top of page

1. NOUN and its Basic Types

7 minute read

A noun is a word that names a Person (man/carpenter/ Mr.Satish), Place (river/ Delhi/ home), Thing (plant/ car/ bird), Activity/Process (swimming/ song/ sports), idea/concept (theory / plan / justice), or emotions (love/ fear/ anger) Noun as Subject and Subject Complement: Sonia1 is a teacher2 [1: subject, 2: subject complement] Noun as Objects: Pass me[2] the salad[1]. [1: direct object; 2: indirect object] Noun as Object Complement: The jury declared the culprit[1] a convict[2]. [1: direct object, 2: object complement] Noun as Appositive: My sister, Sonia[1], is a teacher.[1: appositive] Noun as Noun Modifier: chess[1] player [1: a noun modifying another noun ‘player’] Noun as Object of Preposition: The book is on[1] the table[2]. [1: preposition, 2: object of preposition]. Nouns can be classified in three broad ways namely: 1) Proper and Common Noun 2) Concrete and Abstract Noun 3) Collective Noun. Concrete Noun, Abstract Noun and Collective Noun may be further be subdivided into Count(able) and Non-Count(able) nouns.


Proper and Common Noun

By naming, Proper noun distinguishes a Common noun. Narmada (river), Einstein (scientist), Chess (indoor board game), Quit India (movement), Flipkart (online shop), Big Baazar (provision store), Renault Duster (car), Atma Nirbhar Bharat (slogan/scheme), Legrand (electric switch), Charmis (beauty parlour), Louvre (museum) are examples of Proper Noun. Noun in brackets ( ) are Common Nouns.

Common nouns depend upon the basis of categorisation/classification, which denote a class/category of subtypes.

Animal> Mammal> Quadruped> Herbivore> Cow> Jersey> JUGNI

Animal> Mammal> Quadruped> Carnivore> Dog> Rottweiler> Male> SULTAN

Following examples elucidate examples preceding Noun as super class of of the following sub class noun and also subject-complement relationship of with respect to singular and plural.

JUGNI is a Jersey cow. / SULTAN is a male Rottweiler. [ Jersey/ male define distinguishing sub class different from another class such as 'female']

Cows are quadruped. [Complement need not be plural since it refers to a class]

Dogs are carnivore. [ Subject is always a subclass when subject complement is a super class]

Cows are quadruped herbivores. / Dog is a quadruped carnivore. [In case of more than one class in the complement, last noun must be singular or plural depending upon the subject noun]

Quadruped herbivores are mammal. [When subject contains more than one class noun, last noun becomes plural to make the compound subject noun plural]

Dog is a mammal (animal). [Since all mammals are animals, there is no need to mention 'animal' after 'mammal' unlike 'male/female dog']


Collective Nouns

Collective Nouns refer to groups consisting of more than one individual / entity belonging to the same class which is a Countable Common Noun. Examples: troupe (of dancers), orchestra (of varied instrumentalists), jury (of judges)

Following are collective nouns and used mostly as singular:

Hockey association, Club (football players and managers), class (of 1983 batch mates), community (of believers/ Lingayats), choir (of singers), crowd (of fans/ agitators), committee (of experts), council (of ministers), jury (of judges), troupe (of artists), pack of wolves/ hyenas),company, couple, corporation, department, electorate, enemy, family, firm, generation, government, group, press, public, school, staff, team, faculty of science, senate, society, nation, parliament

http://www.focus.olsztyn.pl/collective-nouns.html


the publicis outraged, the jury was unanimous in their verdict, the jury (members) were divided in their verdict, theirs is a happy family, the family (members) are at loggerheads with each other over property, the couple works in the same office, the coupleare staying separately. The crowdis restless and shouting slogan. The crowd (of individuals) have gathered/dispersed. [Note that when members of a group act as individual subjects, the group is treated as plural.]


Collective nouns which are normally used as plural are:

clothes. cattle, vermin, people, police, poultry, gentry, audience, clergy, majority, minority, navy, peasantry, public, folk;


Concrete and Abstract Nouns

Person/ Place/ Thing are CONCRETE Nouns which have physicality and may be perceived through five senses. Matters of mind such as Idea/ Concept/Emotions and Activity/Process are termed as ABSTRACT Noun which are intangible. Abstract Nouns abstract in one word, a description of behaviour, trait, narrative, subject, topic etc.

Examples of Concrete Nouns: book, child, table, apartment, shop, river, stairs, car, wood, roof, forest, bread, cheese, oil, water, coffee, fire, heat, ice, ocean, star, painting, office, train, road, sky, air, virus, atom, electron, flood, lightening, food, sand, poem, money

Concrete nouns can be identified by function (kitchen knife), location (ceiling fan), type (vegetarian food, carnivorous animal), quantifiable by number ( a jury of 3 judges, 1 litre of water, ¼ Kg of sugar), by profession/ designation ( an accountant , The Prime Minister), by a name (Mr.Modi, The Taj Hotel, The Ganges). Therefore 1) Proper Noun, 2) Common Noun , 3) Collective Noun, 4) Countable (quantified by Cardinal numbers) Nouns and 5) Non countable (or quantified by by Real numbers or Indefinite articles) Mass Noun can be treated as subcategories of Concrete Noun.

Examples of Abstract Nouns: anger, hope, dream, jealousy, idea, thought, Economics, Physics, marriage, year, time, cuisine, childhood, youth, death, accident, swimming, heating, feeding, choreography, architecture, investigation, triangle, formula, communism, curse, magic, witchcraft, poetry, debate, cost, value, policy, pollution, progress, travel, furniture, song, lecture. Following examples are Abstract nouns by category.

Quality – beauty, brilliance, brightness, hardness, softness, strength, ugliness

Trait - boldness, bravery, cleverness, courage, dedication, determination, fearlessness, generosity, goodness, honesty, humility, intelligence, kindness, obedience, patience, prudence, weakness, wisdom

Feelings - anxiety, compassion, disappointment, fear, hope, love, pleasure, satisfaction, sensitivity, stress, sympathy

Emotions - anger, despair, ecstasy, grief, hate, indifference, joy, remorse, sorrow

Action Outcome – advance, beginning, choice, creation, development, flight, idea, imagination, judgment, laughter, movement, performance, practice, revenge, theft

State – chaos, death, disaster, freedom, happiness, liberty, misery, nervousness, optimism, pessimism, poverty, slavery, sickness, sleep

Idea – belief, capitalism, curiosity, democracy, friendship, humour, information, knowledge, pain, sacrifice, success, thought, trust, truth, wisdom

Concepts –accommodation, causality, charity, chivalry, comfort, communication, culture, decency, deceit, dream, energy, ethics, faith, force, gravity, independence, information, karma, motivation, opportunity, perseverance, relativity, time, transport, unity, wonder

Events: accident, adventure, birthday, career, death, future, holiday, life, marriage, past, present

Stage - adulthood, childhood, boyhood, manhood, youth


More Examples



Deverbal and Verbal Action – Nouns

These Nouns which are special class of Abstract Nouns are derived from Verb but differ from Gerund. Verb followed by 'ing' and functioning both as Verb and Noun, are called Gerund. Following examples elucidate how they are different from each other.


Deverbal Noun: I lost money because of investments in shares.

Verbal Action Noun: Revival of (reviving) this project would need investment of considerable time and energy.

Simple Gerund: Investing in shares can be risky.

Complex Gerund: I had warned you against the investing in automotive stocks, in particular.


Deverbal Noun: She did not get the expected rating.

Simple Gerund: All the performers were superb and rating them was not easy for the judges. / The current system of rating is faulty.

Complex Gerund: The rating of candidates is done based on 5 parameters.


Deverbal Noun: Connection of apparently unrelated events gradually started to become clear. Loose connections can be hazardous.

Verbal Action Noun: Any wrong connection of wires can damage the components.

Simple Gerund: This puzzle is about connecting all 9 dots with no more than 4 straight lines.

Complex Gerund: It is the connecting of the last dot to the rest which is eluding my imagination.


Verbal Action Noun: Excess consumption of alcohol is harmful.

Simple Gerund: Consuming tea without milk and without boiling is actually good.

Complex Gerund: Apart from following a strict dietary discipline, I have drastically reduced the consuming of tea for treatment of acidity.


Deverbal Noun: There have been several withdrawals from the account in last one month.

Verbal Action Noun: Withdrawal of forces from the border at this stage will be a strategic mistake.

Simple Gerund: The process of withdrawing the forces from border has already started.

Complex Gerund: The withdrawing of forces has to be gradual while maintaining strict vigil.


Deverbal Noun: Please avoid unnecessary purchases.

Verbal Action Noun: Purchase of clothes and shoes would require one full day.

Simple Gerund: We couldn’t afford purchasing even a second hand black and white TV for a long time.

Complex Gerund: She didn’t like my purchasing of expensive clothes. / The purchasing of clothes alone took half a day.

  • Deverbal nouns do not denote any action. They are more like Concrete Nouns.

  • Simple Gerunds function more like a verb which can take object and adverb like a verb.

  • Complex Gerund derived from transitive verb functions like a Noun Phrase. It is preceded by article ‘The’ and usually followed by preposition ‘of’ for emphasis on action where agent of the action is also important.

  • In case Gerund is derived from Intransitive verb, preposition ‘of’ is not used. Example: ‘Our leaving early turned out to be a fortuitous decision.’; ‘My conservative parents didn’t approve of my studying in a co-ed school.’ Notice that the pattern is: Possessive Pronoun + Gerund. Further notice that though gerund behaves as a Noun since it follows possessive pronoun, it must also be followed by adverb or preposition or object just like a Verb.

  • In case of Complex Gerund derived from ergative intransitive verb, preposition ‘of’ is required. Example: ‘The sinking of the ship took one week.’; ‘Boiling of hard water takes longer time.’ 'Drying of clothes will be faster with hot air blower.' Notice that in these cases agent is absent since root verb is ergative.

  • Action Noun derived from transitive verb and followed usually by ‘of’ is similar to Complex Gerund but emphasis is more on Outcome of Action as is ‘withdrawal’ which is outcome of the action by the verb ‘withdraw’ as opposed to the action of ‘withdrawing’. Agent of action is not so important.

  • Being a Noun, Action Noun can take an adjective as in ‘rapid/gradual withdrawal’.

Next Article on Noun 2 of 10 > CLICK HERE for More of Free Post Articles

All About Nouns

6 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

What determines anyone’s vocabulary is one's existing repertoire of words (also known as 'lexicon') and one's ability to use the right word with ease – almost instinctively – to convey exactly what on

bottom of page