What are Nouns?
Nouns are words that name or tell what something is. Thus, they can name an animal, person, place or anything that comes to mind. When used in a sentence, this group of words can function as the subject, direct or indirect object, subject or object complement. They can also function as adjectives and appositives.
Types of Nouns
There are many types of nouns. Nouns assume a nominal form and therefore can be used to name someone; For example;
John is a skillful football player.
My father is very strict.
The director is not on set.
I have to see the dentist.
When used to name a place, you have examples like;
I love my spacious kitchen.
Banana Island is such a beautiful place.
Mount Everest is a marvelous sight to behold.
At other times, nouns function to name both tangible and intangible things like activities, principles, as well as processes and hypothesis. Here are some examples;
My big bag.
The new football is slightly heavy.
Happiness is priceless.
Proper Nouns vs. Common Nouns
Although nouns can be easily spotted in sentences, it's important to know if they are proper or common nouns. Proper nouns are specific in nature, naming the exact person, thing or place in question. They are always capitalized when used in sentences. Examples include;
Will John come for the rehearsal?
Here, John is the specific person who is in question. Other examples include;
I relish the prospects of traveling to London.
I think the Mississippi is the longest river in the world.
In contrast to a proper noun, common nouns are not as direct and specific. Often regarded as generic nouns, they are used to name an item which belongs to a group or class. And unlike proper nouns, they are only capitalized when used in a title or at the beginning of sentences but not when used anywhere else in a sentence.
In the example;
The Mississippi River is the longest in the world
"River" is a common noun and is therefore not capitalized.
Types of Common Nouns
Common nouns can further be divided into three subtypes; concrete, abstract and collective nouns. Concrete nouns are those that can be perceived by one's senses since they are physical or real in nature. Here are some examples;
My shoes are too tight.
Walking on cold tiles is so uncomfortable for me.
Both tiles and shoes in the above sentences are nouns that are real and can be sensed, and as such regarded as concrete nouns.
An abstract noun, on the other hand, is one that cannot in any way be detected, felt, or perceived by one's senses. Here are some examples;
He was very strong as a youth.
The love between them is just matchless.
Lies are a huge turn off for me.
In all three examples above, the feelings or things mentioned are not ones that can be seen or sensed as in concrete nouns, even though we surely know they exist.
Collective nouns are expectedly used to denote a collection or group of people, places, things, etc.
A herd of cows.
His flock of birds is amazing.
Herd of cows and flock of birds are both collective nouns. And because they assume a single entity, a singular verb is used alongside such verbs. In the above example, flock of birds is followed by the verb "is."
Nouns as Subjects
Nouns can function as the subject of discussion in a sentence.
Mr. Paul is not angry today is an example where Mr. Paul is the subject.
Nouns as Objects
Nouns are also used as direct or indirect objects in a sentence.
Take the food to Joy.
In the example above, the direct object is "food" and the indirect object to be given the food is "Joy."
Nouns as Subject and Object Complements
Nouns can also take the form of a subject or object complement.
James is a doctor.
Here, doctor functions as a subject complement to James.
Another related form is an object complement.
Take that boy to his mother.
Here, mother complements the object "boy."
Appositive Nouns and Nouns as Modifiers
Appositive nouns follow another noun to explain further, identify or define the previous noun. E.g.
The manager, Peter, traveled last week.
Peter is used as an appositive to define further or identify who has traveled, i.e., the Manager.
Plural nouns go with plural verbs and can be formed when an "s" or "es" suffix is added to them, but there are also many exceptions to this rule.
His pets are very friendly. Note the plural verb "are."
Countable Nouns vs. Uncountable Nouns
There are countable and uncountable nouns too. Countable nouns can be counted, no matter how large the number. They go with some a/an, many, a few, any, etc. E.g.
There are three mats in the house.
Uncountable nouns, unlike countable ones, cannot be counted. They include liquids, air, sand, etc. and are regarded to be singular, going with words like any, some, much and a little. e.g., Air is vital for most living things.
Possessive Nouns are those that possess or have something. Possessive nouns can be detected as an apostrophe immediately follows them and in most cases, an s too. E.g., My Car's battery is faulty.
However, when a noun ends in z or s, some styles allow adding the extra "s" while others don't, it's a matter of choice. For example, Alexis's car is outside.
Nouns that are already plural, however, only need an apostrophe but not "s" to become a possessive noun. E.g., My Uncles' cars are parked outside.