Definition and Types of Noun | Parts of Speech

What is a noun?
A noun is a word used for a place, person, or thing. Everything which has a name and we talk about it is a noun. Everything is donated by a name and that naming word is called a “noun”.

Often a noun will be the name for something we can touch (e.g., lambpentable), but sometimes a noun will be the name for something we cannot touch (e.g., happiness, determinism, truth).
Some Examples of noun:
A word that is called a noun represents everything. Some examples of noun are written below.

  •  PeopleAli, boy, singer.
  • AnimalsCat, cow, elephant.
  • PlacesKarachi, city, street.
  • ObjectsCup, pencil, book.
  • QualitiesBoldness, sorrow.
  • Actions:  Writing, listening, running.


Types of noun

There are many types of noun depending upon some aspects. One noun may fall in multiple categories. A common noun may be a countable noun and at a same time that noun may b a concrete e.g., pencil is a common noun it is countable, concrete and as well it is singular noun. Some main types of noun are tabulated below.

Proper noun: A proper noun is the given name of a person, or a specific place or thing, i.e. its own name (e.g., Imran, Karachi, Rover). A proper noun always starts with a capital letter. All days and months are proper noun and start with capital letters (e.g.,. Sunday, March, December). Name of all Person, name of countries, name of oceans are counted in category of proper nouns (e.g., Mashal, Pakistan, Atlantic)

Common noun: A common noun is the word used for a class of person, place, or thing (e.g., person, city, and dog). Common noun are not capitalized unless used in start of a sentence. There are some exception like in poetry where every word of the new line is capitalized. Something that is personified in poetry is also capitalized e.g., “So Nature incites them in their hearts” ( Prologue- Geoffrey Chaucer)

Concrete noun: Concrete nouns are the things which we can see or touch physically. This noun contrast with an abstract category of noun. For example: tree, hammer, pen. We can see them feel them or touch them. Some time we name it material noun.

Abstract noun: Abstract nouns are things you cannot see or touch. Abstract nouns do not have a physical existence. These nouns are difficult to guess. Sometime learner get confused with abstract noun and adjectives. Abilities and emotions are abstract noun e.g. bravery, joy, determination, etc.

Collective noun: Collective nouns are words that denote groups collection or multitude of something. These nouns are used as singular e.g. team, army, concert.

Compound noun: Compound nouns are nouns made up of more than one word. For example: court-martial, pickpocket, water bottle. Some compound nouns are two words (e.g., peace pipe), some are hyphenated (e.g., play-off), and some have become single words (e.g., eyeopener). And, many of them are currently transitioning through those stages. Therefore, spelling compound nouns can be a nightmare. Some compound nouns form their plural by adding an s to the principal word, not necessarily to the end (e.g., brothers-in-law).

Countable noun: A countable noun is a noun that can be counted in numbers like one pen, two cars with both a singular and a plural form (e.g., dog/dogs, pie/pies).

Uncountable noun: An uncountable noun is a noun without a plural form For example: oxygen, patience. Such noun do not include counting. All abstract noun falls under the uncountable category of nouns.

Gerund noun: Gerunds are nouns that end -ing and that represent actions. Gerunds have verb-like properties. But these are used differently in a sentence unlike verbs.  Gerund noun are modified with adverbs How to differentiate gerund noun and verb. Look at two examples.

(a) Ali is singing a song.

(b) Ali is fond of singing. 

In sentence (a), singing is a verb as its show action that Ali is performing. Verb with ing are used followed by helping verbs is, am, was, were, etc. But in sentence (b) singing is not an action being performed by ali and not followed by a helping verb.

Gender-specific Nouns: Gender-specific nouns are nouns that are definitely male or female. For example: king, vixen, actress. blonde is a woman. blond is a man.

Verbal noun: Verbal nouns are nouns derived from verbs and do not have verb-like properties (e.g., building, drawing, attack).

How to differentiate gerund noun and verbal noun

To understand the difference between gerund noun and verbal noun look the given example.

·         The ceremonial raising of the flag has started.

Like gerunds nouns, verbal nouns are also derived from verbs, but, unlike gerunds, they have no verb-like properties. In above given example, the verbal noun raising is not showing any verb-like qualities. It is not modified by a determiner and an adjective (the and ceremonial) and it requires a preposition (of) to link it to the cake. In contrast, in the sentence “raising the flag carefully is key,” the word raising (which, despite being spelled the same, is now a gerund) is showing verb-like qualities. More specifically, it is modified with an adverb (carefully).

Verbal nouns are usually preceded by a or an or the and followed by a preposition (e.g., ofinfor). This makes them pretty inefficient from a word count perspective. Also, a sentence with verbal nouns can often sound stuffy. However, verbal nouns can give an air of formality or provide emphasis. So, we should all care about verbal nouns for two reasons: (1) Replacing verbal nouns with verbs and gerunds will reduce your word count and improve sentence flow. (2) Sentences featuring pure verbal nouns could portray you as stuffy (bad) or authoritative (good). Employ them smartly to tune to your needs.