10 Types of Nouns in English + Examples

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10 Types of Nouns in English + Examples Espresso English

What is a noun?

A noun is a word for a person, place or thing. You already know a LOT of common nouns in English, but did you know that there are different types of nouns? That’s what we’ll be learning about today – with plenty of noun examples!

Make sure to read to the end because I’m going to clarify a very common confusion between types of nouns that many English learners have.

When it comes to grammar topics like this one, you want to make sure know the essentials of English grammar really well so that you won’t hold onto any bad habits or mistakes as you advance in your English.

My Basic and Intermediate Grammar E-Books will give you this firm foundation in the most important grammar topics so that you can be confident you’re saying and writing things correctly.

OK, let’s see what different types of nouns we have in English. The first two categories are common nouns and proper nouns.

Common Nouns & Proper Nouns + Examples

Common nouns are general words for things:

  • park
  • country
  • person
  • cat
  • day
  • company
  • city

Proper nouns are specific names:

  • Yellowstone National Park
  • Japan
  • Peter
  • Fluffy (cat’s name)
  • Tuesday
  • Starbucks
  • New York

We always capitalize the first letter of a proper noun. If the proper noun consists of multiple words, we capitalize each one (ex. South Africa).

10 Types of Nouns in English + Examples Espresso English

Singular Nouns & Plural Nouns + Examples

Next there are singular nouns (talking about one thing) and plural nouns (talking about multiple things).

Some examples of singular nouns are:

  • banana
  • hat
  • class
  • story
  • life
  • man
  • foot

Their plural forms are:

  • bananas
  • hats
  • classes
  • stories
  • lives
  • men
  • feet

In most cases we form the plural noun simply by adding -S to the singular noun, but there are exceptions:

  • We add -es to nouns that already end in -s (ex. bus –> buses)
  • We add -ies to nouns ending in -y (ex. baby –> babies)
  • Some nouns ending in an F sound end with -ves in the plural (ex. knife –> knives)
  • We have irregular plural nouns like man/men and foot/feet.
10 Types of Nouns in English + Examples Espresso English

“Feet” is the irregular plural noun of “foot”

Collective Nouns + Examples

One interesting type of noun is a collective noun – these words refer to a group of people/things, but are usually treated as singular grammatically. Some examples of collective nouns would be:

  • family
  • team
  • army
  • tribe
  • crew

These are groups of people, but we say “The team is practicing for the competition,” not “The team are practicing.”

We also have collective nouns for groups of things, such as:

  • bunch
  • stack
  • pile
  • collection

I’d say “The pile of clothes on my bed is getting bigger” – pile takes a singular verb, even though it’s referring to many clothes.

10 Types of Nouns in English + Examples Espresso English

Compound Nouns + Examples

We also have compound nouns – this is a noun made of two or more words.

Sometimes the two words are together:

  • seafood
  • airport
  • dishwasher
  • moonlight

Sometimes compound nouns are joined by a hyphen:

  • mother-in-law
  • merry-go-round
  • self-esteem
  • great-grandmother

Sometimes compound nouns are two words:

  • ice cream
  • bus stop
  • air conditioner
  • potato chip

There’s no rule for this, unfortunately.

10 Types of Nouns in English + Examples Espresso English


Concrete Nouns & Abstract Nouns + Examples

Our next pair of categories is concrete nouns – things we can see, hear, smell, taste, and touch – versus abstract nouns, which are more ideas, concepts, emotions, or qualities.

Concrete nouns would include:

  • table
  • fruit
  • umbrella
  • tree

Abstract nouns would be things like:

  • anger
  • speed
  • knowledge
  • childhood
10 Types of Nouns in English + Examples Espresso English

A concrete noun is something physical (like a light bulb) and an abstract noun is something non-physical (like mathematics)

Countable Nouns & Uncountable Nouns + Examples

Finally we have countable and uncountable nouns.

Countable nouns are things we can easily separate and count:

  • books
  • animals
  • pencils
  • ideas

Uncountable nouns are things that we can’t easily separate and count:

  • rice
  • butter
  • happiness
  • advice

We never make uncountable nouns plural, so we can’t say butters or advices.

And we don’t use “a/an” before an uncountable noun, so we can’t say “a rice” or “an advice” – instead, we can say “a grain of rice,” “a bag of rice,” or “a piece of advice.”

10 Types of Nouns in English + Examples Espresso English

Check out these lessons for more:

Don’t confuse concrete & abstract nouns with countable & uncountable nouns

Sometimes students confuse concrete/abstract nouns with countable/uncountable nouns. They think all concrete nouns are countable and all abstract nouns are uncountable – but this is not true. Let me show you some examples:

  • These concrete nouns are countable: suitcase, coin, chair, cake
  • These concrete nouns are uncountable: luggage, money, furniture, sugar
  • These abstract nouns are countable: opinion, mistake, relationship, dream, pleasure
  • These abstract nouns are uncountable: information, knowledge, wealth, humor, intelligence

Review: types of nouns + examples

So our 10 types of nouns in English are:

  1. common: city
  2. proper: New York
  3. singular: banana
  4. plural: bananas
  5. collective: family
  6. compound: ice cream
  7. concrete: table
  8. abstract: anger
  9. countable: book
  10. uncountable: information

Learn more: Noun phrases

Like I said earlier, there’s a lot more grammar to learn, and you can learn easily with my Basic & Intermediate Grammar e-books. They have more than 70 step-by-step lessons and quizzes teaching you grammar in just about 10 minutes a day.

Let’s make sure your grammar is correct so that you can use it confidently!

10 Types of Nouns in English + Examples Espresso English