eggs. (specific – dozen means twelve)
- I saw an aeroplane around seven in the morning. (specific – an means one)
6. Uncountable nouns are those nouns that cannot be counted. This category of nouns includes both concrete and abstract nouns.
- I have a lot of homework to do. (Not specific)
- I have a cup of tea. (Cannot count)
- We are facing terrible weather today. (Cannot count)
- Collective nouns for groups of animals
- A pride of lions
- A flock of sheep
- A swarm of bees
- A herd of elephants
- Collective nouns for groups of people
- A band of musicians
- A board of directors
- A crew of sailors
- A company of actors
- Collective nouns for a number of things/objects
- A pair of shoes
- A chain of mountains
- A fleet of ships
- A bunch of grapes
- Collective nouns for groups of animals
8. Concrete Nouns: A concrete noun refers to objects that are material and can be perceived by the human senses.
- The book is on the table.
- I had a cup of coffee.
- Sharon opened the windows.
- Hardy goes to school by bus.
9. Abstract Nouns: Any entity that cannot be perceived by the five senses of the human body are called an abstract noun.
- Love is a strong emotion.
- Honesty is the best policy.
- It takes a lot of courage to raise your voice and stand up against injustice.
- You should not misuse the freedom you are given.
Nouns Used as Different Components of a Sentence
Nouns Used as a Subject
When used as a subject, noun mostly appears at the beginning of a sentence. It can be identified by asking the question ‘who’.
- Bruno went to the playground.
- The teacher asked the students to submit their assignments.
- The elephant was rescued safely after ten long hours.
Nouns Used as an Object
When nouns are used as objects, they appear in the latter part of a sentence. It can be identified by asking the question ‘what’.
- I bought a pen.
- Where is your book?
- I cannot find today’s newspaper.
Nouns can be used as a direct object and an indirect object.
Nouns Used as a Direct Object
You can identify a noun used as a direct object by asking the question ‘what’.
- Do you want a lollipop? (What do you want? – a lollipop)
- I loved my dress. (What did you love? – my dress)
Nouns Used as an Indirect Object
You can ask the question ‘for whom’ to identify a noun used as an indirect object.
- Dan bought his sister a Mini Cooper. (For whom did Dan buy a Mini Cooper? – his sister)
- Megha baked Julie a cake. (For whom did Megha bake a cake? – Julie)
Nouns Used as a Complement
When a noun is used to modify or describe another noun, it acts as a complement.
Nouns Used as a Subject Complement
Professions and positions can perform the role of a subject complement.
- My brother is an engineer.
- Jawaharlal Nehru was the first Prime Minister of India.
Nouns Used as an Object Complement
Object complements are nouns that follow the noun they modify. Names, professions and positions can perform the role of an object complement.
- We named our dog, Shadow.
- The teacher made Tabitha, the class leader.
Nouns Used as Verbs
There are some nouns which can also be used as a verb. Some nouns can be used as verbs with a slight change in the spelling of the original word.
- His divorce is final. (Used as a noun)
I am divorced. (Used as a verb)
- Do you like my new dress? (Used as a noun)
I am dressed and ready to go. (Used as a verb)
- Derrick had come to collect some ice. (Used as a noun)
My mother iced the fish so that it did not stink. (Used as a verb)
- I have dance practice today. (Used as a noun)
Did you practise the song? (Used as an adjective)
Nouns Used as Adjectives
With a slight change in the spelling or adding a suffix to the root word, nouns can sometimes be used as adjectives.
- I have no money. (Used as a noun)
There has been a change in the monetary policy of the country. (Used as an adjective)
- Javed sensed some danger. (Used as a noun)
What you are trying to do is dangerous. (Used as an adjective)
- She is excited about magic. (Used as a noun)
The experience was completely magical. (Used as an adjective)
- Speaking against another religion is a legal offence. (Used as a noun)
What you did was offensive. (Used as an adjective)
Frequently Asked Questions on Nouns
What is a noun?
A noun is a part of speech that is used to name or identify a person, place, thing or idea. There are different types of nouns like common nouns, proper nouns, abstract nouns, collective nouns, concrete nouns and so on.
What are the different functions of nouns?
Nouns can also function as verbs and adjectives with a slight change of spelling or by adding a suffix. For example, divorce can be used as a noun and a verb; money is a noun, while monetary is the adjective form of the verb. Nouns can also function as different components of the sentence as well.