Noun is traditionally defined as the name of person, place or a thing but this definition lacks many things. When we say destruction and death too are noun they are neither person nor place nor thing. So the workable definition of noun is that the noun is the name. Any name is treated as noun as any work is treated as verb. There are billions of names so there are billions of nouns.
Shop, boy, chair, computer, pen, cup, stream etc
Types of Noun
The types of noun are as follows.
- Common Noun
- Proper Noun
- Material Noun
- Abstract Noun
- Collective Noun
- Countable Noun
- Uncountable Noun
Common Noun is the noun that is the name of the common thing. It is the general name of things. Remember there are usually one common and one proper name for things. For example, boy is the common name every boy is named as boy, but when we take its particular name of the boy that becomes proper noun. Thus Peter, Eliot, Rousseau, John all are the proper nouns.
Examples: Boy, girl, man, chair, table, star, river, mountain etc.
Proper Noun is the proper name of anything, a name which is not general. Boy is the general name therefore it is common noun. If the boy’s name is Tom then Tom is proper noun. Similarly river is the general name but Nile is Proper name, thus proper noun. There are millions of others like mountain and K2, chair and wheel chair, man and Percy, table and round table etc. Proper noun starts with capital letter in the case of person and place, like; London and Shakespeare.
Examples: Mount Everest, Ganges, Luther, Thames, The Wasteland etc.
Examples of Capital letters
- Today is Friday.
- Ramsay is my friend.
- I live in Lahore.
Use of THE for Proper Nouns
There are some rules of the use of the with Proper Nouns. The rules are as under.
- The is not used before the names of cities and countries. e.g. Pakistan, London, Paris, America. But when the name is of collective places the is used, as; the United States, The United Nations etc.
- When both common and proper nouns are used together then the is used with them, as; the river Ganges, The New York city, the city of London etc.
- The is used with the names of universities only when preposition of is used not otherwise, as The University of Oxford, The University of Cambridge etc.
- The is used before the names of hotels, buildings, libraries etc, as; the Library of Congress, the PC hotel etc.
- The is used for the geographical regions, like; The Sub Continent, the South Asia, The Middle East etc.
- The is used for some organizations, as; the World Health Organization, the Association of Chartered Accountants.
Material Noun is the noun that is given to thing which is used as a material in order to make something. Like wood is the material for making furniture and many other things. Similarly iron, plastic etc.
Examples: Iron, plastic, wood, copper, gold etc.
Countable and Uncountable Nouns
Countable Nouns are the nouns that can be counted. For example you can count bricks, books, oranges, mangoes etc.
Singular and Plurals
Countable Nouns can be made as plurals unlike uncountable ones. There is some rule for that. If you are making plurals of regular nouns then you have to use -s or -es.
Examples: Boys, girls, schools, Colleges etc
When the nouns are irregular they are not made plural by that way, rather they don’t have any fixed way their method of making plurals is conventional.
Examples: feet from foot, teeth from tooth, geese from goose lice from louse and mice from mouse etc.
There are some nouns that are not English rather they are adopted from other languages. The method of making plurals also came from those languages whereas in some cases English method of making plurals may be applied.
Examples: novae from nova, antennae from antenna etc.
Uncountable Nouns are those nouns that cannot be counted. For example, you cannot count water, sugar etc.
Examples: air, water, milk, sand, sugar. oil etc.
Use of Uncountable Nouns
Uncountable Nouns are considered and treated as singulars therefore articles a and an is used with them.
- You need a preparation to get through the test.
- Milk is pure.
- Air is polluted.
Remember when the uncountable noun is treated as individual thing or it may give a metaphorical meaning rather than literal then it may be pluralized, as; lives from life, skies from sky, waters from water.
Changing Uncountable nouns into countable ones
Uncountable Nouns can be pluralized when they are treated as more than one.
1. Tea is uncountable noun you can not say teas, but remember when you are in a hotel and you are ordering for two cups of tea you can say “Two teas please” similarly two waters and two soups.
This kind of noun as the very word indicates is the name of abstract things, those things that we cannot touch nor can see but we can only feel them.
Examples: Anger, death, pleasure, pain etc
Collective Noun is the name we give to the collection of nouns.
Examples: When there are many students in the class instead of saying students which is plural noun we say class. Therefore class is the collective noun. Similarly flock, herd, procession, team etc
Difference between Plural Noun and Collective Noun
Some people confuse plural noun with collective noun. Remember plural is made with –s or –es where as this is not the case in collective noun.