Glad to know you are reading this right now. I am sure you really want to know types of nouns with examples. We cannot talk about types of nouns if we do not first talk about the concept of a noun itself. I have put together a post on what a noun is. It would be great if you can look up the post. But here, we discuss the different types of nouns that we have in the English language.
Now let us examine each of these types closely…
These can be found personal names, with or without a title such as President Buhari, George, Mr. Bala, Pastor Alfred, Dr. Sally, etc.
They also include globally recognised holidays, festivals, calendar items like Halloween, Thanksgiving, Independence Day, Argungu Festival, Osun Osogbo Festival, Good Friday, Christmas, Easter, etc. Days of the week, months of the year are all proper nouns.
Geographical names like continents (Africa, North America), countries (Nigeria, Ghana, Chad), states (Lagos, Kebbi, Ekiti, Ogun), lakes (Lake Victoria, Lake Chad), rivers (River Nile, River Benue, River Limpopo, seas (Red Sea, Black Sea, Caspian Sea, Mediterranean Sea), oceans (Atlantic, Pacific, Indian), Hills (Idanre Hills), Mountains (Everest, Kilimanjaro)
Educational institutions (University of Lagos, Federal Polytechnic, Ado, University of Ibadan), government agencies and institutions (Nigerian Railway Corporation, African Union, Nigerian Ports Authority, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission),
Newspaper outfits (Punch Newspapers, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, The Economist), banks and financial institutions (Guaranty Trust Bank, FirstBank, Access Bank, First Mortgage Bank),
Television outfits/stations (British Broadcasting Corporation-BBC, Cable Network News-CNN, Fox News, Al-Jazeera, Channels Television, etc.
Proper nouns can also be pre-modified such as:
‘The Daily Sun’,
The Suez Canal, etc.
They could also be post-modified e. g.
House of Lords
The House of Representatives
House of Assembly
House of Commons
Alexander the Great
Paul the Apostle
Jesus the Christ etc.
Proper nouns can be combined sometimes with common nouns, and when this happens the resulting expression is taken as a proper noun.
Examples: Trafalgar Square, Eagle Square, Stanford Bridge, Trans Amusement Park, etc.
Characteristics of Proper Nouns
- Their initial letters are usually capitalised.
- Though with exceptions, proper nouns usually do not admit articles.
- The usually do not admit the plural form except when used in a special sense, e. g. the Adebumitis will visit today.
Common nouns are general nouns. In other words, they are common as the name goes. They are not names like proper nouns but they can be a label. For instance, ‘boy’ is a common noun which denotes a label used for a young male. Proper nouns, when they do not refer to a specific entity, can also be changed into common nouns.
Examples include: girl, baby, house, road, paper, sea, river, ocean, city, town, state, villa, pavilion, roof, street, close, quarters, etc. Common nouns are not usually capitalised like proper nouns except they begin a sentence. Common nouns further subdivide into Count (Countable) Nouns and Non-Count (Uncountable) Nouns.
Count (Countable) Nouns
These are nouns that we can count easily and have the countability nature. We can pluralise them and they can accommodate articles ‘a’ or ‘an’ before them. When you think of anything that you can count, it is most likely a count noun. Examples include: boy, child, girl, pen, pencil, book, television, car, bicycle, phones, cups, lorry, tanker, chair, table, baby, woman, man, father, mother, sister, mouse, animal, bird, insect, dog, etc.
Non-Count (Uncountable) Nouns
These are nouns that we cannot count or we usually do not count. Examples of these nouns are salt, water, sand, oil, cement, powder, etc. They cannot be pluralised either can they accommodate the articles ‘a’ or ‘an’ before them. However, we can count or pluralise them ONLY when we put them in measurable forms or when we consider them from the perspective of their containers. For example, we cannot count bread but when put in loaves, it becomes easier to count. So we can have five loaves of bread, seven tubers of yam, three gallons of oil, four sachets/bottles of water, three cups of garri, six bags of cement, one load of sand, four items of information, seven yards of cloth, etc.
These are nouns that are palpable; we can see, feel, taste and touch them. They are mostly objects. Examples include: stone, wood, bread, laptop, chalk, book, table, chair, block, car, house, pole, rug, engine, tyre, broom, apple, fruits, guava, oranges, rice, bread, yam, etc.
From the name, these nouns express abstract concepts, feelings, ideas, emotions, feelings. In other words, they are concepts that we cannot see, touch, handle or taste. Examples include: courage, bravery, importance, wisdom, beauty, honesty, integrity, success, failure, etc. However, in some cases, we can feel some abstract nouns like: hunger, anger, pain, relief, joy, sorrow, sadness, happiness, gladness, fear, etc.
We use a collective noun to describe a group of people or things collectively as a whole or one entity. We can also use a collective noun as either a singular or a plural depending on the choice we make. Take for instance:
- The team plays regularly we see (the ‘team’ as an entity and it takes a singular verb ‘plays’)
- The team have departed the tournament (we see the ‘team’ as individual members and it takes a plural verb ‘have’).
More examples on the collective noun include: colony, crew, litter, drove, anthology, herd, flock, pride, orchestra, pack, troop, swarm, audience, cast, tribe, shoal, convocation, congregation, army, bench, troupe, host, company, etc. I came across an anonymous and interesting description of collective nouns found in the Journal of the American Medical Association; here it is: “Nouns of multitude (e.g., a pair of shoes, a gaggle of geese, a pride of lions)…: a rash of dermatologists, a hive of allergists, a scrub of interns, a chest of phthisiologists; or, a giggle of nurses, a flood of urologists, a pile of proctologists, an eyeful of ophthalmologists; or, a whiff of anesthesiologists, a staff of bacteriologists, a cast of orthopedic rheumatologists, a gargle of laryngologists.” Read more on Collective Nouns from the posts below:
- List of Collective Nouns for Birds
- Collective Nouns for Fish, Reptiles and Amphibians
- Collective Nouns for Invertebrates (Insects and Molluscs)
- List of Collective Nouns for Animals
We also refer to these types of nouns ‘gerund’. Gerunds are verbs that end in the ‘-ing’ suffix; that is, they are verbs in the progressive or continuous forms. Structurally, verbal nouns look like verbs, but they are actually nouns because their functions are similar to those of nouns. Examples include:
- Teaching is a noble profession
- Swimming is an all-embracing exercise
- Dancing is a relaxing entertainment
- Reading is good for the brain
- Writing can fetch you good money.
The verbal nouns in the examples above all serve as the subjects of the sentences. However, they can perform all the functions of a noun: as an object (I love teaching), as a complement of the subject (A good sport is swimming), as a complement of the preposition (I voted in favour of reading), etc.
These types of nouns show possession. They indicate that a noun possesses something. Depending on the usage, they can also function as possessive adjectives. Examples:
- The man’s car is old.
- My brother’s wife is generous.
- St. James’ School celebrates a decade of existence.
- We have submitted teachers’ lists.
Nouns are important parts of speech and we need to know everything that has to do with them. Do share this post with your friends and get across to us on our Social Media Platforms.