A noun (from Latin “nōmen” meaning “name”) is a member of parts of speech whose members can appear as the main word in the subject of a clause, the object of a verb, or the object of a preposition.

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Generally, there are two types of nouns.

  1. Concrete noun
  2. Abstract noun

Concrete: It refers to a physical object in the real world. So, if I can interact with a noun with any of the five senses as listed below, it’s a concrete noun.

  1. Touch
  2. See
  3. Smell
  4. Taste
  5. Hear

Abstract: It refers to an idea or concept that does not exist in the real world.

Some examples of Concrete and Abstract nouns.


Further, we elaborate concrete nouns as:

ProperIt is a name of a particular person, place, animal, and thing. (John, Delhi, India, Taj Mahal)
CommonIt is the name of a group of similar things. (boy, city, country, player)
MaterialIt refers to a material from which things are made. (gold, silver, wood, iron, cloth)
CollectiveIt is a collection of things taken as a whole. (class of students, a herd of animals, a gang of thieves)


  1. It doesn’t take articles. Because we use article to make something definite, but proper noun already has their uniqueness and unique identities. Hence, it doesn’t need articles.
  2. It starts with a capital letter.
  3. It is always singular.


Proper noun example by Alok Pandey, an English teacher

If a proper noun is used as a common noun, the article is used.

  1. Kalidas is the Shakespeare (common noun) of India.
  2. Prabhudeva is the Michael Jackson (common noun) of India.
  3. Kashmir is the Switzerland (common noun) of India.
  4. Arjun is the Sachin Tendulkar (common noun) of my team.

Note: All these four sentences, which have articles before a proper noun, are not the proper noun. These are used as common nouns. Below is the meaning of these proper nouns as a common noun.

  1. Shakespeare —>Knowledge/dramatist/novelist
  2. Michael Jackson —> Dancer
  3. Switzerland —> Beauty
  4. Sachin Tendulkar —>Player

Common noun

  1. A common noun in the singular number always requires an article before it.
  2. Generally, no article is used before a plural common noun, but it can have the article “the” if we want to specify that noun.


  1. I saw a monkey. (refers to a random monkey).
  2. He saw monkeys in a zoo. (no article is required).
  3. I have seen the monkey again. (specifying to the monkey I have already seen).
Common noun examples by Alok pandey an English teacher

Collective noun

A collective noun can be sub-classed under two main categories:

  1. Societal: society, family, board, committee, team, are societal or official names.
  2. Of-collective: the prepositional phrase with “-of-“. A band of musicians, a gang of thieves, a pride of lions etc.

Formation of the collective nouns: A + collective word + of + noun (plural) + verb (singular)

Collective noun by Alok Pandey, an English teacher
  • A swarm of insects
  • A Galaxy of stars
  • A gang of bandits
  • A fleet of ships
  • A pride of lions.

Note:- If collection of things, people’s actions or opinion are united or same. It follows singular, else plural.

Advance collective noun example by Alok Pandey, an English teacher.

Material noun

  1. Normally, no article is used before a material noun.
  2. Material noun is used as singular and takes singular verb.

A noun can be:

  1. Milk is high in calcium —> common
  2. A liter of milk —> material
  3. A milkman milks the cow —> verb
  4. This table is make of wood —> material
  5. Wood is useful —> common
  6. This ring is made of silver —> material
  7. Silver is white —> common

Abstract noun

Generally, no article is used before it.

  • Friendship is precious.
  • Life is beautiful.
  • Silence is golden.

We use an article when we specify it.

  • The life of wise people is beautiful.
  • The friendship between those two children is precious.
  • The silence around us is golden.