Nouns: A Complete Guide With Examples

Have you ever wondered what a noun is and how important nouns are in the English language? Well, look no further. In this article, we’re going to explain what nouns are, how you can use them, and the purpose and usability of each type of noun. Are you ready?

There are many categories of nouns in English; it’s disputed whether there are 7 or 20 different types! However, one thing is for sure, knowing your nouns will help you learn English lot easier.

Nouns are essentially words that help you gain information about something in a clause or sentence, whether it’s an independent clause or a dependent one.


Noun Examples

What Is A Clause?

A clause is a group of words that come together to make meaning, basically an academic way of saying "sentence." A clause can be independent or dependent - if a clause is independent, it means the information can be understood without needing extra information.

  • I picked up the pen.

"I picked up a pen" contains a finished action and is a complete independent clause. It contains a capital letter to start and ends with punctuation to finish.

On the other hand, a dependent clause is a sentence that requires additional information to be understood.

  • When I pick up the pen…

This isn't a completed action because it uses the word when. It depends on more information to complete the sentence. Leaving you to question what will happen when they pick up the pen?

Nouns help to identify indirect or direct objects, inanimate objects, people, places, things, animals, or even abstractly convey meaning, ideas, or feelings in clauses.


Types Of Nouns With Examples

All types of nouns can be placed into two main categories; common and proper.


Common Nouns

Common nouns are the first category of nouns we will look at and are called "common" because they are very commonly named. In fact, they are used so much that you will have seen and heard them without realizing it. They refer to a person, a place, an object, a collective or group, or an idea in an independent or dependent clause. They are helpful when referring to general things rather than very specific ones. It's also worth noting that "common nouns" aren't capitalized unless placed at the beginning of a clause or in a title.

Now that we know what common nouns are let's look at their different sub-categories.

Common Noun Examples - People / Animals

  • The teacher is here.
  • My mom is a singer.
  • The child is playing in the garden. 
  • The architect is looking at the building.
  • The baby is crying.
  • Teenagers are becoming more depressed.
  • The manager isn't here today.
  • Can I speak to a sales clerk?
  • What's your mom's name?
  • I work with dogs.

Common Noun Examples - Places

  • The park is here.
  • There's a cafe over there.
  • Schools are becoming worse.
  • I live in a city.
  • There are 7 continents.
  • We're going to the zoo.
  • I live in an apartment.
  • Each state has different laws.
  • Let's go to the store.
  • I'd love to travel to a different country.

Common Noun Examples - Objects

  • My favorite newspaper is sold here.
  • You smashed my favorite mug.
  • There's a table.
  • I want to buy an Ipad.
  • I have a computer.
  • There's a book over there.
  • Put on the boots.
  • Where can I buy a coat?
  • Do you need a pencil?
  • Where's the car?

Common Noun Examples - Collective Nouns / Groups

  • The class is waiting.
  • There's a panel of judges.
  • A crowd of people.
  • A choir of singers.
  • The head runs the department
  • The residents are unhappy.
  • Society is changing in many ways.
  • Family is important.
  • A herd of sheep.
  • The stars.

Common Noun Examples - Ideas / Feelings

  • I envy it 
  • Collectivism is important in this country.
  • Hate is a strong word. 
  • What do you respect about it?
  • Are you proud?
  • Love 
  • The movement is getting bigger.
  • Religion 
  • Health
  • Anxiety


Proper Nouns 

Next up. We have proper nouns. These nouns refer to things specifically; they name people, places, objects, or groups/organizations but in a far less generalized fashion. 

Proper Noun Examples - People / Animals

  • My teacher Mrs. Smith is here.
  • My mom Hilary, is a singer.
  • Freddie is playing in the garden.
  • Queen Elizabeth the 1st is the queen of the U.K.
  • My rabbit is called Floppy.
  • Donald Trump used to be the president.
  • Koko is the name of the gorilla.
  • Alice is my best friend.
  • George Washington was the first president.
  • Colonel Sanders is a mascot for KFC.

Proper Noun Examples - Places

  • London is the capital of the U.K.
  • Nashville is famous for country music.
  • Starbucks is a very popular coffee chain.
  • Central Park is beautiful in the summer.
  • Amazon is not to be confused with The Amazon Rainforest. 
  • The Bermuda Triangle is an interesting place.
  • Not many people travel to Antarctica. 
  • The North Pole is a real place.
  • Alaska is the biggest state in the U.S. 
  • The River Nile runs through all of Egypt.

Proper Noun Examples - Objects

  • The Crown Jewels
  • The Titanic sank in the Atlantic.
  • The Bible is a famous book. 
  • The Merriam-Webster Dictionary is widely used.
  • The Old Testament is based on the Torah
  • My sister crashed her Jeep.
  • We all love the Jacuzzi.
  • Fender makes good guitars.
  • The Sun is beautiful. 
  • My favorite newspaper, The Times, is sold over there!

Proper Noun Examples - Collective Nouns / Groups

  • The Girl Scouts 
  • The Beatles 
  • Maroon 5 
  • The BBC
  • Netflix
  • Harvard University
  • Microsoft
  • Apple

Proper Noun Examples - Ideas

  • Christianity is a popular religion. 
  • The students studied Judaism.

As you can see, proper nouns are always capitalized because they are used when naming countries, people or animal names, cities, or days of the week.

  • Wednesday is my favorite day of the week. (Day)
  • Let's go to the Empire State Building. (Building)
  • Tokyo is the capital of Japan. ( City and Country)
  • My cat is called Fran. (Animal name)
  • The best place for streaming films is Amazon Prime. (Collective / Company)


Common Nouns Vs. Proper Nouns Take Away


Click each card to learn more



Other Types Of Noun Classification

Though all English nouns can be classified into proper or common, it’s important to know how to use and identify different categories of nouns when reading and writing so you can understand their importance. Nouns can be singular, plural, uncountable, abstract, relative, or even reflexive. Hang on in there; we’ll give you a few examples of these types of nouns.


Collective Nouns, Concrete Nouns, and Abstract Nouns


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Collective Noun Examples

Collective Nouns

Collective nouns, as we have seen, can be proper or common. In the case of proper nouns, it refers to a set group of people, things, groups, or organizations. Music groups and big organizations are referred to as collective nouns because they are made up of a group of people.

Collective nouns are often followed by "Of" + the pluralized noun.

  • A flock of birds
  • A team of idiots
  • A family of geese


More Noun Classifications

There are many types of nouns in English. Let's look at some more that you might have come across before. As always, we have examples and definitions.


Relative and Reflexive Nouns


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Relative noun example
Reflexive pronoun example

Relative Nouns

Relative nouns are sneaky nouns because they help you to identify the noun that was used previously. In other words, they refer back to the nouns already mentioned in the clause.

  • Which candy bar would you like?
  • No way, I don’t believe that!
  • Whose responsibility was it?
  • I don’t know, just ask whoever
  • That’s who she was looking for

Compound Nouns


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Compound noun examples
Compound noun example with noun
Compound noun example With verb
Compound noun example with adjective

Compound Nouns

Compound nouns are super interesting, as they take other English writing devices and incorporate them into a whole new word; a "noun phrase." Types of compound nouns always include a "common noun" but can also use a verb, adjective, or even a second noun. Compound nouns give more information and context to the original word, and you’ll find them being used in English all the time.

Press the arrow for some examples.


Countable Vs. Uncountable Nouns


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Countable noun example
Uncountable noun example

Countable Nouns

In English, nouns can either be counted or can’t. A noun that can be counted usually has an "s" on the end of it to indicate that it has been pluralized. Countable nouns, also known as count nouns, can have an additional word before them, giving you more detail about how many/much of the particular nouns there are. Here are some examples:

  • There has been an accident // There have been many accidents.
  • This carrot is delicious // These carrots are delicious.
  • Throw away the bag // Throw away the bags.



Test your knowledge with our short types of noun quiz!


What type of noun is FLOCK in the following sentence?
A flock of birds.

Choose the best answer from the choices below

Possible answers

What type of noun is LUNCHTIME in the following sentence?
I’m coming home at lunchtime.

Choose the best answer from the choices below

Possible answers

What type of noun is RESEARCH PAPER the following sentence?
Did he complete his research paper?

Choose the best answer from the choices below

Possible answers

What type of noun is HERSELF in the following sentence?
Did she just invite herself?

Choose the best answer from the choices below

Possible answers


Conclusion

Now, that was a lot to take in, but as we wrap up, you should have a good understanding of how nouns work, the many different types of noun entities that exist, and which ones you’ll be using to improve your English. The study of language takes time, and you shouldn’t expect to be an expert straight away, this stuff is tough! Just remember to focus on the nouns you struggle with; learn from the examples, repeat them in your day-to-day life, and in no time you’ll be a noun master. Good luck!