What is a Noun?

Definition: A noun is a word that names a person, thing, place, or idea.

Concrete nouns

name people, places, or things that you can touch, see, smell, hear, or taste.

Person: Man, Sarah, Engineer

Place: London, House, River

Thing: Car, Cat, Book

Abstract nouns

name ideas, concepts, or emotions. These nouns are intangible, which means you cannot touch, see, smell, hear, or taste them using your five senses.

Idea: intelligence, Time,

Emotion: anger, happiness


Recognizing a Noun

1.Noun Ending

There are certain endings of the word that show that a word is a noun, for example:

  • -ity → nationality
  • ation → relation
  • hood → childhood
  • -ment → appointment
  • -ness → happiness

2.Position in Sentence

We can often recognize a noun by its position in the sentence. Nouns often come after an article  (a, an, the, this, my, such):

  • relief
  • this word
  • such stupidity
  • an afternoon
  • the engineer
  • my home

Nouns often come after one or more adjectives:

  • a great relief
  • a peaceful evening
  • the tall, British doctor
  • this difficult word
  • my brown and grey house
  • such crass stupidity

3.Function in a Sentence

Nouns have certain functions (jobs) in a sentence, for example:

  • the subject of verb: Doctors work hard.
  • an object of verb: He likes coffee.
  • subject and object of the verb: Teachers teach students.

But the object or subject of a sentence is not always a noun. It could be a phrase or a pronoun. In the sentence “My engineer works hard”, the noun is “engineer” but the subject is “My engineer”.

See Also
Affect vs. Effect Difference
Punctuation Marks in English