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English Language > English Grammar > Kinds of Nouns
English Grammar

Kinds of Nouns

Now that we have learned about nouns, let us learn about certain kinds or types of nouns including the collective nouns. Having knowledge about the various kinds of nouns will ensure we use them correctly in a sentence. Let us get started.

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Types of Noun

Proper Noun

The first kind of noun we will deal with is a proper noun. A proper noun is the name of a specific individual person or place or thing of some kind. Basically, if the noun is a name of a unique entity we call it a proper noun. For example, the name of a person or a city or the name of a company is all proper nouns.

Collective nouns

(Source: oxforddictionaries.com)

So “Mumbai” is a proper noun, but “city” is just a common noun. Similarly “Jaya” is a proper noun, “girl” is not.

One thing to remember, when dealing with a proper noun we always capitalize the first letter of the name. It is one of the easiest ways to recognize a proper noun.

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Collective Nouns

You must have heard the expression “a flock of birds”. This is a collective noun. It is a name given to a collection of specific things. Here are some examples of collective nouns commonly used.

  • A herd of animals (herbivores)
  • Class of students
  • Flock of birds
  • Pride of lions
  • Choir of singers

Uncountable Nouns

This is what we call a mass noun. These nouns refer to things that simply cannot be counted or measured. Take for example the following sentence, “His happiness showed on his face’. Here the noun happiness cannot be said to be counted or measured. Also “The rain came pouring down”. Can you measure this rain?

So as a general rule of thumb, we treat uncountable nouns as a singular noun and accordingly use singular verbs with them. Some example of uncountable nouns is hair, rain, sadness, truth, cash, rice, bread, butter etc.

Countable Nouns

The opposite of uncountable nouns, nouns which can be counted and measured are countable nouns. We can enumerate these nouns. Examples are cats, dogs, human, pans, pots, shoes etc. Basically, it is any noun which we can tally the number of.

Whether the countable noun is singular or plural will obviously depend on the situation. Like for example, it can be, “A cat was sitting by the door” or “A few cats were sitting by the door”. Most of the nouns we come across are countable nouns.

Abstract Noun

Moving on we come to the abstract noun. Abstract nouns are as the name suggests nouns that cannot be touched or seen. These are intangible things. They can be a feeling or a thought or even a quality. Abstract nouns are always treated as singular.

Some examples of abstract nouns are happiness, sadness, idea, courage, intelligent, evil, power etc.

Solved Example for You

Type 1

Q: Find the correct sentence: All the

  1.  rice fell to the ground
  2.  rices fell to the ground
  3.  rice fell to the grounds
  4.  rices fell to the grounds

Ans: Option “A” is correct. In the given case rice is a collective noun and we treat them as singular nouns. So it will be rice and not rices. Also ground here may be a common noun, but it is still singular.

Q: Find the correct sentence: He needed to

  1. transport the furnitures immediately
  2. transports the furniture immediately
  3.  transport the furniture immediately
  4.  transports the furniture immediately

Ans: The correct option is “C”. Here furniture is an uncountable noun, so we must treat it as a singular noun. Also, the verb to go with it must also be singular, which is “transport” and not “transports’.

Type 2

Q: Ram(1) was very upset that the barber(2) had messed up his hairs(3). Which part of the sentence is incorrect?

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. The sentence is correct

Ans: The correct answer is “C”. Hair is a collective noun, so we treat it like a singular noun. The correct formation of the sentence is, “Ram was very upset that the barber had messed up his hair”.

Q: His experience (1) made him a better person (2) and a better teacher to his students (3). Which part of the sentence is incorrect?

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. The sentence is correct

Ans: The correct option is “A”. While experience is an abstract noun, it can be used in the plural form if the situation demands. Here the word”experience” is a countable noun and must be used in the plural form. The correct sentence will be “His experiences made him a better person and a better teacher to his students.”

Q: The herd(1) of fish(2) swam towards the horizon(3). Which part of the sentence is incorrect?

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. The sentence is correct

Ans: The correct answer is option “A”. While herd is a collective noun for animals, the collective noun we use for fish is “School’. So the correct form of that sentence will be “The school of fish swam towards the horizon”. Also, note it will be fish and not fishes.

Practice Questions

Q: It was a crowded city (1) the New York (2), but Alex was still enjoying the trip (3). Which part of the sentence is incorrect?

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. The sentence is correct

Ans: Option B. Proper nouns do not generally have articles in front of them.

Q: His childhood (1) was full of happiness (2) and love (3). Which part of the sentence is incorrect?

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. The sentence is correct

Ans: Option D.

Q: Find the correct sentence.

  1. They entered the girls college without permission.
  2. They entered the girl’s college without permission

Ans: Option A

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