First, what is a noun?
A noun is a person, place, or thing. The category of things may sound super vague, but in this case it means inanimate objects, abstract concepts, and activities. Phrases and other parts of speech can also behave like nouns and can be the subject in a sentence, as in “Jogging is a fun exercise.” Here, the verb jogging acts like a noun and is the subject of the sentence.
What are plural nouns?
Nouns can either be singular or plural. Singular means they refer to just one thing, while plural means they refer to more than one.
Many singular nouns just need an S added at the end to make them plural (e.g., bee and bees). For some nouns that already end with an S, you may need to add -es to the end to make their plural forms (e.g., classes and buses). Not all nouns follow this pattern. Those that become plural in other ways are called irregular. Some examples are person and people, life and lives, mouse and mice, and tooth and teeth.
What are common and proper nouns?
Proper nouns help distinguish a specific person, place, or thing. These words should be capitalized. Some examples are brand names like Starbucks and personal names like Jenny.
Common nouns are nonspecific. They refer to a broad class of people, places, or things (like the generic coffee), so they’re not capitalized.
Some nouns can be either proper or common depending on the context where they’re used. For example, a canyon is common, while the Grand Canyon is proper because it’s the name of a specific place.
One way you can treat a common noun as a proper noun is by using personification. Personification is giving human attributes to nonhuman objects or ideas. An example of this is in the poem “Because I could not stop for Death” by Emily Dickinson: “Because I could not stop for Death – / He kindly stopped for me.”
What are abstract nouns?
Abstract nouns are intangible ideas. They’re not things people can see, smell, hear, or touch. Common examples include emotions, social concepts, political theories, and character traits (e.g., love, creativity, and democracy).
WATCH: Quotes To Inspire Your Writing
What are possessive nouns?
Possessive nouns convey ownership and often consist of short phrases.
To create the singular possessive form, most nouns just need an apostrophe and S added to the end. For example: “Fred’s car is old.” For plural possessive nouns, the apostrophe typically comes after the S, as in “Tigers’ claws are very sharp.”
What are collective nouns?
A collective noun describes a group of things, and it may be singular or plural, depending on how it’s used. A singular collective noun refers to a group that functions as one unit or performs the same action at the same time. For example: “The team plays in the main gym.”
Nouns make up the majority of the English language. More nouns appear every year as people come up with new ideas, media, and technologies. However, a noun’s basic function never changes. It describes a person, place, or thing, and it may be proper, common, possessive, abstract, or collective.