How Nouns Work
A noun can be a person, animal, place, object, idea, or any other thing that’s tangible or intangible. They are the who and what in a sentence. The following are the different types of nouns:
Common nouns refer to people, places, ideas, or things that are general or non-specific. These nouns are not capitalized (unless they start a sentence).
- The theater is sold out for the movie premiere.
- My class welcomed a new student today.
Proper nouns refer to people, places, ideas, or things that are specific. These nouns are always capitalized.
- The Enzian Theater is featuring a new indie film this week.
- Billy is a new student in my class.
Singular nouns refer to one person, place, idea, or thing.
- This week is going to be a busy one.
- After the rain, let's go to the park.
Plural nouns refer to more than one person, place, idea, or thing.
- I have a great view of the birds from my kitchen window.
- When I finally get my own place, I am going to adopt lots of dogs.
Compound nouns refer to nouns that consist of more than one word (some joined by hyphens).
- mother-in-law, department store, fire hydrant, coffee cup
Countable nouns refer to nouns that can be counted.
- image, house, assignment, reporter
Non-countable nouns refer to nouns that cannot be counted.
- oxygen, anger, grammar, water
(To see whether a noun is countable or non-countable, place a number before the noun. For example, it makes sense to say five images, but not five oxygens.)
Nouns are typically used as subjects, objects, and adjective.
- The professor lectured for an hour.
In this sentence, professor is the subject; a subject is the who or what in a sentence.
- John attended the rally.
In this sentence, rally is the object; an object receives the action of the verb: attended.
- Please recycle that plastic bottle.
In this sentence, plastic is an adjective because it is describing another noun: bottle.