Classification of Nouns

Classification of Nouns :

A Noun is a word used for naming some person or thing.


These are nouns which denote either persons or things or concepts.

Nouns are of five different kinds.

1. Proper
2. Common
3. Collective
4. Material
5. Abstract

Proper Nouns

A Proper Noun is used for one particular person or thing as different from every other as

James (a person)
Ganges (a river)
Lucknow (a city)
India (a country)

The writing of a Proper Noun should always be commenced with a capital letter.

Common Nouns

A Common Noun denotes no one person or thing in particular, but is common to any and every person or thing of the same kind as man, book and country.


The word Man need not be used to point out any particular man, such as Kaja but could be used for any and every man.

River does not point out any particular river such as Ganges, but can be used for any and every river.

Country does not point out any particular country, such as India, but can be used for any country in any part of the world.

A Proper Noun becomes a Common Noun when it denotes a class of persons or things and is used in a descriptive sense.

He is the Newton of the age. That is…the greatest astronomer of the age.

Collective Nouns

A Collective Noun denotes a group or collection of similar individuals, considered as one complete whole. For instance, there may be many sheep in a field, but only one flock. Here sheep is a Common Noun, because it may stand for any and every sheep. But FLOCK is a Collective Noun. Because, it stands for all the sheep at once and not for any one sheep taken separately.

Every Collective Noun is also a kind of Common Noun. Thus the term FLOCK may stand for many different flocks (or groups of sheep).

CLASS may stand for many classes (or groups of students).

Nouns of Multitude

There is a difference between a Collective Noun and a Noun of Multitude.

A Collective Noun denotes one undivided whole and hence the Verb following is Singular.

A jury consists of twelve persons.

Nouns of Multitude denote the individuals members of the group and hence the Verb is taking Plural, although the Noun is Singular.

The jury (the men on the jury) were divided in their opinions.

Material Nouns

A Noun of Material denotes the matter or substance of which things are made.

Thus sheep is a Common Noun. But mutton (or the flesh of sheep) is a Material Noun.

The same word can be a Material Noun or a Common Noun according to the context.

Fish live in water.

Fish is good for food.

In the first sentence the Noun denotes individual fish or fishes and is therefore a Common Noun.

In the second it denotes the matter of which the bodies of fish are made and is therefore a Material Noun.

Abstract Nouns

An Abstract Noun speaks of the condition of quality, state or action, apart from anything possessing the quality, etc.

She has beauty. Here the word SHE is a noun where as BEAUTY is an abstract noun.

Quality — Cleverness, height, humility, roguery, colour….

State — Poverty, manhood, bondage, pleasure, youth….

Action — Laughter, movement, flight, choice, revenge…..

The kinds of nouns (four types) described above all speak about the objects of sense, that is, to things which can be seen, touched, heard, smelt or tasted in a word perceived by the senses.

But an Abstract Noun speaks about the qualities and states which cannot be seen or touched and which are thought of apart from any object of sense.

We know that a stone is hard. We also know that iron is hard. We also know that a hammer is hard. We can therefore speak of hardness apart from stone or iron or hammer or any other object having the same quality.

Abstract means drawn off (abstracted in thought) from the object.

Hence hardness is an Abstract Noun while stone or brick or iron is a Material Noun.

The names of Arts and Sciences (e.g., philosophy, music, chemistry, etc.) are also Abstract Nouns.


  1. The Noun
  2. Kinds of Nouns
  3. Kinds of Nouns in English
  4. Types of Nouns in English
  5. Correct Usage of Nouns
  6. Proper Nouns
  7. Common Nouns
  8. Abstract Nouns
  9. Collective Nouns
  10. Nouns of Multitude
  11. Material Nouns
  12. Compound Nouns
  13. Concrete Nouns
  14. Countable Nouns
  15. Uncountable Nouns
  16. Count Nouns
  17. Mass Nouns
  18. Pronouns
  19. Abstract Nouns formed from Adjectives
  20. Abstract Nouns formed from Common Nouns
  21. Abstract Nouns formed from Verbs
  22. Abstract Nouns of the same form as Verbs
  23. Absolute Phrases
  24. Noun and Gender
  25. Nouns and Gender
  26. Masculine Nouns and Feminine Nouns
  27. Masculine Nouns
  28. Feminine Nouns
  29. Ways of forming the feminine of nouns
  30. Exceptional Masculine Nouns and Feminine Nouns
  31. Exceptional Feminine Nouns
  32. Foreign Feminine Nouns
  33. Nouns in Common Gender
  34. Common Gender Nouns
  35. Neuter Pronouns
  36. Neuter Gender Nouns
  37. Gender of Personified Things
  38. Noun and Case
  39. Kinds of Cases in English
  40. Noun and Number
  41. Singular and Plural
  42. Singular Nouns and Plural Nouns
  43. Ways of forming plurals
  44. Formation of Plurals
  45. Compound Nouns and Plurals
  46. Noun Infinitive
  47. Noun to Verb
  48. The Noun

Classification of Nouns :

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