When anybody starts studying grammar, one of the elementary things he needs to learn is Nouns. As with any other language, it applies to English grammar, too.
Having said that, elementary doesn’t mean it can be ignored, or you should give only a little importance to it. The reality is the other way round. Nouns are one of the most important and useful topics in English grammar that lay the foundation for learning all the later parts of English grammar well.
Why Nouns Are So Important And Useful?
I’ll tell you why. It’s because if you don’t understand Nouns well, you will struggle to understand the concept of almost all other topics of English grammar—Pronouns, Adjectives, Gender, Case, Number, Syntax, to name some. It’ll get much clearer to you as you advance in learning Noun & its types in my current as well as the subsequent blog pieces.
You may certainly have read several books, online tutorials, or blogs on Nouns. No doubt, each one has loads of information. Most of them have beautifully delineated the topic in one way or the other. So, I am not going to sink you into another piece of content that just talks about those endless grammar rules, definitions, and exercises, and soon becomes dull and falls flat to you.
Instead, I wish to make the whole journey of your learning Nouns and their types most interesting, easier, and productive. This is why I thought of creating this series of analytical yet easy-to-understand blog posts on Nouns. I personally believe you are going to remember them for life. And all this would be without sweating over them.
And in order to meet its stated objective, I promise I’m going to simplify every single point related to the topic of Nouns: definitions, types, examples, illustrations, etc. And I’ll tell you that you’ll never forget any of them.
First, to avoid making it lumpy and boring, I’d like to divide the whole chapter of Nouns into some separate blog pieces. In separate blog pieces because I want you to slice and dice the whole material in a way you can study them more closely and easily learn them by heart in one go. However, I’d also make sure to present them in good order, too.
I promise that will keep you interested and engaged in the most fruitful way. And it’s going to take only 5-6 more minutes of your busy life which is, of course, not a big deal for anybody. Correct? So, are you all set to get to the heart of the topic? Yeah! So, let’s start the journey.
Well! Let’s first define Nouns, and then we’ll move to the classification of Nouns.
What Can Be The Simplest Definition of a Noun That Anybody Can Remember?
It is: a Noun is a naming word. Or, you can say a Noun is the name of anything that exists in the universe. Anything means anything you can think, see, touch, hear, feel, etc.
In a little broader sense, you can say the name of any person, thing, place, species, event, happening, feeling, imagination, etc. can be referred to as a Noun.
- Nancy — (name of a girl),
- Mobile — (name of an electronic device),
- New York — (name of a place or city),
- Lion — (name of an animal),
- Marriage ceremony & Earthquake — (names of events),
- Happiness, Sadness & Frustration — (names of feelings),
- Invention & discovery — (names of imagination or events).
I hope it sounds clear now.
How Grammarians of Different Times Classify Nouns Differently?
Now, before going ahead, wouldn’t it be worth having a look at how different grammarians classify Nouns differently. Surely, it would be, right?
Let’s move to the classifications of Nouns now: With the passage of time, different grammarians classified and defined nouns in different ways. But don’t sweat it—no matter how many blogs you land on or how many books you flick through, the central idea will remain the same. My main job here is to simplify all that for you.
Of course, we’ll have a brief look at all of them. But we’ll pay our full attention to those that are most relevant and practical regardless of time.
Till the end of this topic (through all blog pieces), you’ll have a complete understanding of what is what —every single detail of nouns, its types, examples, its usage, etc. So, never think of missing any of the explanations I present to you. Well! Let’s proceed further.
Ancient grammarians classified nouns in only two categories:
1. Concrete Nouns —the name of things that have a physical form (these are the things which you can identify through one or more of your five senses like touch, taste, sight, smell, and hearing. Examples are Pen, paper, mobile, laptop, chocolate, burger, etc.
2. Abstract Nouns —the name of things that don’t have a physical form. This means these are not concrete or material objects (these are the things which you cannot identify through any of your five senses). You can only feel, imagine, or visualize them. Examples are Idea, imagination, emotion, happiness, sadness, reality, truth, honesty, poverty, danger, etc.
Some other grammarians classified nouns in three different categories — Proper, Countable and Uncountable. Let’s have a look to understand them well.
1. Proper Nouns—these are the names of those things that refer to a specific or particular person, thing, place, event, etc. (we don’t talk them as common, or in general). Examples: Catherine, Ohio, London, Reynolds (pen), etc.
2. Countable Nouns —these are the names of those things that we can count using numbers like one, two, three, etc. They will always have a singular or a plural form. In other words, they are some individual people, things, places, animals, etc.
Or, you can also understand them well by the fact that they refer to some quantity or number. Most notably, they will answer the question – “how many?”
Examples: Man, men, boy, boys, pen, pens, city, cities, lion, lions,
3. Uncountable Nouns—these are the names of those things that we cannot count using numbers. Generally, names of abstract ideas or qualities, substances like liquids, powders, metals, gases, etc fall under this category.
Examples: Water, oil, milk, salt, sugar, wood, iron, ozone, hydrogen, etc.
We generally cannot divide these things (uncountable nouns) into two separate elements like two waters, three milks, four irons, five woods, etc. Yes, you can talk like two glasses of water, three bottles of milk, five kilos of iron, etc).
This is how you can easily differentiate the uncountable nouns from the countable nouns. Clear? Yeah! Great!
I hope you may have got the above classifications of nouns by heart. Isn’t that so? Yes! It is for anybody who wishes to….
Further, we’ll deal with the most beautiful classification of nouns that have always been most relevant in our daily life, irrespective of time. Here, we’ll meet with five different types of nouns. This analysis will interest you even more. I’m sure you cannot hold yourself back from finishing this part of your study of nouns.
And I bet this classification is also going to be the most fruitful and at the same time most interesting one to you. This is also the easiest one to deeply engrave in your mind so that you can have them on your tip for the rest of your life, no matter what your age or what standard you currently read in.
Although, before going into that much detail, I’d like to keep you informed on how some other people categorize nouns. You don’t need to learn each and everything here. So, let me just drop a hint to you on this.
And that is: some modern grammarians group all the nouns into 8 categories like Concrete Nouns, Abstract Nouns, Countable Nouns, Uncountable Nouns, Compound Nouns, Possessive Nouns, Regular Plural Nouns sand Irregular Plural Nouns.
Some segregate all the nouns into 10 different categories. These are Proper Nouns, Common Nouns, Singular Nouns, Plural Nouns, Concrete Nouns, Abstract Nouns, Collective Nouns, Compound Nouns, Countable Nouns and Uncountable Nouns.
Here, to ensure I have made every single important point clear to you, I prefer to throw light on a few of the above categories that are uncommon (leaving the unnecessary details aside). They are defined as:
Compound Nouns: The simple way to understand these is—Compound Nouns are nouns that are formed by combining two or more words (parts-of-speech). There are 8 ways to combine such words to form compound nouns in English.
For example; boyfriend, grandfather, grandson, teaspoon, etc. — (Noun + Noun)
Handmade, handcrafted, handwritten, sunset, sunrise, etc. — (Noun + Verb)
Swimming kit, swimming pool, washing machine, washing soda, etc. — (Verb + Noun)
You can make an end number of compound nouns by adding two different parts-of-speech like we do above.
Possessive Nouns: Any Nouns that take an apostrophe s (‘s) to show possession of another noun are considered as Possessive Nouns. For example, Donald’s car, women’s college, girls’ hostel, bird’s eye, etc
Regular & Irregular Plural Nouns: You already know that anything which is only one in number is considered to be in its singular form, and anything that is more than one is considered to be in its plural form.
Accordingly, Nouns that follow some specific grammatical rules to form plural are called Regular Plural Nouns. Example: boy – boys, girl – girls, thief – thieves, scarf – scarfs (or scarves), etc.
But the Nouns that follow no specific rules to form plural are called Irregular Plural Nouns.
Example: child – children, goose – geese, mouse – mice, etc.
As expected, there are, of course, rules to form or use the nouns just mentioned. That should be dealt with separately to avoid getting off the subject. Thus, in this section, I have only touched on the main points with a couple of examples.
But, What Is the Most Relevant, Convenient and Practical Classification of Nouns?
Now, we’ll deal with this. By keeping it simple for the best understanding, most grammarians, both traditional as well as modern ones, have classified all the nouns into 5 types: Proper Nouns, Common Nouns, Collective Nouns, Material Nouns, and Abstract Nouns.
For their full definitions, examples, and illustrations, please do visit the other parts of the topic NOUNS in separate blog pieces. This is so because if I put all the information on a single (current) page, you may start feeling tiresome. And that may eventually become unfruitful.
I hope this blog has interested you well. But more and more interest and most importantly a great deal of knowledge is coming your way in the next readings. Just ensure you surely go through that….because you cannot afford to miss that.
And never forget to leave your valuable feedback and suggestion in the comment section. Please also let me know if I have missed anything worth putting here even if there is a smallest error in spellings or punctuation. I promise I would keep your valued insight incorporated seamlessly into later blogs.
Thanks for your interest! Just keep reading ….
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