Every day the busy world around you is filled with different people, places, things, and ideas.  The words you use to name these people and things are called nouns. 

A noun names a person, place, thing, or idea and are usually the first words a child learns. 

There are different types of nouns.  There are common nouns, proper nouns, concrete nouns, abstract nouns, and collective nouns. 

Nouns are also used as Subjects  and Direct & Indirect Objects

Common & Proper Nouns

Common nouns name any person, place, thing, or idea.  Proper nouns name a particular person, place, thing, or idea.
         

Common Nouns

 

 

 

 

 

state

author

team

song

Proper Nouns

 

 

 

 

 

Massachusetts

Beverly Cleary

Boston Red Sox

“Happy Birthday”

A proper noun always begins with a capital letter.  Use the following rules as a guide for capitalizing proper nouns.

  1. Capitalize a person's name, including initials and titles ant the abbreviations Jr. and Sr.
    Sir Arthur Conan Doyle        Samuel L. Clemens
  2. Capitalize words that show family relationship when used as titles or as substitutes for a person's name.
    Do you know Grandmother Jones?
  3. Capitalize names of specific places, such as cities, states, countries, continents, and special regions.
    Yuma        Utah        Mexico        the West
  4. Capitalize the names of oceans, lakes, mountains, and other specific geographical features.
    Pacific Ocean         Rocky Mountains
  5. Capitalize the specific names of buildings, bridges, monuments, streets, and highways.
    Chrysler Building      Bay Bridge        Market Street
  6. Capitalize the names of written works, such as books, stories, poems, magazines, and newspapers.
    Incredible Tails        "Rain"         Boston Globe

 

Concrete & Abstract Nouns

A concrete nouns names something that you can see or touch or that can be perceived by the senses.   An abstract noun names something that cannot be seen or touched such as an idea, emotion, quality or condition.

Concrete Nouns

 

girl

village

book

horse

Abstract Nouns

 

cleverness

joy

fear

wisdom

Collective Nouns

Collective nouns are nouns that name groups of people or things.  The main thought is that even though there are possibly various individual members within a group, you should think of the group as a whole - as one single unit.  A collective noun is singular in meaning when it refers to the groups as a unit.  A collective noun is plural in meaning when it refers to the individual members of the group. 

Common Collective Nouns

 

 

 

group

crew

club

flock

audience

family

committee

herd

swarm

army

 When the group is acting as a unit, use a singular verb.
The club sponsors the contest.  (one group, singular)
The committee selects the winner.  (one group, singular)

When the individuals within the group are thought of as acting separately, the meaning of the collective noun is plural.  Use a plural verb.
The committee review each story.  (individuals, plural)
The jury disagree about the issue.  (individuals, plural)

 Singular & Plural Nouns

A noun shows number; it is either singular or plural.  Singular nouns name one person, place, thing, or idea.  Plural nouns name more than one person, place, thing, or idea.

Singular Nouns

To Form Plural

Examples

Most singular nouns

Add s

cow – cows
boy – boys
road - roads

Nouns ending with
s, ss, x, z, ch, sh

Add es

box – boxes
waltz – waltzes
ash – ashes

Nouns ending with a
consonant and y

 Change the y to i and add es

sky – skies
city – cities
lady - ladies

Nouns ending with a
vowel and o

Add s

radio – radios
studio – studios
rodeo - rodeos

Nouns ending with a

consonant and o

Generally add s but

sometimes es

piano – pianos
cello – cellos

tomato - tomatoes

Some nouns ending with a consonant and o

Add either s or es

volcanoes or volcanos
mottoes or mottos

Nouns ending with ff, f, or fe

Most add s, some change f to v, add es

cuff – cuffs
roof – roofs
life - lives

Some irregular nouns

Change their spelling

Woman – women
tooth – teeth
foot - feet

A few irregular nouns

Keep the same spelling

moose
bison

deer

corps

Possessive Nouns

We often use special forms of nouns to show who owns or possesses something.  These nouns are called possessive nouns and contain an apostrophe (').  Both singular and plural nouns have possessive forms. 

To form the poessesive of a singular noun, add 's.

bee

fox

David

sister

Jones

bee's

fox’s

David’s

sister’s

Jones’s

For plural nouns ending in s, first write the plural form and then add an apostrophe.

bees

fox

David

sister

Jones

bees

foxes

Davids

sisters

Joneses

For plural nouns that do not end in s, add an apostrophe and s.

mice

deer

children

men

geese

mice’s

deer’s

children’s

men’s

geese’s

 

 

Helpful Links

Schoolhouse Rock Lyrics

Schoolhouse Rock Video

Video - Introduction to Nouns

Video - What are Nouns?

Video - Proper Nouns & Capitalization

Video - Sorting Proper and Common Nouns

Video - Forming Plural Nouns with S

Video - Forming Plural Nouns with ES

Video - Forming Plural Nouns

Interesting Collective Nouns 

Games to Help You Practice

 Easy Nouns Game

 Noun Dunk

Grammar Gorrillas - Nouns & Verbs

Plural Play

Quiz Yourself on Plural Nouns

Another Quiz on Plurals

Possessive Nouns Quiz

 Verb, Noun, or BOTH?

Think Questions!


*How do I decide whether a noun is common or proper?

*How do I know when to use a singular or plural verb with a collective noun?

*How do I decide which nouns I should capitalize?

*How do I decide when to add s or es to form a plural noun?

*How do I decide where to place an apostrophe when forming possessive nouns?