Nouns in English Grammar
Noun is the most populated country in the world of grammar. It is the first stepping stone of learning any new languages. So without further ado start learning!
Nouns in most languages, including English is the largest class of words. Nouns make up the largest class of words in most languages. A noun is a word that refers to:
- A Person: Adam, doctor, sister, student
- A Place: home, New York, office, village
- An Object: chair, stair, hammer
- An Animal: snake, mouse, fish, bear
- An Idea: confusion, kindness, joy
- A Quality: softness, darkness, roughness
- An Action: cooking, playing, swimming
Types of Nouns
Nouns form a large proportion of English vocabulary and they come in a wide variety of types.
Common Nouns and Proper Nouns
A noun can be categorized as either a common noun or a proper noun. Common nouns are not capitalized unless they come at the beginning of a sentence. Proper nouns should always be capitalized.
- A common noun is the word for a person, place, or thing etc. It's the word that appears in the dictionary. For example: person, town, monkey.
- A proper noun is the given name of a person, place, or thing etc. It's likely to be a personal name or a title. For example: Ben, London.
Attributive noun (also called noun adjunct, , qualifying noun, noun modifier) is a noun that modifies another noun and functions as an adjective.
The noun adjunct 'chicken' modifies the noun 'soup'
Abstract Nouns and Concrete Nouns
Abstract nouns are a type of noun that you can’t see or touch. They may include a concept, idea, experience, state of being, trait, quality, feeling, or other entities that can’t be experienced with the five senses. For example, 'love', 'hate', 'honesty' and 'bravery' are all abstract nouns.
Concrete nouns are a type of noun that can be identified through one of the five senses. For example, 'telephone', 'noise' and 'car' are concrete nouns.
A collective nouns is a word that represents a collection of things taken as a whole, like the words 'team' or 'group'.
Compound nouns are nouns that are made up of more than one word. There are three kinds of compound nouns in English:
- The closed form (which are written as one word): basketball, wallpaper, grandmother
- The open form (which are spelled as two separate words): ice cream, field hockey, distance learning
- The hyphenated form (two or more words are joined by a hyphen): long-term, mother-in-law, check-in
Count and Non-count Nouns
Count nouns (also called countable nouns) are nouns that have plural forms and can be pluralized, or counted with a number, for example, 'one chair', 'three chairs'.
Non-count nouns (also called uncountable or mass nouns) are nouns that cannot be pluralize or counted with a number, for example, 'water', 'sugar' and 'wood.
A gender-specific noun refers only to males or only to females. In many languages, the gender of nouns is divided into three categories; masculine, feminine and neuter. In English, the gender of most nouns is neuter. However, if a noun refers to something obviously male or female, then its gender will be masculine or feminine (as determined by the meaning).
For example: Rooster (Gender-specific masculine), hen (Gender-specific feminine) and chicken (neutral)
Verbal Nouns (also called gerunds) are words that are derived from verbs but act as nouns. All gerunds in English have the suffix '-ing'. For example, 'playing', 'singing' and 'drawing'.
The Function of Nouns
A noun can function as a subject, a direct object, an indirect object, or a complement within a sentence.
Here, 'football' is the subject of the sentence.
Here, 'football' is the object of the sentence.
Here, 'football' is the complement of the sentence.
In English a noun rarely comes alone. It's always accompanied by another word or articles (a/an or the). A noun with any sort of modifier is called a noun phrase. In other words, a noun phrase is a word or group of words in a sentence that behaves in the same way as a noun and can function as a subject, an object, a complement, or as the object of a preposition.
'The driver of the car' is a noun phrase that functions as the object of the sentence.
A noun clause is a group of words acting together as a noun. The difference between a noun phrase and a noun clause is that unlike noun phrases, noun clauses contain both a subject and a verb. These clauses are always dependent clauses. That is, they do not form a complete sentence.