There are many different methods to classify the types of nouns that are used in the EnglishÂ language. In traditional teaching methods, nouns are taught to be words that refer to people, places, things, animals or abstract ideas.
While modern language disagrees with this definition and finds it to be problematic and rather inaccurate because it relies too much on non-specific nouns such as a thing to specifically define what a noun is. Therefore, much of our social understanding of what nouns are relies on the traditional definition.
Different Types of Nouns
There are many different classifications of nouns;
Common nouns refer to general, ordinary, everyday, generic unspecific categories of entities or names, places, animals or other things. Some examples of common nouns are: boy, girl, home, honey, milk, kangaroo, tiger, plate, animal etc.Â
Proper nouns are words that refer to specific entities, places and names. A pronoun is usually prominent due to its capitalized first letter and this is its distinction from nouns. Pronouns distinguish the unique items from everyday items by giving their specific name. Some examples are Asad, Allen, Tom, Harvard, Nebraska, United States and many more.
Countable nouns can occur in both single and plural forms and may be modified by numerals. Also, they can co-occur with quantificational determiners such as many, most, several, more and so on. One such example, is the noun van as countable noun. Consider the sentence below:
There is a van in that garage.
In this example, the word van is singular as it refers to one van that is presently residing in a particular garage. However, van can also be used to show its occurrence in the plural form.
There are six broken vans in these garages.
In this example, the noun vans refers to more than one van as it is being mod
ified by the numeral six. Furthermore, countable nouns may co-occur with quantificational determiners. One such example would be;
In these garages, several vans are broken.
This sentence is showing how the noun van may take the modification of the quantificational determiner several.
Uncountable Nouns which are also known as Mass Nouns
Conversely, some nouns may not be countable and therefore, are called uncountable nouns or mass nouns. One example is the word clutter which is a mass noun.
That room is full of clutter.
This sentence makes grammatical sense and is grammatically correct. However, consider the following example:
That room is full of clutters.
Mass nouns may not take plural forms, and thus a sentence containing the word clutters is wrong and ungrammatical. Substances, powders and liquids are items that are often preceded by mass nouns for example wood, sand, flour and water. Other examples could include milk, air, freedom, furniture, rice, and finally intelligence.
Mostly, collective nouns are such words that refer to a group of something in a specific or particular manner. Often, collective nouns may be used to refer to groups of plants, animals and other such entity. The following sentence may be an example, try it out.
Â There used to be herds of wild sheep on the prairie. A bevy of swans is swimming in the lake. A colony of ants ruined the picnic basket. If you read carefully it would be clear to you that in the above examples, herds, bevy, and colony are examples of collective nouns.
Concrete nouns are words that can be associated with the five senses of touch, smell, seeing, feeling, or taste. Chicken, box, cat, Asad, pepper, and câ€Œotton are all examples of concrete nouns.
Can I pet your cat?Â Â Â Â Â
Please pass the pepper. Your shirt is made of fine cotton.
Concrete nouns can usually be perceived by at least one of the five senses.
Tâ€Œhis is a noun which cannot be perceived by any of our senses at all. For example, happiness, jealousy, lust and more.
These were the different types of nouns. Learning these will not only help improve your English writing skills but also your speaking skills. These examples should be used and incorporated in your daily life. If you do so then your English speaking skills will drastically improve.