Nouns and sub-classes of nouns


This should be a quick one? The essence of a noun is that it is a ‘naming word’.

However, as is the way with the English language, there are many categories and sub-categories within the categories of nouns. So, without further ado, let’s get into nouns. Fun fact: every sentence must have a subject, and the subject will be a noun.

Nouns can also be the verb of a sentence, just to confuse things. An object can either be an indirect or direct object. A direct object is a noun that receives the action from the subject. An indirect object is much rarer and is the recipient of a direct object.

Common nouns

Common nouns are nouns used to name a person, animal, place, thing or abstract idea. An abstract idea would be success, failure, delight, boredom etc.

There are two sub-categories of common nouns, concrete and abstract nouns.

Abstract nouns

Are names of something that has no physical existence, such as success, delight and failure.

Concrete nouns

Are used to name something you can sense with your senses – sight, smell, touch, sound, taste – e.g. chocolate, red, umami etc

All I have to say is why?

Proper nouns

Proper nouns are used to name a specific person, animal, place or thing. Christmas, Wednesday, John etc

Compound nouns

A compound noun as you may have guessed is a noun made up of more than one word; normally it is two nouns but could be an adjective to.

Science-fiction, level-cap, word-limit, truck-driver etc.

Collective nouns

A collective noun refers to a group or number of individuals, such as staff, team, jury, colony. Basically, there are loads, check this out for all animal related collective nouns.

The key point is that it is one noun that talks about many of the same.

An issue with the collective noun is that one can refer to a group acting together, or all the groups the members of a group acting as individuals.

There is much more to this subject and I am not the man for the job, here is a good resource

I will leave plural and singular nouns for another day.

Countable and non-countable nouns

A noun which is countable has two forms, one singular and on plural. For example, mountain and mountains. Non-countable nouns are those which only exist in the singular form.

non-countable nouns: air, food, sand, wisdom, stupidity etc.

Gender specific nouns

These seem to be on there way out as, and may be the least important sub-category. But they are nouns that are specific to a gender.

For example: King, Queen, Witch, Wizard, Waiter, Waitress.

My favourite category, and it is only my favourite as I think it is the strangest category.


A gerund is a noun that ends in ‘ing’ and represent actions.

A gerund is where nouns and verbs collide, creating a confusing classification of words.

For example, writing, watching, building.

Published by Louis

Spend less than you earn, Invest the surplus, avoid debt. Eat food, not too much, mostly plants

6 thoughts on “Nouns and sub-classes of nouns

  1. Great site! Consider under “nouns” that a gerund (verbal) may also be a subject, as in “Fishing is fun!”
    Fishing is a gerund. I used to be a language teacher. Hazard of the profession. Best wishes!


    1. Thank you very much Jane! It is comments like this I was hoping for when creating this blog; I am not familiar with gerunds so I will have to look that up.

      all the best!


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