What is a noun?

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Fun fact!

The word noun comes from the Latin word for ‘name’.

We use nouns every day to identify objects, places, people, activities and even to express how we are feeling.

Introduction to nouns

  • A noun is the name of a thing, such as an object, a place, or a person.

  • Nouns are often described as naming words.

  • There are different types of nouns, such as: concrete, abstract, proper and collective.

A video on how to use nouns

See how a journalist uses nouns to write a story

Types of nouns

  • Common nouns

Common nouns refer to an object, person or place. Examples include, skateboard, athlete or theatre.

Common nouns can be divided into concrete or abstract nouns:

Concrete nouns are physical things that you can see, touch, taste, hear or smell. In other words, they can be experienced through the five senses. Things like sweets, television, cardboard, sunshine, candles or piano.

Abstract nouns are things that don't have a physical form, but are still things. Abstract nouns might be concepts, ideas, or emotions: knowledge, intelligence, love, friendship, kindness, betrayal.

  • Proper nouns

Proper nouns name a specific object, person or place. They require a capital letter, because they give us the actual name of something or someone. Examples include: London, September, Wednesday, Joshua, Sarah.

  • Collective nouns

Collective nouns describe a group or collection of objects, people or places: a flock of birds, an anthology of poems, a cast of actors.

Noun phrases

A noun phrase is a group of words, often and , based around a noun. 'Door' is just a noun, but 'the bright red door' is a noun phrase. Other examples include: the widespread flooding, a violent storm.

Noun phrases can be useful in writing for building up extra detail or to determine the tone of a story.

Recap your knowledge of adjectives.

Find the longest noun phrase

Test your knowledge

Identify the nouns