A noun can co-occur with an article or an attributive adjective. Verbs and adjectives cannot. In the following, an asterisk (*) in front of an example means that this example is ungrammatical.
the name (name is a noun: can co-occur with a definite article the.) *the baptise (baptise is a verb: cannot co-occur with a definite article.) constant circulation (circulation is a noun: can co-occur with the attributive adjective constant.) *constant circulate (circulate is a verb: cannot co-occur with the attributive adjective constant.) a fright (fright is a noun: can co-occur with the indefinite article a.) *an afraid (afraid is an adjective: cannot co-occur with the article a.) terrible fright (The noun fright can co-occur with the adjective terrible.) *terrible afraid (The adjective afraid cannot co-occur with the adjective terrible.)
Clauses (in English)
Collocation (in English)
Intensive word form
Diminutive (in Australian English)
Great Vowel Shift
Style (manner of address)
Auxiliaries, contractions Irregular verbs Modal verbs
deduction habits and past facts
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A noun (from
1 History 2 Definitions of nouns 3 Gender 4 Classification of nouns
4.1 Proper nouns and common nouns 4.2 Countable and uncountable nouns 4.3 Collective nouns 4.4 Concrete nouns and abstract nouns 4.5 Alienable vs. Inalienable Nouns
5 Noun phrases 6 Pronouns 7 Nominalization 8 See also 9 Notes 10 References
11 Further reading 12 External links
See also History of parts of speech
"A committee was appointed to consider this subject." (singular) "The committee were unable to agree." (plural) * "The committee were of one mind when I sat on them" (unacceptable use of plural)
Concrete nouns and abstract nouns Further information: Physical body and Abstract object Concrete nouns refer to physical entities that can, in principle at least (i.e. different schools of philosophy and sciences may question the assumption, but, for the most part, people agree to the existence of something. E.g. a rock, a tree, universe), be observed by at least one of the senses (for instance, chair, apple, Janet or atom). Abstract nouns, on the other hand, refer to abstract objects; that is, ideas or concepts (such as justice or hatred). While this distinction is sometimes exclusive, some nouns have multiple senses, including both concrete and abstract ones: consider, for example, the noun art, which usually refers to a concept (e.g., Art is an important element of human culture.) but which can refer to a specific artwork in certain contexts (e.g., I put my daughter's art up on the fridge.) Some abstract nouns developed etymologically by figurative extension from literal roots. These include drawback, fraction, holdout and uptake. Similarly, some nouns have both abstract and concrete senses, with the latter having developed by figurative extension from the former. These include view, filter, structure and key. In English, many abstract nouns are formed by adding a suffix (-ness, -ity, -ion) to adjectives or verbs. Examples are happiness (from the adjective happy), circulation (from the verb circulate) and serenity (from the adjective serene). Alienable vs. Inalienable Nouns Some world languages refer to nouns differently, depending on how ownership is being given for the given noun. This can be broken into two categories: Alienable and Inalienable. An alienable noun is something that does not belong to a person indefinitely. Inalienable nouns, on the other hand, refer to something that is possessed definitely. Examples of alienable nouns would be a tree or a shirt or roads. Examples of inalienable nouns would be a father or shadow or hair. Pingelapese The Pingelapese language uses a distinction between nouns. There are several classifier forms. the first is for objects which tend to be pretty large in size and not being a favorite possession (tree or shirt), the second is for small, controllable, favorite objects like dogs, books or spears. A third form would be set aside for food objects like bananas, oranges or fish. Drinks like water or coconut liquor also have a classifier forms. A fifth classifier would be designated for things that are to be chewed but not fully consumed. The only example of this was from the book Papers in Kosraean and Ponapeic, the fruit, pandanus, is chewed for the sweet/ bitter juice, but what remains after consuming the juice discarded. The 6th classifier forms are set aside for ways of transportation (bikes, canoes, and boats). The last two classifiers are designated for the land and the house. Noun phrases Main article: Noun phrase A noun phrase is a phrase based on a noun, pronoun, or other noun-like word (nominal) optionally accompanied by modifiers such as determiners and adjectives. A noun phrase functions within a clause or sentence in a role such as that of subject, object, or complement of a verb or preposition. For example, in the sentence "The black cat sat on a dear friend of mine", the noun phrase the black cat serves as the subject, and the noun phrase a dear friend of mine serves as the complement of the preposition on. Pronouns Main article: Pronoun Nouns and noun phrases can typically be replaced by pronouns, such as he, it, which, and those, in order to avoid repetition or explicit identification, or for other reasons. For example, in the sentence Gareth thought that he was weird, the word he is a pronoun standing in place of the person's name. The word one can replace parts of noun phrases, and it sometimes stands in for a noun. An example is given below:
John's car is newer than the one that Bill has.
But one can also stand in for larger parts of a noun phrase. For example, in the following example, one can stand in for new car.
This new car is cheaper than that one.
Nominalization Main article: Nominalization Nominalization is a process whereby a word that belongs to another part of speech comes to be used as a noun. In French and Spanish, for example, adjectives frequently act as nouns referring to people who have the characteristics denoted by the adjective. This sometimes happens in English as well, as in the following examples:
This legislation will have the most impact on the poor. The race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong. The Socialist International is a worldwide association of political parties.
Description Grammatical case Phi features Reference Verb Punctuation
^ Example nouns for:
Living creatures (including people, alive, dead or imaginary): mushrooms, dog, Afro-Caribbeans, rosebush, Nelson Mandela, bacteria, Klingons, etc. Physical objects: hammer, pencils, Earth, guitar, atom, stones, boots, shadow, etc. Places: closet, temple, river, Antarctica, houses, Grand Canyon, Utopia, etc. Actions: swimming, exercise, diffusion, explosions, flight, electrification, embezzlement, etc. Qualities: color, length, deafness, weight, roundness, symmetry, warp speed, etc. Mental or physical states of existence: jealousy, sleep, heat, joy, stomachache, confusion, mind meld, etc. Ideas or abstract entities: musicianship, cooperativeness, perfection, The New York Times, mathematics, impossibility, etc.
^ Nouns occur in idioms with no meaning outside the idiom: rock and roll does not describe two different things named by rock and by roll; someone who falls for something lock, stock and barrel does not fall for something lock, for stock, and for barrel; a trick using smoke and mirrors does not separate into the effect of smoke and each mirror. See hendiadys and hendiatris.
^ nōmen. Charlton T. Lewis and Charles Short. A
Lester, Mark; Beason, Larry (2005). The McGraw-Hill Handbook of English Grammar and Usage. McGraw-Hill. ISBN 0-07-144133-6. Borer, Hagit (2005). In Name Only. Structuring Sense. I. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Gowers, Ernest (2014). Gowers, Rebecca, ed. Plain Words. Particular. ISBN 978-0-141-97553-5.
Laycock, Henry (2005). "Mass nouns, Count nouns and Non-count nouns", Draft version of entry in Encyclopedia of Language and Linguistics Oxford: Elsevier.
For definitions of nouns based on the concept of "identity criteria":
Geach, Peter. 1962.
For more on identity criteria:
Gupta, Anil. 1980, The logic of common nouns. New Haven and London: Yale University Press.
For the concept that nouns are "prototypically referential":
Croft, William. 1993. "A noun is a noun is a noun — or is it?
Some reflections on the universality of semantics". Proceedings of the
Nineteenth Annual Meeting of the Berkeley
For an attempt to relate the concepts of identity criteria and prototypical referentiality:
Baker, Mark. 2003, Lexical Categories: verbs, nouns, and adjectives. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
Understanding nouns in the context of WordNet:
Understanding Nouns in WordNet.
Look up noun in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.
Nouns - Singular and Plural Agreement List of Nouns ESL Guide to Countable and Uncountable Nouns Nouns
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Lexical categories and their features
Abstract / Concrete Adjectival Agent Animate / Inanimate Attributive Common / Proper Countable / Mass / Collective Initial-stress-derived Relational Strong / Weak Verbal / Deverbal
Finite / Non-finite Attributive Converb Gerund Gerundive Infinitive Participle (adjectival · adverbial) Supine Verbal noun
Accusative Ambitransitive Andative/Venitive Anticausative Autocausative Auxiliary Captative Catenative Compound Copular Defective Denominal Deponent Ditransitive Dynamic ECM Ergative Frequentative Impersonal Inchoative Intransitive Irregular Lexical Light Modal Monotransitive Negative Performative Phrasal Predicative Preterite-present Reflexive Regular Separable Stative Stretched Strong Transitive Unaccusative Unergative Weak
Collateral Demonstrative Nominalized Possessive Postpositive
Genitive Conjunctive Flat Locative Interrogative Prepositional Pronominal Relative
Demonstrative Disjunctive Distributive Donkey Dummy Formal/Informal Gender-neutral Gender-specific Inclusive/Exclusive Indefinite Intensive Interrogative Objective Personal Possessive Prepositional Reciprocal Reflexive Relative Resumptive Subjective Weak
Inflected Casally modulated Stranded
Article Demonstrative Interrogative Possessive Quantifier
Discourse Interrogative Modal Noun Possessive
Yes and no Copula Coverb Expletive Interjection (verbal) Preverb Pro-form Pro-sentence Pro-verb Procedure word Prop-word
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