Would you like to learn about concrete nouns? Then you're in the right place. This article will cover everything you need to know about them and how to use them in your writing.
This guide is part of our free online Grammar Book.
I guess we should start with a quick grammar review. What is a noun, exactly? In short, a noun is a naming word, clause, or phrase that you can use to refer to a person, place, or thing. There are different types of nouns, including concrete vs abstract nouns.
All nouns can be split into the categories 'concrete' and 'abstract,' regardless of all the other types. Some nouns can even be both, as we'll see later on.
It's important to know that whether a noun is concrete or not makes no difference to its grammar or the way you use the noun. In fact, many grammarians and language authorities don't even consider these categories; they're just used as a way to denote the fact you can use nouns to refer to different things.
Here are the other types of nouns:
Take a look at the examples next to each category. First, a concrete noun example, then an abstract noun example. I did this to show you that any type of noun can be concrete or abstract.
Furthermore, concrete and abstract nouns can both be either singular or plural, with the exception of non-countable nouns.
A concrete noun refers to a physical thing you can perceive with one of your five senses. This means you can either see, hear, feel, touch, or taste it. As you can imagine, this means a lot of things are classed as concrete nouns.
Here are just a few examples of concrete noun categories:
Here are some example sentences that use concrete nouns (underlined).
I've bought a beautiful house in the countryside.
That oak tree has been there for decades.
Here's a chair for you to sit on.
They fired a cannon into the city.
I'm the band's main singer and my sister plays the bass.
We've cleared up the difference between concrete and abstract now, and by this point, you should be able to tell the difference between the two. But wait a minute, what about if a noun is both concrete and abstract? Then what happens? Is that even possible?
The answer is yes, that's possible. There are two reasons for that.
The first is that for some nouns, there is disagreement over whether they're concrete or abstract. Take the word 'laughter,' for example. Some argue that it's an abstract noun because it's not a physical thing, while others say that since you can hear laughter, and hearing is one of the five senses, then it's a concrete noun.
The second instance in which some nouns can be both concrete and abstract is when they change meaning based on the context.
Wow, it's a work of art!
Your work is valuable to the world.
In the first sentence, we are referring to a specific piece, probably a painting, a piece of music, or maybe a book. It's a countable, concrete noun. In the second sentence, we are talking about someone's work in general, not a particular piece. In that context, it's an abstract noun.
That brings us to the conclusion of this article on concrete nouns. I hope you found it helpful.
Let's summarize what we've learned:
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