Kinds of Nouns

Kinds of Nouns

There are four kinds of nouns:

  1. Proper Nouns
  2. Common Nouns
  3. Abstract Nouns
  4. Collective Nouns


Notice the difference between these two lists of nouns:

  1. Jack   Mary   London   India   The White House   Alice in Wonderland
  2. Boy     girl         city          country          building                            book


The nouns in list 1. are special names of persons, places and things. They begin with a capital letter. They are called Proper Nouns.


The nouns in list 2. are Common Nouns, as they are not special names. They can be used for any person, place or thing. ‘Boy’ can be any boy –Alec, Bob, George, John, William etc.  

A noun which names a particular person, place or thing is called a Proper Noun.

 Proper Nouns include the names of persons, cities, towns, villages, countries, parks, libraries, historical buildings, streets, schools, colleges, universities, hills, mountains, days of the week, months of the year, books, festivals, newspapers, etc.

A proper noun always begins with a capital letter.


A noun that gives a common name to persons, places, or things of the same kind is called a Common Noun.

The words city, country, school, river, mountain, book, boy, girl, woman, man, bird, animal, are all common nouns. England, France, India, China, Japan are the names of countries. The word country is a common noun. It is common to all the five named here. But the words England, France, India, China, and Japan are particular names. They are Proper Nouns.  


Now look at the following sentences:

  1. Honesty is the best policy.
  2. Laughter is the best medicine.
  3. Poverty is a great curse.   
  4. The soldiers were awarded for their bravery.

The words in bold italics name Quality (honesty, bravery), Action (laughter), and State (poverty). Such a name given to some state, quality, feeling, or action that we can only think of is called an Abstract Noun.

Abstract Nouns are formed:

  1. From Adjectives, as Kindness from kind, Bravery from brave.(Most abstract nouns are formed thus.)
  2. From Verbs, as Obedience from obey, Laughter from laugh, Growth from grow.
  3. From Common Nouns, as Childhood from child, Slavery from slave.


Now read the following sentences:

  1. Our team won the match.
  2. The army fought bravely.
  3. Our class consists of fifty students.
  4. A flock of sheep was grazing in the field.
  5. She gave me the bunch of keys.

The words team, army, class, flock and bunch are used for a collection of persons or things. Such a name given to a collection of things taken as a whole/ group is called a Collective Noun.

Crowd, mob, team, army, family, committee, flock, herd, swarm, fleet, jury etc are some Collective Nouns.

Nouns – Gender

Gender (He and She)

  • Look at the following sentences:
  1. Joe is a boy. He is Helen’s brother.
  2. Helen is a girl. She is Joe’s sister.
  3. David is a man. He is their father.
  4. Alice is a woman. She is their mother.
  5. John is their uncle. Mary is their aunt.
  • The words boy, brother, man, father, uncle, belong to the he-group.
  • The words girl, sister, woman, mother, aunt, belong to the she-group.
  • Nouns in the he-group are the names of male persons or animals. They are said to be of the Masculine Gender.
  • Nouns in the she-group are the names of female persons or animals. They are said to be of the Feminine Gender.


  • Now look at the following sentences:

       1.  The table is made of wood.  

       2.    The purse is made of leather.

  • Table, wood, purse, leather are things without life. They are neither males nor females. They are, therefore, said to be of the Neuter Gender, that is, of neither gender.


  • Now read the following sentences:
  1. This child is very active.
  2. Students should work hard.
  • The nouns child and students can be used for both males and females. They are, therefore, said to be of the Common Gender.
  • So nouns in English may be Masculine, Feminine, Common or Neuter. People and animals are male or female. Their names or the nouns have Masculine and Feminine Gender.



Verbs – Doing words

  • Study the following sentences:
  1. The sun shines.
  2. Birds fly.
  3. Dogs bark.
  4. Fish swim in water.
  5. The horse runs fast.
  6. The spider spins a web.
  7. Rocky plays football.
  8. Shelly writes neatly.
  9. They study together.
  10. I eat healthy food.
  11. I go to school everyday.
  12. The cow gives us milk.
  13. They went for a picnic.
  14. The horse kicked the cat.
  15. 15.   The snake bit the boy.


The bold italicized words in the above sentences are doing words.

They tell us what people, animals or things do.

They express actions.

These words are called Verbs.

A Verb is a word which says something about a person or thing.

The Verb is the most important word in a sentence.

We cannot make a sentence without a Verb.


  • A Verb is not always one word. It often consists of more than one word; as,
  1. Alice is dancing.
  2. The students are reading.
  3. They will come tomorrow.
  4. I have found the keys.
  5. He was bitten by a snake.



  • Now read the following  sentences:
  1. I am a student.
  2. The cap is blue.
  3. The oranges are sweet.
  4. He was a leader.
  5. They were happy.
  6. Mary has a doll.
  7. I have a red pen.


Here, the words am, is, are, was, were, has, have, help to say something.

These words are also called Verbs.