I would wager that most of you know a noun is a word used to name a person, place, thing, or abstract idea. But did you know there is a lot more to nouns than just that? In fact, there is so much going on with nouns that I’m going to have to write two posts about them.
Today, in What’s in a Noun — Part 1, we’re going to take a closer look at all the different types of nouns.
A proper noun refers to a specific person, place or thing and always starts with a capital letter regardless of its place in a sentence. For example:
- The first woman in recorded history to declare herself pharaoh was Hatshepsut of Egypt.
A common noun refers to a generic person, place or thing. As such, it does not begin with a capital unless it is the first word in a sentence. For example:
- In Ancient Egypt, a jackal was sometimes mistaken for a god.
A concrete noun refers to something or someone we can physically perceive through any of our five senses. So, for example:
- The priest collapsed on the floor when the mummy got up and walked away.
An abstract noun refers to something we cannot physically perceive. Essentially, it is the opposite of a concrete noun. Here’s an example:
- The bride’s joy was replaced by fear when the mummy crashed her wedding.
A count noun has both singular and plural forms and refers to something you can count. For example:
- Finally, someone thought to inform the gods. One god, Seth, came to sort it out.
A mass noun does not have a plural form and refers to something that you cannot count, usually because it is abstract. Here is an example:
- Ancient Egyptians had great love for their cats, which were seen as symbols of warmth and protection.
A collective noun refers to a group of people or things. The individual members could be counted, but the group is usually thought of as one unit. Collective nouns can be tricky because they can take a singular or plural verb, depending on whether you are emphasizing the group itself or the individual members. So, for example:
- The priesthood is never going to agree to such a change.
- The priesthood are all going to be there.