A noun is a part of speech that is used to name a person, place, thing, quality, or action. A noun can function as a subject, object, complement, appositive, or object of a preposition.
The functions of nouns
Nouns sometimes function differently in sentences. For example:
Subject: Maria likes ice cream
Object of Preposition: He gave the ice cream to Maria
Subject complement: The best customer is Maria
1) PROPER NOUN
DEFINITION: Proper Noun is a name of particular thing, person, animal and place. On the other hand, proper noun is always written with a capital letter at the beginning of the word.
Example: Dara, New York, Cambodia, John
Proper Noun Examples
In the following sentences, proper noun examples are compared with common nouns. Notice that the proper nouns are specific and unique, while the common nouns are much more general in nature.
- Common noun: I want to be a writer.
Proper noun: Agatha Christie wrote many books.
- Common noun: I’d like to adopt a cat.
Proper noun: Cleopatra is the cutest kitten ever.
- Common noun: Would you like a cookie?
Proper noun: I’m craving Oreos.
- Common noun: Let’s go to the city.
Proper noun: Let’s go to San Francisco.
- Common noun: My teacher starts work before sunup.
Proper noun: Mr. Bell seems to understand what students need.
- Common noun: I think that’s a planet, not a star.
Proper noun: I can see Jupiter tonight.
- Common noun: He’s always hanging out with his girlfriend.
Proper noun: He never goes anywhere without Sarah.
- Common noun: There are a lot of important documents in the archives.
Proper noun: There are many important documents at The Library of Congress.
How to Use Proper Nouns
It’s easy to use proper nouns, once you know what they are. Simply place them in your sentences as you would common nouns, ensuring that you capitalize them. Here are some examples to help you get started.
- Brett had hoped for an easy teacher for his algebra class, but he got Ms. Boggs, whose unreasonable demands and short temper made the semester unbearable.
→ Teacher is a common noun. Ms. Boggs is a proper noun.
- Gloria had a craving, and not just any cookie would do. She went to the store and bought a box of Oreos.
→ Cookie is a common noun. Oreos is a proper noun.
- We wanted to try a new restaurant, so we went to Taste of Thai.
→ Restaurant is a common noun. Taste of Thai is a proper noun.
Types of Nouns in English
Nouns are among the most important words in the English language – without them, we’d have a difficult time speaking and writing about anything. This guide to noun types is intended as a basic overview. Every type of noun comes with its own rules, so be sure to read more in our pages about specific types of nouns.
Abstract nouns are those referring to ideas, concepts, emotions, and other “things” you can’t physically interact with. You can’t see, taste, touch, smell, or hear something named with an abstract noun. Some abstract noun examples are included in the following sentences.
Success seems to come easily to certain people.
His hatred of people smoking indoors is legendary.
She has an incredible love for nature.
This is of great importance.
He received an award for his bravery.
When talking about types of noun, it’s important to remember collective nouns. A collective noun is a word that refers to a group. It can be either singular or plural, but is usually used in the singular. Some collective noun examples are included in the following sentences.
Our team is enjoying an unbroken winning streak.
There’s a pack of hyenas outside.
Watch out for that swarm of bees.
You haven’t lived until you’ve seen a herd of wild horses.
Our class graduates two years from now.
Common nouns are used to refer to general things rather than specific examples. Common nouns are not normally capitalized unless they are used as part of a proper name or are placed at the beginning of a sentence. Some common noun examples are included in the following sentences.
Be sure to pick a top university.
Stack those boxes carefully.
Would you like a cookie with your coffee?
People are strange.
My dog won’t stop barking.
Concrete nouns are words used for actual things you can touch, see, taste, feel, and hear – things you interact with every day. Notice that concrete nouns can also be countable, uncountable, common, proper, and collective nouns. Some concrete noun examples are included in the following sentences.
Please remember to buy oranges.
Have a seat in that chair.
In English grammar, countable nouns are individual people, animals, places, things, or ideas which can be counted. Uncountable nouns are not individual objects, so they cannot be counted.
Countable Noun Examples
Anything that can be counted, whether singular – a dog, a house, a friend, etc. or plural – a few books, lots of oranges, etc. is a countable noun. The following countable noun examples will help you to see the difference between countable and uncountable nouns. Notice that singular verbs are used with singular countable nouns, while plural verbs are used with plural countable nouns.
- There are at least twenty Italian restaurants in Little Italy.
- Megan took a lot of photographs when she went to the Grand Canyon.
- Your book is on the kitchen table.
- How many candles are on that birthday cake?
- You have several paintings to study in art appreciation class.
- There’s a big brown dog running around the neighborhood.
Uncountable Noun Examples
Anything that cannot be counted is an uncountable noun. Even though uncountable nouns are not individual objects, they are always singular and one must always use singular verbs in conjunction with uncountable nouns. The following uncountable noun examples will help you to gain even more understanding of how countable and uncountable nouns differ from one another. Notice that singular verbs are always used with uncountable nouns.
- There is no more water in the pond.
- Please help yourself to some cheese.
- I need to find information about Pulitzer Prize winners.
- You seem to have a high level of intelligence.
- Please take good care of your equipment.
- Let’s get rid of the garbage.
Uncountable nouns can be paired with words expressing plural concept. Using these words can make your writing more specific. Here are some examples of how to format interesting sentences with uncountable nouns.
Garbage – There are nine bags of garbage on the curb.
• Water – Try to drink at least eight glasses of water each day.
• Advice – She gave me a useful piece of advice.
• Bread – Please buy a loaf of bread.
• Furniture – A couch is a piece of furniture.
• Equipment – A backhoe is an expensive piece of equipment.
• Cheese – Please bag ten slices of cheese for me.
What are gerunds?
Although the term might sound foreign, the gerund is a common part of speech that most of us use every day, whether we know it or not. Here, we’ll take an in-depth look at gerunds and provide you with several examples of gerunds so you’ll feel comfortable using them in your writing, and so that you will be able to recognize them when you see them.
Gerunds: The Basics
Gerunds are words that are formed with verbs but act as nouns. They’re very easy to spot, since every gerund is a verb with ing tacked to its tail. There are no exceptions to this rule.
Like all things grammar, gerunds do take a tiny bit of detective work to spot. The problem here is that present participles also end with the letters ing. Besides being able to spot gerunds, you should be able to tell the difference between a gerund and a present participle.
Let’s go back to the definition of a gerund for a moment. Remember that gerunds are words that are formed with verbs but act as nouns. Present participles do not act as nouns. Instead, they act as modifiers or complete progressive verbs. To find gerunds in sentences, just look for a verb + ing that is used as a noun. It’s that simple.
Examples of Gerunds
As you read these examples of gerunds, notice the verbs they contain, and notice that every single one of them ends in ing. By the end of this quick lesson, you’ll have no problem recognizing gerunds when you see them.
- Swimming in the ocean has been Sharon’s passion since she was five years old.
- Let’s go dancing at the club tonight.
- I’ve been dreaming of summer all winter long.
- Holly decided that flying above the clouds was the most incredible experience she’d ever had.
- Bill avoided doing his math assignment because the World Series was on.