Wednesday, September 26, 2012
The Rules of Writing-Parts of Speech-Noun 2
Published: September 18, 2012

Are there different types of nouns?

Nouns fall into four classes with seven types: common and proper, countable and uncountable, concrete and abstract, and collective.

Common and proper nouns
Common nouns denote types, like animal, person, and country as opposed to proper nouns that denote unique entities like Fido, Yvonne, and Ireland. Common nouns are generic and proper nouns specific.

Countable and uncountable nouns
Countable nouns can take plurals and/or combine with quantifiers (most, several, a little, etc.) and numerals (seven, eleven, etc.) A countable noun can take an indefinite article (“a” or “an”).

Examples for countable nouns are dog, woman, and radish.

Uncountable nouns are the names of elements or abstract ideas, which we do not see as separate objects. Most uncountable nouns are singular and have no plural forms. We do not use numbers with uncountable nouns. Rice, laughter, and hydrogen are uncountable nouns. For example, we say water, but not “a water” or “two waters.” (Yes, we know people ask for “two waters” at the bar, but that’s colloquial, which means acceptable in dialogue but not in narrative.) Similarly, we say, hydrogen, but not “a hydrogen” or “two hydrogens.”

Concrete and abstract nouns
Concrete nouns belong to elements that can be experienced with the physical senses; for example, dog, radish, and Yvonne. On the other hand, abstract nouns refer to concepts or ideas; for example, happiness, justice, and love.

Collective nouns
Collective nouns are those that refer to a group consisting of more than one entity; for example, crowd, school, or committee.

Writer’s Companion, Renee Miller & Carlos Cortes

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