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ELC Los Angeles Academic Review at ELC LA: Nouns November 25th, 2014

Nouns can be categorized into many groups.  Below we tackle three common noun groups: concrete, abstract and collective.

Concrete Nouns

People, places and things are all concrete nouns.  They’re things you can see or touch such as animals, buildings, cities and countries.

Abstract Nouns

These are concepts, feelings, ideas, states of mind, and attributes such as respect, pride, loyalty, drive and freedom. If you have an abstract word and you want to test whether it’s a noun, see if you can replace the word with one that is more recognizable to you as a noun – a concrete noun. For example:

  • I have a lot of drive this morning.

To figure out whether drive is a noun, try replacing it with a concrete noun:

  • I have a lot of homework this morning

You can.  You can replace drive with the concrete noun homework, so it’s a good bet that drive is an abstract noun. Try it with this sentence:

  • Do you have pride?

Is pride a noun?  Yes, because you can replace it with other concrete nouns:

  • Do you have tissues?
  • Do you have photos?
  • Do you have money?

Collective Nouns

Collective nouns are a type of concrete noun.  These are words that describe a group of things, usually people:

  • -band
  • -committee
  • -team
  • -class
  • -crowd

In American English, we tend to treat collective nouns as singular, so although there are multiple people in a band or on a team, we treat them as one thing:

  • -The band is playing tonight.
  • -The committee meeting is tomorrow.
  • -The team won the championship.
  • -The class was very boisterous.
  • -The crowd was loud but good spirited.