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What is a noun?

A word that is the name of something (such as a person, animal, place, thing, quality, idea, or action) and is typically used in a sentence as subject or object of a verb or as object of a preposition


Noun Type


Common Nouns name people, places, or things that are not specific. man, mountain, state, ocean, country, building, cat, airline
Proper Nouns name specific people, places, or things. Walt Disney, Mount Kilimanjaro, Minnesota, Atlantic Ocean, Australia, Empire State Building, Fluffy, Sun Country
Abstract Nouns name nouns that you can't perceive with your five senses. love, wealth, happiness, pride, fear, religion, belief, history, communication
Concrete Nouns name nouns that you can perceive with your five senses. house, ocean, Uncle Mike, bird, photograph, banana, eyes, light, sun, dog, suitcase, flowers
Countable Nouns name nouns that you can count. bed, cat, movie, train, country, book, phone, match, speaker, clock, pen, David, violin
Uncountable Nouns name nouns that you can't count. milk, rice, snow, rain, water, food, music
Compound Nouns are made up of two or more words. tablecloth, eyeglasses, New York, photograph, daughter-in-law, pigtails, sunlight, snowflake
Collective Nouns refer to things or people as a unit. bunch, audience, flock, team, group, family, band, village
Singular Nouns name one person, place, thing, or idea. cat, sock, ship, hero, monkey, baby, match
Plural Nouns name more than one person, place, thing, or idea. cats, socks, ships, heroes, monkeys, babies, matches
Possessive Nouns show ownership. Mom's car, Beth's cat, the student's book


How Nouns Function

Nouns have several important functions. While it's impossible to list them all here, we'll go over the most important jobs nouns are tasked with.

  • Nouns are subjects. Every sentence has a subject, which is a noun that tells us what that sentence is all about. John swung the baseball bat.
  • Nouns are direct objects. These nouns receive action from verbs. John swung the baseball bat.
  • Nouns are indirect objects. These nouns receive the direct object. Brad threw John the ball.
  • Nouns are objects of prepositions. These nouns follow the prepositions in prepositional phrases. John swung the baseball bat at Greg.
  • Nouns are predicate nominatives. These nouns follow linking verbs and rename the subject. John is a baseball player.
  • Nouns are object complements. These nouns complete the direct object. They named their dog Max.