The Different Types of Nouns
The Quick AnswerThe different types of nouns.
There are several different types of nouns. These include:
- Common Nouns (e.g., abstract nouns, collective nouns, compound nouns, concrete nouns, non-countable nouns, gender-specific nouns, verbal nouns)
- Proper Nouns
- Pronouns (despite pronouns being classified as a different part of speech)
As covered in the lesson nouns, nouns are naming words. There are several different kinds of nouns. This page describes the most common types.
Common NounsA common noun is the word used for a class of person, place or thing.
Common nouns are further classified into:
- Abstract nouns – things you cannot see or touch (e.g., bravery, joy)
- Collective nouns – words to describe groups (e.g., team, choir)
- Compound nouns – nouns made up of more than one word (e.g., court-martial, pickpocket, water bottle)
- Concrete nouns – things you can see or touch (e.g., tree, cloud)
- Non-countable nouns (mass nouns) – things you cannot count (e.g., food, music)
- Gender-specific nouns – words which are definitely male or female (e.g., vixen, actress)
- Verbal nouns – nouns derived from verbs (e.g., a building, an attack)
- Gerunds – nouns that represent actions (e.g., running fast, guessing a number)
Proper NounsA proper noun is the name of a person, place or thing (i.e., its own name). A proper noun always starts with a capital letter. For example:
- Dayton Peace Accord
- United Nations
- The Tower of London
- Uncle George (Uncle is written with a capital letter because it is part of his name.)
- My favourite auntie is Auntie Sally. (In this example, the first auntie is a common noun, but the second Auntie is part of a proper noun.)
- The Red Lion
Collective NounsA collective noun is the word used for a group of people or things. For example:
- Cabinet (of ministers)
Read more about treating collective nouns as singular and plural.
PronounsA pronoun is a word used to replace a noun.
Pronouns are one of the eight parts of speech which are adjectives, adverbs
conjunctions, interjections, nouns, prepositions, pronouns, and verbs.
Even though they are classified as a different part of speech to nouns, pronouns are nouns. They always play the role of a noun in a sentence.
- James is the first choice for the post. He has applied for it twice already. (He is a pronoun. In this example, it replaces the proper noun James.)
- Some / Who / This (The term pronoun covers lots of words, and all three words above are classified as pronouns. There is whole section dedicated to pronouns.)
(It is a pronoun. Here, it replaces the common noun post.)
GerundsGerunds are formed from verbs. They end -ing. They are a type of common noun.
- I love baking. (baking – the name of an activity; it is formed from the verb to bake.)
- Thinking is required to solve this problem. (thinking – the name of an activity; it is formed from the verb to think.)
- I love baking bread. (Here, bread is the object of the gerund baking.)
- Thinking laterally is required to solve this problem. (Here, the gerund thinking has been modified by the adverb laterally.)
Compound NounsCompound nouns are nouns made up of two or more words. Some compound nouns are hyphenated, some are not, and some combine their words to form a single word. For example:
- Board of members