NOUNS

ABSTRACT NOUNS

An abstract noun is a noun that you cannot sense, it is the name we give to an emotion, ideal or idea. They have no physical existence, you can’t see, hear, touch, smell or taste them. The opposite of an abstract noun is a concrete noun.

For example:-

Justice; an idea, bravery and happiness are all abstract nouns.

Here is an a-z list of some common abstract nouns:-

adorationartistry
beliefbravery
calmcharitychildhoodcomfortcompassion
dexterity
ego
failurefaithfeelingsfriendship
happinesshatehonestyhope
ideaimpressioninfatuation
joy
lawlibertyloveloyalty
maturitymemory
omen
peaceprideprinciplepower
redemptionromance
sadnesssensitivityskillsleepsuccesssympathy
talentthrilltruth
wit

COLLECTIVE NOUNS / GROUP NOUNS

What is a collective noun?

A collective noun is a noun that can be singular in form whilst referring to a group of people or things. Collective nouns are sometimes confused with mass nouns.

Groups of people – army, audience, band, choir, class, committee, crew, family, gang, jury, orchestra, police, staff, team, trio

Groups of animals – colony, flock, herd, pack, pod, school, swarm

Groups of things – bunch, bundle, clump, pair, set, stack

The use of “of”

We often say a group of things, such as a bunch of flowers, or a host of golden daffodils.

Some collective nouns can stand alone, such as “Britain has an army”, but if the collective noun “army” is used to mean something other than an organized military force, you can say things like “an army of women” or “an army of ants”, and even “an army of one”.

Plural or singular?

When a group is considered as a single unit, the collective noun is used with a singular verb and singular pronoun.

For example – The committee has reached its decision.

When the focus is on the individual parts of the group, British English sometimes uses a plural verb and plural pronouns.

For example – “The committee have been arguing all morning.” This is the same as saying “The people in the committe have been ….

However, if you are talking about more than one committee, then you use the plural form.

For example – “Many committees have been formed over the years.”

A determiner in front of a singular collective noun is always singular: this committee , never these committee (but of course when the collective noun is pluralized, it takes a plural determiner: these committees ).

COMMON NOUNS

A common noun is a word that names people, places, things, or ideas. They are not the names of a single person, place or thing.

A common noun begins with a lowercase letter unless it is at the beginning of a sentence.

For example:-

PEOPLE:-

man, girl, boy, mother, father, child, person, teacher, student

ANIMALS:-

cat, dog, fish, ant, snake

THINGS:-

book, table, chair, phone

PLACES:-

school, city, building, shop

IDEAS:-

love, hate, idea, pride

COMPOUND NOUNS

A compound noun is a noun that is made up of two or more words. Most compound nouns in English are formed by nouns modified by other nouns or adjectives.

For example:

The words tooth and paste are each nouns in their own right, but if you join them together they form a new word – toothpaste.

The word black is an adjective and board is a noun, but if you join them together they form a new word – blackboard.

In both these example the first word modifies or describes the second word, telling us what kind of object or person it is, or what its purpose is. And the second part identifies the object or person in question.

Compound nouns can also be formed using the following combinations of words:-

Noun+Nountoothpaste
Adjective+Nounmonthly ticket
Verb+Nounswimming pool
Preposition+Noununderground
Noun+Verbhaircut
Noun+Prepositionhanger on
Adjective+Verbdry-cleaning
Preposition+Verboutput

The two parts may be written in a number of ways:-

1. Sometimes the two words are joined together.
Example: tooth + paste = toothpaste | bed + room = bedroom

2. Sometimes they are joined using a hyphen.
Example: check-in

3. Sometimes they appear as two separate words.
Example: full moon

There’s a list of lots of compound words here.

A good dictionary will tell you how you should write each compound noun.

CONCRETE NOUNS

A concrete noun is the name of something or someone that we experience through our senses; sight, hearing, smell, touch or taste. Most nouns are concrete nouns. The opposite of a concrete noun is an abstract noun.

For example:-

Cats, dogs, tables, chairs, buses, and teachers are all concrete nouns.

COUNTABLE AND UNCOUNTABLE NOUNS

noun can be countable or uncountable. Countable nouns can take the indefinite article (a / an) in their singular form, and they have a plural form. The quantifiers some, a few etc., are used with countable nouns. We also use many with countable nouns.

For example:

  • A book, two books, three books, some books …..
  • An apple, two apples, three apples, a few apples ….
  • A sock, two socks, three socks, too many socks ….

Uncountable nouns (also called mass nouns or noncount nouns) cannot be counted as separate objects. This means you cannot make them plural by adding -s, because they only have a singular form. It also means that they do not take the indefinite article (a/an) or a number in front of them.

For example:

  • Water
  • Work
  • Information
  • Coffee
  • Sand

We indicate the quantity of uncountable nouns (also called mass nouns or noncount nouns) by combining them with a countable expression (a piece of, a slice of etc), or a quantifier like some / a little / a lot etc.) in front of them. We also use much with uncountable nouns.

For example:

  • Some water
  • A lot of work
  • A piece of information
  • Too much coffee
  • A bucket of sand

Sources of confusion with countable and uncountable nouns

The notion of countable and uncountable things can be confusing.

For example, money. We can count money can’t we? Yes, but we count it in currencies – a million dollars / pounds / euros etc. (For some reason the yen is treated as an uncountable noun – a million yen).

Some nouns can be countable or uncountable depending on their meaning. Usually a noun is uncountable when used in a general, abstract way (when you don’t think of it as a separate object) and countable when it has a very particular meaning (when you can think of it as a separate object).

For example:-

glass – Two glasses of water. (Countable) | A window made of glass. (Uncountable) | glasses – I wear glasses. (Always plural)

Some supposedly uncountable nouns can behave like countable nouns if we think of them as being in containers, or one of several types.

This is because ‘containers’ and ‘types’ can be counted.

Believe it or not each of these sentences is correct:-

Doctors recommend limiting consumption to two coffees a day. 
(Here coffees refers to the number of cups of coffee)
You could write; “Doctors recommend limiting consumption to two cups of coffee a day.

The coffees I prefer are Arabica and Brazilian. 
(Here coffees refers to different types of coffee)
You could write; “The types of coffee I prefer are Arabica and Brazilian.

GERUND NOUNS

A gerund (often known as an -ing word) is a noun formed from a verb by adding –ing. It can follow a preposition, adjective and most often another verb.

For example:

  • I enjoy walking.

    SIMPLE PLURALISATION GUIDE

    PLURAL FORMS

    Regular Plurals

    The plural form of most nouns is created simply by adding the letter ‘s’ to the end of the word .

    For example:-

    • bag – bags
    • dog – dogs
    • horse – horses
    • minute – minutes

    But there are some exceptions:-

    Nouns that end in –ch, -x, -s, -sh add ‘-es‘ to the end of the word.

    For example:-

    • box – boxes
    • boss – bosses
    • bush – bushes
    • church – churches
    • gas – gases

    Most nouns ending in –o preceded by a consonant also form their plurals by adding ‘-es‘ .

    For example:-

    • potato – potatoes
    • tomato – tomatoes
    • volcano – volcanoes

    However many newly created words and words with a Spanish or Italian origin that end in –o just add an ‘s‘.

    For example:-

    • photo – photos | piano – pianos | portico – porticos

    Nouns that end in a single ‘z’, add ‘-zes‘ to the end of the word.

    For example:-

    • quiz – quizzes

    Nouns ending in a consonant + y, drop the and add ‘-ies.

    For example:-

    • party – parties | lady – ladies

    Most nouns ending in ‘is’, drop the ‘is‘ and add ‘-es‘.

    For example:-

    • crisis – crises | hypothesis – hypotheses | oasis – oases

    Most nouns ending in -f or -fe, drop the f and add ‘ves.

    For example:-

    • calf – calves | half – halves | wolf – wolves

    But this isn’t a hard and fast rule:-

    • belief – beliefs (believes is a verb form)
    • brief – briefs
    • chef – chefs
    • proof – proofs
    • roof – roofs
    • cafe – cafes
    • safe – safes (saves is a verb form)

    Irregular Plurals

    There are also a lot of common nouns that have irregular plurals.

    Most common nouns connected with human beings seem to be irregular.

    For example:-

    • child – children | person – people | man – men | woman – women

    Other irregular common nouns are:-

    foot – feet | goose – geese | mouse – mice | tooth – teeth

    Some nouns have identical plural and singular forms.

    For example:-

    • aircraft – aircraft | fish – fish | headquarters – headquarters | sheep – sheep | species – species

    In the plural form they still take a plural verb (are / were):-

    There is an aircraft in the hangar.

    There are some aircraft in the hangar.

    There was a fish in the tank.

    There were some fish in the tank.

    Uncountable nouns on the other hand have no plural form and take a singular verb (is / was …).

    For example:-

    • advice
    • information
    • luggage
    • news

    There is a lot of luggage on the plane, but a piece of luggage has gone missing.

    Some nouns (especially those associated with two things) exist only in the plural form and take a plural verb (are / were…).

    For example:-

    • cattle
    • scissors
    • trousers
    • tweezers
    • congratulations
    • pyjamas

    Have you seen my scissors? They were on my desk.

    Nouns that stem from older forms of English or are of foreign origin often have odd plurals.

    For example:-

    • ox – oxen
    • index – indices or indexes

    In compound nouns the plural ending is usually added to the main noun.

    For example:-

    • son-in-law – sons-in-law
    • passer-by – passers-by

    Words ending in -us

    Linguists can argue for hours about the plural ending of nouns ending in -us. Many of these words are loanwords from Latin and preserve their Latin plural form, replacing the -us suffix with -i, but of course not all words ending in -us have a Latin origin , and some Latin words ending in -us were not pluralized with -i. hence the argument.

    For example:-

    The English plural of virus is viruses, not viri.

    Other Latin loanwords that take the regular English plural -es ending include campus – campuses | bonus – bonuses

    Latin loanwords that take a -i plural ending include radius – radii |  alumnus – alumni

    If you want to bait a linguist ask them if the plural of crocus is crocuses or croci, or whether the plural of octopus is octopuses, octopi or octopodes.

    PROPER NOUNS

    Proper nouns (also called proper names) are the words which name specific people, organisations or places. They always start with a capital letter.

    For example:-

    EACH PART OF A PERSON’S NAME IS A PROPER NOUN:-

    Lynne Hand – Elizabeth Helen Ruth Jones …

    THE NAMES OF COMPANIES, ORGANISATIONS OR TRADE MARKS:-

    Microsoft – Rolls Royce – the Round Table – WWW

    GIVEN OR PET NAMES OF ANIMALS:-

    Lassie Trigger Sam

    THE NAMES OF CITIES AND COUNTRIES AND WORDS DERIVED FROM THOSE PROPER NOUNS:-

    Paris – London – New York – England – English

    GEOGRAPHICAL AND CELESTIAL NAMES:-

    the Red Sea – Alpha Centauri – Mars

    MONUMENTS, BUILDINGS, MEETING ROOMS:-

    The Taj Mahal – The Eiffel Tower – Room 222

    HISTORICAL EVENTS, DOCUMENTS, LAWS, AND PERIODS:-

    the Civil War – the Industrial Revolution – World War I

    MONTHS, DAYS OF THE WEEK, HOLIDAYS:-

    Monday – Christmas – December

    RELIGIONS, DEITIES, SCRIPTURES:-

    God – Christ – Jehovah – Christianity – Judaism – Islam – the Bible – the Koran – the Torah

    AWARDS, VEHICLES, VEHICLE MODELS AND NAMES, BRAND NAMES:-

    the Nobel Peace Prize – the Scout Movement – Ford Focus – the Bismarck – Kleenex – Hoover

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