Nouns for Beginners


So what is a noun? What are the two main classes of nouns? Let’s study nouns the easiest way that we can.

I used to teach Korean students too, and I know how difficult it is to make some of them, especially the “newly arrived”, understand even simple words. Now let’s start by considering the definition and some examples of nouns.

The Eight Parts of Speech are:  Noun, Pronoun, Adjective, Verb, Adverb,      Conjunction, Preposition and Interjection. For now, let’s concentrate on nouns.


A noun is a name of a person, a place or a thing.  Take a minute to look around you. You may as well want to open the window to enjoy the view. Anything that you see, smell, touch, taste or hear around you is a noun. Every thing that has a name is a noun.

For Example:

Person: boy, girl, mother, father, queen, uncle, doctor

Place: Korea, Japan, market, school, Rome

Thing: bag, computer, book, chair, dictionary

These are the two main classes of nouns: The Proper Nouns and the Common Nouns.

Proper Noun It is the specific name of a person a place or a thing. It always starts with a capital letter unless it begins a sentence.

Common NounA name shared in common by a person, a place or a thing. It usually begins with a small letter.


     Proper                                 Common

Michael                                                       boy

Samsung                                        dictionary

Korea                                                       place

Obama                                            president

Diana                                                  princess

The boy named Michael is my brother.

The brand of my dictionary is Samsung.

The place I most want to visit is Korea.

The president of United States is Obama.

Diana is the name of the princess I love the most.

Now, under the category common noun, we have sub categories. They are concrete, abstract, collective and  possessive nouns.

A concrete noun is anything you can touch, smell, hear, feel or taste. In other words, this is the noun of the senses.

Examples: book, chair, table, computer, apple, mango, radio, noise, etc.

An abstract noun is the exact opposite of a concrete noun. Anything that you cannot perceive by your senses is an abstract noun.

Examples: glory, blessing, power, wisdom, anger, hope, etc.

A collective noun comes as group and is treated as a single unit.


Possessive Noun: Teacher Hennie’s class

Examples: family, class, group, team, herd, school, colony,  army, band, etc.

Possessive nouns show ownership. We usually add apostrophe (‘) and -s after a noun to show possession.


I like the dress of Mary.     —>     I like Mary’s dress.

My friend wants to borrow the dictionary of Jane.     –>     Jane’s dictionary

Terry enjoys playing with the toys of Dany.      –>    Dany’s toys

To better help you understand and remember the lesson, here is a good noun song you can watch. Check this out and enjoy!

To those ESL teachers and beginner students out there, I hope you find this page useful.

See also PRONOUNS: Why do we have to study them?

                  Meaning of Verb – Action Verb or Linking Verb

                  Eight Parts of Speech



Filed under Grammar

105 responses to “Nouns for Beginners

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