Nouns : Abstract Nouns
An abstract noun is a word which names something that cannot be experienced by the five senses. You cannot see, hear, touch, smell, or taste.
Abstract nouns can be hard to spot. Take for example ‘laughter’. There is a point of view that says it is an abstract noun, a concept; others maintain that because you can hear it, it can not be an abstract noun…
Other similar examples exist, but it is not worth the worry of trying to figure it out. The best thing you can probably do is to arm your pupils with a list of confirmed abstract nouns and teach them the principle behind them being such.
Common Abstract Nouns
Showing Human Qualities or Characteristics
beauty, bravery, brilliance, brutality. calm, charity, coldness, compassion, confidence, contentment, courage, curiosity, dedication, determination, ego, elegance, enthusiasm, envy, evil, fear, generosity, goodness, graciousness, hatred, honesty, honour, hope, humility, humour insanity, integrity, intelligence, jealousy, kindness, loyalty, maturity, patience, perseverance, sanity, self-control, sensitivity, sophistication, stupidity, sympathy, talent, tolerance, trust, weakness, wisdom, wit
adoration, amazement, anger, anxiety apprehension, clarity, delight, despair, disappointment, disbelief, excitement, fascination, friendship, grief, happiness, hate, helpfulness, helplessness, infatuation, joy, love, misery, pain, pleasure, power, pride, relaxation, relief, romance, sadness, satisfaction, silliness, sorrow, strength, surprise, tiredness, uncertainty, wariness, weariness, worry
More Examples of Abstract Nouns
ability, adventure, artistry, awe, belief , chaos, comfort, communication, consideration, crime, culture, customer service, death, deceit, defeat, democracy, dexterity, dictatorship, disquiet, disturbance, dream, energy, enhancement, failure, faith, faithfulness, faithlessness, favouritism, forgiveness, fragility, frailty, freedom, grace, hearsay, homelessness, hurt, idea, idiosyncrasy, imagination, impression, improvement, inflation, information, justice, knowledge, law, liberty, life, loss, luck, luxury, memory, mercy, motivation, movement, need, omen, opinion, opportunism, opportunity, parenthood, patriotism, peace, peculiarity, poverty, principle, reality, redemption, refreshment, riches, rumour, service, shock, skill, slavery, sleep, speculation, speed, strictness, submission, success, thought, thrill, truth, unemployment, unreality, victory, wealth.
There is this useful word list of abstract nouns with definitions which, in addition to simply defining their meaning, demonstrates how abstract nouns are used in context, .
Nouns : Compound Nouns
A compound noun is a noun that is made up of at least two words: firewood, pet shop, jack-in-the-box, blackboard,post office, six-pack
There are three forms for compound nouns:
- With Spaces: ice cream, water tank, printer cartridge
- Without Spaces: footprint, stopwatch, suitcase
- With Hyphens: merry-go-round, passer-by, daughter-in-law
There are no hard and fast rules on which form to use. Just be aware that many of the words exist in more than one form.
You’ll just have to look them up if there is any doubt, Google is as good as anywhere…
Composition of Compound Nouns
Though there is no need for pupils of primary school age to be aware of any of what follows, I have included it for interest’s sake…
Most compound nouns are made up of two nouns or an adjective and a noun. For example:
- Noun + Noun: bath tub, witchcraft, seaman, wall-paper
- Adjective + Noun: hardware, highway, full moon, whiteboard
|noun + noun||bedroom
|noun + verb||rainfall
|noun + adverb||hanger-on
|verb + noun||washing machine
|verb + adverb||lookout
|adverb + noun||onlooker
|adjective + verb||dry-cleaning
|adjective + noun||greenhouse
|adverb + verb||output
Nouns : Common Nouns & Proper Nouns
A noun is a kind of word that gives a name to a person, a place, an object, an animal, a substance, a quantity, a period of time, a distance; the list goes on.
Everything around us is represented by a word that gives it its name and that word is called a noun.
The first major distinction to draw is between common nouns and supermarket.
The common noun, is by far the largest group of nouns. The job of the common noun is to give a name to the everyday things all around us. Take a look around your surroundings and make a list of objects which you can see, the list will most likely be made up entirely of common nouns : chair, table, floor, pen, ceiling, ruler, paper, floor, tree, grass – the list is virtually endless…
Common nouns do NOT get capital letters.
A proper noun is the name given to a specific person, place, object, animal, etc : Susan, London, Blackpool Tower, Rex).
Proper nouns ALWAYS get capital letters.
|Common Noun||Proper Noun|
|car||Jaguar, Land Rover, Fiesta|
|forest||Forest of Dean|
|cat, dog, budgie||Tiddles, Fido, Joey|
|sea, ocean||North Sea, Atlantic Ocean|
|pub||The Blacksmith’s Arms|
|monarch||Queen Elizabeth II|
|supermarket||Tesco, Morrison’s, Sainsbury’s|
|tea||PG Tips, Yorkshire Tea|
Common nouns may be further subdivided into a number of categories; all common nouns will fall into at least one of these categories, For the purposes of the primary school classroom (in addition to common nouns and proper nouns) if a student can identify compound, collective and abstract nouns this is probably sufficient. The others have been included for the sake of completeness and interest:
- compound nouns
- collective nouns
- abstract nouns
- concrete nouns
- countable nouns
- non-countable nouns
- gender specific nouns
- verbal nouns
Nouns : Gender
Generally speaking, there is no distinction between masculine and feminine when it comes to nouns in English.
However, gender is sometimes shown by different forms or different words when referring to some people or animals people or animals.
|buck||doe||rabbit or deer|
Many nouns that refer to people’s roles and jobs can be used for either a masculine or a feminine subject, like for example cousin, teenager, teacher, doctor, student, friend, colleague
- Helen is my colleague. She is a teacher.
- Phillip is doctor. He is my friend.
- Darren is my cousin. He is a student.
- Jenny is my cousin. She is a student.
Sometimes as a term of endearment non gender specific nouns are given gendered pronouns.
- Dad loves his old sport scar . He takes her (the car) for a spin every Saturday;
- Britain is popular with her (Britains’s) neighbours since the Brexit referendum.
- Cruised across the Atlantic in the QEII ; she (the QEII ) is a fabulous ship.
Nouns : Singular & Plural
There are a number of different rules when it comes to making nouns plural…
A noun that refers to a SINGLE object or person is SINGULAR in number. A noun which refers to MORE THAN one object or person is said to be PLURAL in number. The The plurals of nouns can be formed in a number of different ways.
1. A plural is most often formed by simply adding an ‘s’ at the end of the singular form of the noun:
eg. boy: boys, dog: dogs, tree: trees, etc.
This also works for nouns ending in ‘y’ but only where the letter before the ‘y’ is a vowel.
eg: boy: boys, day: days, turkey: turkeys, tray: trays.
2. If a noun ends in ‘s’,’sh’,’ch’or ‘x’, the plural is formed by adding ‘es’.
Eg: boxes, churches, thrushes, passes, etc.
3. If the noun ends in ‘y’ and the letter before the ‘y’ is a consonant then the plural is formed by changing the ‘y’ to an ‘i’ and adding’es’.
eg: berry: berries, cherry: cherries, bunny: bunnies, factory: factories, etc.
4. Sometimes, but not always, nouns that end in ‘f’ make their plurals by changing the ‘f’ to a ‘v’ then adding ‘-es’.
eg: leaf: leaves, loaf: loaves, half: halves, thief: thieves.
Nouns : Collective Nouns
A collective noun is a slightly different kind of noun, its job is to give a single name to a group of people, places objects or ideas:
audience, band, choir, class, crowd, herd, flock, herd, bunch, range, crew, flotilla,
Here are some examples used in sentences:
The flotilla sailed into the harbour.
Dad threw the bunch of keys on the table
The audience clapped for a long time at the end of the show
A flotilla is one group of ships sailing as one unit into the harbour.
The keys were on a ring and landed together on the table.
The audience is a group of people acting together as one.
So are collective nouns singular or plural?
Hmm, the problem is that they can be either. though perhaps this is not with pursuing with primary age students it is a well for teachers to know the ins and outs so here we go…