1. Handouts

  2. Nouns -Types of Nouns
  3. Nouns -Types of Nouns (Part 2)






A noun is a word for a person, place, or thing. (You might like to think of nouns as “naming” words.) Everything we can see or talk about is represented by a word that names it. That “naming” word is called a noun.

Often a noun will be the name for something we can touch (e.g., lion, cake, computer), but sometimes a noun will be the name for something we cannot touch (e.g., bravery, mile, joy).

Everything is represented by a word that lets us talk about it. This includes people (e.g., man, scientist), animals (e.g., dog, lizard), places (e.g., town, street), objects (e.g., vase, pencil), substances (e.g., copper, glass), qualities (e.g., heroism, sorrow), actions (e.g., swimming, dancing), and measures (e.g., inch, ounce).

Common Nouns and Proper Nouns

A noun can be categorized as either a common noun or a proper noun.

A common noun is the word used for a class of person, place, or thing (e.g., person, city, dog).

A proper noun is the given name of a person, place or thing, i.e., its own name (e.g., Michael, New York, Rover). (Note: A proper noun always starts with a capital letter.)

Here are some more examples of common nouns and proper nouns:

Common Noun Proper Noun
boy David
sailor Adam
lawyer Sarah
mother-in-law Janice
town Milton Keynes
bridge The Golden Gate Bridge
tower Eifel Tower
street Honeysuckle Crescent
cat Fido
monkey Bonzo


The Different Types of Nouns

A noun can usually be further categorized depending on its meaning (e.g., Is it something tangible?) or its structure (e.g., Is it made up of more than one word?).

Below is a list of the different types of nouns with examples:

Abstract Nouns

Abstract nouns are things you cannot see or touch. For example:

  • bravery
  • joy
  • determination

Collective Nouns

Collective nouns are words that denote groups. For example:

  • team
  • choir
  • pack

Collective nouns can be treated as singular or plural. It depends on the sense of your sentence. For example:

  • The team is scheduled to arrive at 4 o’clock.
  • The team are wearing different novelty hats.

Compound Nouns

Compound nouns are nouns made up of more than one word. For example:

  • court-martial
  • pickpocket
  • water bottle

Some compound nouns are hyphenated, some are not, and some combine their words to form a single word.

Concrete Nouns

Concrete nouns are things you can see or touch. For example:

  • tree
  • hammer
  • cloud