A word that we use for giving a name to a person, place, thing, quality, idea or action is called noun.


There are five different kinds of nouns. They are:
  1. Proper Nouns
  2. Common Nouns
  3. Collective Nouns
  4. Material Nouns
  5. Abstract Nouns

1. Proper Nouns. A proper noun is the name of a particular person or thing.

          John was a disciple of Christ.
          Dhaka is the capital of Bangladesh.
          The Padma is one of the largest rivers of Bangladesh.
          Islam is a world religion.

John, and Christ in the first sentence are the names of particular persons. They are proper nouns. Similarly, Dhaka, Bangladesh, the Padma, Islam are also names of particular places or things and are therefore proper nouns.

1.1Some common nouns become proper nouns when they are used to name a particular thing. Words like war, nation, sea, revolution, university are all common nouns but they become proper nouns in the following names:

World War I
United Nations Organization
Red Sea
October Revolution
University of Dhaka

1.2 Some proper nouns may be used as common nouns. This happens when we use proper nouns to describe persons or things. Byron is a proper noun. But look at the following sentence:

Nazrul is the Byron of Bangladesh. (Byron is the greatest English poet)

2. Common nouns. A common noun is a name which we give to any person or thing of the same kind or class.

  Solomon was a wise king.
  London is a nice city.
  The Bible is a sacred book.

In the first sentence Solomon is the name of a particular king; therefore, it is a proper noun. But the word king can be used for any king. It is a common noun. Likewise, city and book are common nouns.

3. Collective nouns. A collective noun is the name given to a group of persons or things considered as a whole.

Police, public, committee, government, cattle, jury, people.

3.1 Usage.

(a) Nouns like people, cattle, police are singular in form but are used with a plural verb.

  There are a lot of poor people in our country.
  The people in the town are demanding a bigger hospital.
  The cattle are grazing in the field.
  Where are all your cattle?
  The police are on duty to control the crowd.
  The police have not been able to arrest the robbers yet.

(b) Nouns like committee, government, and jury can be used as both singular and plural nouns.

The committee is in favour of the proposal.
The committee are divided over the proposal.

There is an efficient government in the country now.
The government are considering this matter from various angels.

The jury has not given its verdict yet.
The jury are divided in their views on the murder case.

(c) The noun public may take either a singular or a plural verb without change of meaning.

The public is the best judge in a democracy.
The public are the best judges in a democracy.

4. Material nouns. A material noun is used to name the matter or substance of which things are made.

Milk, meat, gold, air, cloth.

5. Abstract Nouns. An abstract noun denotes quality, state or action.

Quality- cleverness, honesty, wisdom, beauty.
State- poverty, sickness, sorrow, slavery.
Action- laughter, decision, inspection, dacoity.
Names of different arts and sciences are also abstract nouns.
Examples: music, Physics, painting.

5.1 An abstract noun may sometimes change its kind. This depends on its use.
     Mountains have a great majesty of their own. (majesty-Abstract Noun)
     His Majesty the king pardoned him. (majesty- Proper Noun)
     Poverty destroyed her youth.  (youth- Abstract Noun)
    The future of the country depends on its youth. (youth- Collective noun)


Pick out the different kinds of nouns from the following sentences:

  1. On Sunday George and his friend s went to the beach.
  2. The picnic spot had great beauty.
  3. Sickness is a great curse.
  4. The water here is very cold.
  5. The people ran out of their houses for safety.
  6. The jury has not yet taken a decision.
  7. I shall never forget your kindness.
  8. The windows are fitted with glass.
  9. The Himalayas are the highest mountains in the world.
  10. The Sahara is the largest desert in the world.


(a) Abstract nouns from Adjectives-
Adjectives------Abstract Nouns
Absent            Absence
Broad              Breadth
Deep               Depth
High                 Height
Hot                   Heat

(b) Abstract nouns from verbs.
Verbs        Abstract nouns
Act            Action
Believe      Belief
Choose     Choice
Do              Deed
Fly               Flight

(c ) Abstract nouns are formed from Common nouns:
Common Nouns     Abstract Nouns
Agent                        Agency
Boy                            Boyhood
Judge                       Judgment
Leader                      Leadership
Slave                         Slavery

(d) Some nouns are formed by combining two nouns:

Back + bone=Backbone
Head+ache= Headache

(e) Nouns formed by combining other parts of speech:

Verb+Noun= Stopwatch, Hangman,
Noun+verb=Snakebite, hairdo.
Adjective +noun=Hardcover, Busybody.
Verb+adverb= Comeback, Flyover.
Adverb +Verb=Outbreak, Inflow.
Particle+Noun=Outline, Inside, Indoors.


1. Countable nouns. Countable nouns name objects which can be counted.
These nouns have their singular and plural forms.  In this category come common nouns (like bird, tree, wall etc.) and some collective nouns (like union, team, etc.)

   A pencil, two birds, fifty meters, ten teams, etc.

2.Uncountable nouns. Uncountable nouns name objects that cannot be counted. These nouns do not form plurals. Nor do they take a, an, many before them.

   Water, honey, rice, sugar, iron etc.

We measure them by using a unit which can be counted. Material nouns fall in this class.


  A glass of water
  A litre of oil, a cup of tea,
  A dose of medicine,
  A bag of rice,
  A few grains of sand,
  A loaf of bread,
  A pound of butter
  A pinch of salt
  A brick of gold
  A cylinder of oxygen

Natural phenomena like heat, cold, light, darkness are also uncountable nouns. Names of ideas, states, qualities, actions as also branches of knowledge are uncountable nouns:

Honesty, slavery, punishment, beauty, music, philosophy, geography.

Abstract nouns:
An example of honesty
A tale of misery,
A ray of light

2.1 Some uncountable nouns like water, advice can be used as countable nouns but in such cases their plural forms have different meanings.

   The waters of Bangladesh(=The rivers of Bangladesh)
   Advices from our Tokyo office(=Commercial information from our Tokyo office)
   Heats in a 100-meter race (=Stages of competition)


3. Regular Plurals. We generally form plurals of nouns by adding –s to the singular.


3.1 Nouns which end in –s, -ish, -ch, -x, form plurals by adding –es.
   Dish--- Dishes

3.3 Nouns ending in-o form plurals in two ways (i) by adding –s (ii) by adding –es.


Examples: (ii)


3.4 Some nouns ending in –f, or –fe, form plurals by changing-f into –ves.



3.5. Nouns that end in-y or are preceded by a consonant form plurals by changing-y into –I and adding –es.


4. Irregular Plurals. Some nouns form their plural bychanges other than adding –s or –es.


4.1. Foreign words and words of foreign orgin form plurals in  different ways.

4.2 Compound nouns form plurals by adding –s to the main word or by making some change in the main word.

   Son-in-law-----Sons- in-law
   Maid-servant-----Maid –servants

4.3. Some compound nouns form plurals by making plural both the parts of the compound noun.


5.Usage of some special nouns

As Singular

He killed a sheep.
Karim caught a big salmon.
His only means of livelihood is selling flowers.
An enemy aircraft was shot down.

As plural

There are many sheep in the shed.
They caught many salmon last week.
What are the means of transport in our country?
All our aircraft have returned safely.

Other Examples:
Deer, series, swine, hare

5.1 Some nouns are used only as plurals.

The staff are working overtime.
The gentry of the town were present at the function.

Other Examples:

Poultry, vermin

5.2 Some nouns are in plural form only, and are used only in the plural sense.

The pair of trousers does not fit me.
Where are my trousers?
Scissors are used for cutting cloth.
 Many thanks for your gift.
Are these your spectacles?
I found a pair of spectacles in the library.

Other Examples:

Goods, riches, gallows, alms, bellows.

5.3 Some nouns are plural in form but are always used as singular.  These include names of subjects in arts and sciences.

Here is the news read by Ali.
Physics is a difficult subject.
Measles is a troublesome disease.
The first innings of the match is over.
The house is in a shambles.

Other Examples:

Economics, Mathematics, Mumps etc.


6.1. Noun as subject of the verb.

       The boy came home.
       Ali read the book.
       He returned the book after reading.

6.2. Noun as object of the verb.

       John broke the window.
       He earned some money.

6.3 Noun as the complement of the subject. In sentences of this type , the noun in the subject and the predicate refer to the same object.

       Mary is my sister.
       John is a good teacher.

6.4. Noun as direct object and indirect object of verb.

        George gave Mary (IO) some money (DO).
        John showed Ali (IO)  some picture (DO).

6.5. Noun used for addressing someone.

         Are you coming, Ali?
         George, come here.

6.6. Noun as complement of the verb.
         He became captain of the team.
         The general turned traitor to the country.

The nouns italicized are necessary to complete the meaning of the verb.

6.7. Noun as object of preposition.
       The book is in the drawer.
       Mother is in the kitchen

6.8. Noun used to show possession or source etc.
        George’s girl-friend has come.
       Ali’s dog is barking loudly.
       A mother’s love is unselfish.
       Shakespeare’s plays are well known.
       Great was Solomon’s wisdom.

Possession (or source) can also be expressed by using of.

The love of a mother is unselfish.
The plays of Shakespeare are well-known.

The phrases of a mother and of Shakespeare express possession.

Note: We form possessives of nouns by adding –s to them.

This boy’s books are on the table.

But when the noun is plural and ends in –s, we do not need an extra-s.

      This is a boys’ school.
      That is the girls’ hostel.

6.9. There is another way in which possessive nouns can be used.
        He is a friend of George’s.
        I have just finished a play of Shakespeare’s.

Here a friend of George’s means one of George’s friends: a play of Shakespeare’s means one of the plays of Shakespeare. We can use this form when the second noun (George, Shakespeare etc.) is a person. We cannot use a phrase like
          * A book of the library’s, 
          * A brick of the houses.

6.10. There is yet another way of using possessives.
            We met at our uncle’s.
           The servant has gone to the chemist’s.
            My son studies at St. Xavier’s.

The phrase at our uncle’s means at our uncle’s place of residence; to the chemist’s means to the chemist’s shop, and at St. Xavier’s means St. Xavier’s school or college. We omit the noun after the possessive because they are understood.

6.11. Use of Noun in Apposition.

        Ali, the captain, scored two goals.
Both Ali and the captain are one and the same person. The second noun explains the first noun, Ali. Here the second noun , the captain, is the noun in apposition.

Other examples:
         I met your sister, the doctor. 
         Marx, the great philosopher, was born in Germany.

 Fill in the blanks with George or its possessive form George’s.
  1. ………. Is away.
  2. Here is my friend ………
  3. …parents are here. Where are your?
  4. Let us go to your house. We shall go to ….. tomorrow.
  5. She went home with ……
  6. This is my notebook.. Where is …..?
  7. This is a book of …….

No comments:

Post a Comment

WORD 4 YOU !!!


To See is to Believe