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Nouns

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Teacher/Instructor Katie Aquino
Katie Aquino

Writing, Grammar, Literature, ACT Prep
Education: M.Ed.,Stanford University

Katie is an enthusiastic teacher who strives to make connections between literature and student’s every day lives.

Nouns are one of the most basic, common parts of speech. There are several types of nouns such as common nouns, proper nouns, concrete nouns, abstract nouns, collective nouns and compound nouns. One trick to help identify nouns is to look for an article (a, an, the) and usually the noun follows.

Let's talk about nouns. So nouns on the surface are pretty simple, if we think people, places, things and I always get tripped up on the idea. So make sure you include those. But I want to talk about some of the different types of nouns so that you're more aware and able to identify them, so the first pretty basic ones are common nouns and proper nouns. Now common nouns are general items; things like school or girl, while proper nouns are more specific, the actual names of those things; Central High School would be a proper noun. And we can identify proper nouns because we capitalize them. Names of places or locations, things like that. And note that a noun can either be common or proper, it can't be both.
The next set of nouns are concrete nouns and abstract nouns. Now, concrete nouns are those you can experience with the five senses. So things you can actually put your hands on or package up in a box and send somebody. Things like dirt or bacon, right? We have all these things we can put our hands on, we can smell them. But abstract nouns you can't experience with your five senses. They're generally those ideas or concepts; things like war or love. So you can't really package them up in a box and send them to somebody per se; they're abstract. And then again, a noun can either be concrete or abstract. It can't be both.
And then our final set, and these are a little bit more difficult to identify, are collective nouns and compound nouns. Now, collective nouns are singular groups that have multiple members. Things like a team or a flock, right? They're made up of multiple things but we treat them as a singular entity. And then we also have compound nouns where we put two nouns together to represent one thing. Something like a brother-in-law or even a trash-can. So these are things that can be hyphenated or they can be just two nouns pulled together as well. And again, I've never been anywhere where I've had to actually memorize these exact different types of nouns but I think being aware of them helps you to identify nouns in general.
So let's take a look and see if we can identify those. One big trick I want to clue you into is when you are reading something and you're looking for the nouns maybe in order to identify subjects or objects, anytime you see an article, a, an or the, it's a sign that you've got a noun coming closely thereafter. So let's look at this paragraph here and see if we can mark the nouns as we go through and we'll talk about what kind they are.
So we have, "I grew up in Illinois and went to Champagne Central High School." Alright, I see two capitalized, well, five capitalized words, two capitalized things in the middle of this sentence. So that clues me in I might have some proper nouns. So Illinois is a state but the proper noun is also theoretically abstract because I guess you can't package up Illinois and send it somewhere. And then you got also Champagne Central High School, another proper noun, the name of a school.
"Our mascot was the Maroon." So mascot is a thing and the Maroons are also a thing. "Some people say that the maroon is a bear." So people are obviously people, places or things, maroon we have again and then it's a type of bear which is an animal. "We even had a bear come out at," and this is a tricky one; half-time is one of those compound nouns that's hyphenated as is football and basketball and games. Alright, "But more often I've heard that it is just a color. I bet you could find it in a pack" one of those collective nouns "of crayons." So hopefully keying you into the different types of nouns has helped you be able to identify them a little bit more.