What Is a Noun? Definitions and Examples (2023)

Nouns are everywhere in our writing. But what are all the types of nouns you come across, and how do you use them?

What is a noun?

A noun is a word that names something, such as a person, place, thing, or idea. In a sentence, nouns can play the role of subject, direct object, indirect object, subject complement, object complement, appositive, or adjective.

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Types of nouns

Nouns form a large proportion of English vocabulary and they come in a wide variety of types. Nouns can name a person:

Albert Einstein

the president

my mother

a girl

Nouns can also name a place:

Mount Vesuvius


my bedroom

Nouns can also name things, although sometimes they might be intangible things, such as concepts, activities, or processes. Some might even be hypothetical or imaginary things.

(Video) Noun Definition With Examples



The Elder Wand


Proper nouns vs. common nouns

One important distinction to be made is whether a noun is a proper noun or a common noun. A proper noun is a specific name of a person, place, or thing, and is always capitalized.

Does Tina have much homework to do this evening?

Tina is the name of a specific person.

I would like to visit Old Faithful.

Old Faithful is the specific name of a geological phenomenon.

The opposite of a proper noun is a common noun, sometimes known as a generic noun. A common noun is the generic name of an item in a class or group and is not capitalized unless appearing at the beginning of a sentence or in a title.

The girl crossed the river.

Girl is a common noun; we do not learn the identity of the girl by reading this sentence, though we know the action she takes. River is also a common noun in this sentence.

Types of common nouns

Common or generic nouns can be broken down into three subtypes: concrete nouns, abstract nouns, and collective nouns. A concrete noun is something that is perceived by the senses; something that is physical or real.

I heard the doorbell.

My keyboard is sticky.

(Video) Definition of noun in English| what is noun in English

Doorbell and keyboard are real things that can be sensed.

Conversely, an abstract noun is something that cannot be perceived by the senses.

We can’t imagine the courage it took to do that.

Courage is an abstract noun. Courage can’t be seen, heard, or sensed in any other way, but we know it exists.

A collective noun denotes a group or collection of people or things.

That pack of lies is disgraceful.

Pack of lies as used here is a collective noun. Collective nouns take a singular verb as if they are one entity – in this case, the singular verb is.

A pride of lions roamed the savanna.

Pride of lions is also a collective noun.

Nouns as subjects

Every sentence must have a subject, and that subject will always be a noun. The subject of a sentence is the person, place, or thing that is doing or being the verb in that sentence.

Maria is happy.

Maria is the subject of this sentence and the corresponding verb is a form of to be (is).

Nouns as objects

Nouns can also be objects of a verb in a sentence. An object can be either a direct object (a noun that receives the action performed by the subject) or an indirect object (a noun that is the recipient of a direct object).

Give the books to her.

Books is a direct object (what is being given) and her is the indirect object (who the books are being given to).

Nouns as subject and object complements

Another type of noun use is called a subject complement. In this example, the noun teacher is used as a subject complement.

Mary is a teacher.

Subject complements normally follow linking verbs like to be, become, or seem. A teacher is what Mary is.

A related usage of nouns is called an object complement.

I now pronounce you husband and wife.

(Video) NOUNS | Definition, Types & Examples in 3 MINUTES | Parts of speech

Husband and wife are nouns used as object complements in this sentence. Verbs that denote making, naming, or creating are often followed by object complements.

Appositive nouns and nouns as modifiers

An appositive noun is a noun that immediately follows another noun in order to further define or identify it.

My brother, Michael, is six years old.

Michael is an appositive here, further identifying the subject of the sentence, my brother.

Sometimes, nouns can be used adjectivally as well.

He is a speed demon.

Speed is a normally a noun, but here it is acting as an adjective to modify demon.

Plural nouns

Plural nouns, unlike collective nouns, require plural verbs. Many English plural nouns can be formed by adding -s or -es to the singular form, although there are many exceptions.


These two cats are both black.

Note the plural verb are.



Countable nouns vs. uncountable nouns

Countable nouns are nouns which can be counted, even if the number might be extraordinarily high (like counting all the people in the world). Countable nouns can be used with a/an, the, some, any, a few, and many.

Here is a cat.

Cat is singular and—obviously—countable.

Here are a few cats.

(Video) What Is Noun Learn And Write Definition With Examples

Here are some cats.

Uncountable nouns, or mass nouns, are nouns that come in a state or quantity which is impossible to count; liquids are uncountable, as are things that act like liquids (sand, air). They are always considered to be singular, and can be used with some, any, a little, and much.

An I.Q. test measures intelligence.

Intelligence is an uncountable noun.

Students don’t seem to have much homework these days.

This example refers to an unspecified, unquantifiable amount of homework, so homework is an uncountable noun.

Possessive nouns

Possessive nouns are nouns which possess something; i.e., they have something. You can identify a possessive noun by the apostrophe; most nouns show the possessive with an apostrophe and an s.

The cat’s toy was missing.

The cat possesses the toy, and we denote this by use of ’s at the end of cat.

When a singular noun ends in the letter s or z, the same format often applies. This is a matter of style, however, and some style guides suggest leaving off the extra s.

I have been invited to the boss’s house for dinner.

Mrs. Sanchez’s coat is still hanging on the back of her chair.

Plural nouns ending in s take only an apostrophe to form a possessive.

My nieces’ prom dresses were exquisite.

Nouns FAQs

What are nouns?

Nouns refer to a person, place, thing, or idea. They make up the subjects, direct objects, and indirect objects in a sentence, along with other roles.

What are examples of nouns?

Nouns can be living things (Keanu Reeves or cat), places (beach or Detroit), things (ruler or PlayStation 5), or ideas (nihilism or the theory of evolution).

What are the different types of nouns?

Common nouns refer to general things (like parks), and proper nouns refer to a specific thing (like Yellowstone National Park). Nouns can also be plural or singular, depending on how many there are, and countable or uncountable, depending on how their plural form is used.

How do you identify a noun in a sentence?

Nouns usually have articles (the, a, or an) before them in a sentence, but not always. Sometimes you’ll see adjectives or words like “some” or “this” before nouns. Aside from the first word in a sentence, if a word is capitalized then it’s a noun, such as a person’s name.


What is noun give 5 examples? ›

A noun is a word that refers to a thing (book), a person (Noah Webster), an animal (cat), a place (Omaha), a quality (softness), an idea (justice), or an action (yodeling). It's usually a single word, but not always: cake, shoes, school bus, and time and a half are all nouns.

What is the short definition of noun? ›

A noun is a word that names something, such as a person, place, thing, or idea. In a sentence, nouns can play the role of subject, direct object, indirect object, subject complement, object complement, appositive, or adjective.

What is a noun Definition kids? ›

A noun is a naming word. It is a thing, a person, an animal or a place.

How do you identify a noun? ›

Nouns are commonly de¢ned as words that refer to a person, place, thing, or idea. How can you identify a noun? If you can put the word the in front of a word and it sounds like a unit, the word is a noun. For example, the boy sounds like a unit, so boy is a noun.

What are 20 examples of nouns? ›

25 Most Common Nouns
  • time.
  • person.
  • year.
  • way.
  • day.
  • thing.
  • man.
  • world.

What are the 4 main types of nouns? ›

There are different types of nouns like common nouns, proper nouns, abstract nouns, collective nouns, concrete nouns and so on.

What is a noun in a sentence? ›

A noun is a word that represents a person, thing, concept, or place. Most sentences contain at least one noun or pronoun. For example, the sentences below contain anywhere from one to three nouns. Examples: Nouns in a sentence The dog ran very fast. June is my favorite month.

What are the 7 types of noun? ›

Concrete nouns can also be countable, uncountable, common, proper, and collective nouns.

How do you learn a noun definition? ›

Nouns identify people, places, things, and ideas. Nouns can be categorized as either common or proper. Common nouns name general people, places, things, and ideas, while proper nouns name specific people, places, things, and ideas. For example, examples of nouns naming people would be: Common Noun.

What is a noun for 5th graders? ›

Nouns are words that represent people, places, things and ideas. Common nouns are generic labels such as leaders, cities and candy. Proper nouns represent specific, named people, places and things such as Gandhi, Orchard Park and Snickers.

What is a noun for beginners? ›

Definition: A noun is a word that names a person, place, thing, or idea. Concrete nouns name people, places, or things that you can touch, see, hear, smell, or taste. Person. Place.

How do you tell if a word is a noun or verb? ›

Noun: a word that refers to a person, place, thing, event, substance or quality e.g.'nurse', 'cat', 'party', 'oil' and 'poverty'. Verb: a word or phrase that describes an action, condition or experience e.g. 'run', 'look' and 'feel'.

What is the easiest way to identify a noun phrase? ›

A noun phrase is a group of two or more words that acts like a noun in a sentence. For the word group to be a noun phrase, it must contain a noun and its modifiers.

How do you remember what a noun is? ›

Here's an easy way to remember the difference between nouns, verbs and adjectives.
  1. Nouns are naming words: they're for people, places or things. Nouns answer who, what, where, when. ...
  2. Verbs are visual: you can see them in action. ...
  3. Adjectives add to nouns: they give extra detail.
Mar 9, 2020

What are the 25 nouns? ›

The list of top 25 nouns: time, person, year, way, day, thing, man, world, life, hand, part, child, eye, woman, place, work, week, case, point, government, company, number, group, problem, fact.

Can you give me a list of nouns? ›

Top 1500 Nouns
158 more rows

What are the 12 types of nouns? ›

There are 12 types of nouns in the English language: proper nouns, common nouns, possessive nouns, compound nouns, collective nouns, concrete nouns, abstract nouns, material nouns, countable nouns, uncountables nouns, singular nouns, and plural nouns.

What are the 3 main nouns? ›

Common nouns, proper nouns, abstract nouns, and concrete nouns are our go-to nouns but there are many types of nouns ready to get in the game. To learn the difference between all these nouns, use this guide to link to in-depth articles about each type of noun.

Why is it called a noun? ›

WHAT IS A NOUN? A noun is a word that names a person, place, thing, or animal in a sentence. A noun can function as a subject, direct object, indirect object, subject complement, object complement, appositive, adjective, or adverb.

How will you identify the nouns in a sentence? ›

Nouns are commonly defined as people, places, or things. They address the "who" or "what" of a sentence. The most reliable sign that a given word is a noun is if it follows an article like "the" or "a." Examples: The world is round.

What are the main 5 types of noun? ›

Nouns are of multiple types: proper, common, collective, abstract, countable, and uncountable.

What are 8 common nouns? ›

Examples of a Common Noun
  • People: mother, father, baby, child, toddler, teenager, grandmother, student, teacher, minister, businessperson, salesclerk, woman, man.
  • Animals: lion, tiger, bear, dog, cat, alligator, cricket, bird, wolf.
  • Things: table, truck, book, pencil, iPad, computer, coat, boots,

Which is common noun? ›

A common noun is a noun that describes a type of person, thing, or place or that names a concept. Common nouns are not capitalized unless they appear at the start of a sentence, unlike proper nouns, which are always capitalized.

Which word is not a noun? ›

Detailed Solution. The correct answer is 'catchy'.

What is a common noun for kids? ›

A common noun is a word used for the general name of something, such as a person, place, or object. For example, 'city', 'apple' and 'doctor' are all common nouns as they refer to a place, thing and person. On the other hand, proper nouns are the specific name of a person, place, or object.

Is Mom a proper noun? ›

Usage notes. Mom can be capitalized when used as a proper noun, but not when used as a common noun (e.g. with a possessive): I think Mom likes my new car. I think my mom will like you.

What is a noun for Grade 6? ›

Definition. Noun is the name given to a thing, person, object (animate or inanimate) or feeling : e.g., Ram, man, dog, book, tree, light, love etc.

What is a noun for 2nd grade? ›

A noun is a word that names a person, place, or thing. Some nouns name people, like woman, friend, and teacher. Some nouns name places, like town, library, and park. Some nouns name things, like bicycle, horse, and flower.

How do you teach nouns in kindergarten? ›

Define what a noun is and relate it to real-life experiences they are familiar with. Talk about different people, places, animals, and things to help students understand what is and isn't a noun. It's helpful to create an anchor chart on chart paper for student reference.

What are the 7 nouns? ›

Learn the Seven Types of English Nouns
  • Abstract Nouns.
  • Collective Nouns.
  • Common Nouns.
  • Concrete Nouns.
  • Pronouns.
  • Proper Nouns.
  • Uncountable Nouns/Mass Nouns/Non-Count Nouns.
  • Noun Types Quiz.
Apr 2, 2019

What are the 4 types of noun? ›

Common nouns, proper nouns, abstract nouns, and concrete nouns are our go-to nouns but there are many types of nouns ready to get in the game.

What type of noun is tree? ›

Answer and Explanation: The word tree functions as a common noun. This word refers to a thing: a type of plant that grows with a trunk, branches, and leaves of sorts.

Is bread a proper noun? ›

However, proper nouns are specific and require a capital letter e.g. Khan, Oreo biscuits, but common nouns are general and do not require a capital letter e.g. bread, milk, biscuits, etc.


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