What is a Noun?

learn english grammar noun

Almost everyone has played this game in their childhood. Let’s take out some time and revisit those memory lanes again to strengthen our know-how about things which we are already aware of English Grammar!

A Noun is a word used as the name of a person, place or thing.

For ex: New-Delhi is the capital of India.

Nouns are words used to describe the surroundings around you. Nouns are the most-used parts of speech in every phase of English whether it’s conversing, reading or listening.

Whatever you can see, feel, touch, smell or taste can be termed as a noun.

Nouns can play the role of subject, direct object, indirect object, subject complement, object complement, appositive or adjective.

  • Nouns as subject: The subject of the sentence comes before the verb. When you say, “The dog ate the bone,” the subject is the dog.
  • Nouns as direct object: A noun which receives the action by the subject. When you say, “Pass that pen to her”, the direct object is the pen (what is being given).
  • Nouns as an indirect object: A noun that is the recipient of the direct object. When you say, “Pass that pen to her,” the indirect object is her (to whom the books are given).
  • Nouns as subject and object complement: Subject Complements follow linking verbs like to be, seem or become. When we say, “Pratik is a dancer,” it means a dancer is what Pratik is.

Verbs that denote making, naming or creating are often followed by object complements. When we say, “School gave him a name, Ranveer,” where the direct object is completed by the object complement.

  • Nouns as Appositives: When one noun follows another to describe it, the noun which follows is said to be in apposition to the noun which comes before it, apposition means placing near. When you say, “Ryan, our head-boy, stood first in the class,” we see that Ryan and our head-boy are one and the same person. The noun head-boy follows the noun Ryan simply to which Ryan is referred to.
  • Nouns as objects of prepositions: These are the nouns which follow the prepositions in prepositional phrases. For ex: Gargi swung her tennis racket at Kiara.

Types of Noun:

Rita is a good girl.

The noun Rita refers to a particular girl, but the noun girl might be applied to any other girl as well as to Rita.

Here we call,

Rita – Proper Noun

Girl – Common Noun


The Sahara is a desert.

Where Sahara is a Proper Noun whereas desert is a Common Noun.

The word desert is a Common Noun, because it is a name common to all deserts, while Sahara is a Proper Noun because it is the name of a particular desert.

Proper Noun: A name of some particular person or place .i.e. one’s own.

Common Noun: A name given in common to every person or thing of the same class or kind .i.e. shared by all.

Common Nouns include what are called Collective Nouns and Abstract Nouns.

Collective Noun: The name of a number (or collection) of persons or things taken together and spoken of as one whole; as, mob, flock, bevy, cluster, crowd, army, family, nation etc.

For ex: He was spotted in the crowd.

Crowd= a collection of people

The Indian army fought bravely.

Army = a collection of soldiers

Abstract Noun: It is the name of a quality, action or state considered apart from the object to which it belongs, cannot be touched through five senses such as,

Quality – kindness, wisdom, bravery, softness.

Action – movement, theft, laughter.

State – youth, puberty, sickness, death, happiness.

For ex: A strongman was holding the heavy bricks.


Kindness is a virtue which is rare these days.

Another Classification of Nouns is Countable and Uncountable Nouns.

Countable Noun: These are names of the objects or people, etc. that we can count.

For ex: books, clothes, stairs, apples, chocolates.

Uncountable Noun: These are the names of the things which we cannot count. These mainly, state substances or abstract things. Uncountable Nouns do not have plural forms as well.

For ex: kindness, oil, milk, sugar.

Concrete Noun: These are the names which you can feel physically around you.

For ex: dog, Sienna, ground

Compound Noun: These are the nouns which are made of two or more smaller words.

For ex: hairpin, applecart, table cloth

Singular Noun: A noun that denotes one person or thing; as,

Book, pen, cellphone, computer.

Plural Noun: A noun that denotes more than one person or thing; as,

Birds, books, pens, trees.

They generally end with s.

Possessive Noun:

Examine the sentence: This is Derek’s book.

Derek’s book = the book belonging to Derek.

The form of the noun Derek is changed to Derek’s to show ownership or possession. The Noun Derek’s is therefore said to be the Possessive (or Genitive) Case.

The Possessive answers the question, ‘Whose?’

Whose book? Derek’s

Possessive Nouns does not always denote possession. It is used to denote authorship, origin, kind, etc. as,

A week’s getaway = a getaway which lasts for a week

Gauri’s cycle = a cycle which Gauri rides.

Do not panic if you failed to understand this article. The key is never to quit. Keep on learning, repeating mistakes, hire a tutor and make yourself shine with impeccable grammar and Spoken English.

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