English Grammar for You

A Comprehensive Grammar Guide


A word is a noun when it names a person, place, thing, quality or an abstract idea such as feeling.

Noun classes

 Concrete Noun

A concrete noun is a noun that can be seen or touched

Chair, book, man, dog, bottle, rice, mutton
Stone, hook, worm, bird,

Abstract nouns

An abstract noun is a word or a group of words that cannot be seen or touched. Abstract nouns refer to something viewed as non material or show non-concrete entities. Usually abstract nouns are feelings, ideas and qualities.

    l) They can be used in singular and plural forms.
   ll) They can be countable or uncountable.

There are some common abstract nouns

opinion, love, taste, laughter, mathematics, year, Sunday, January etc.

(Abstract nouns can be formed  by adding suffixes to the base.)

Common noun

A common noun is used to refer to any member of the same class.
Eg: Man, dog, teacher, doctor, girl, lion, village, mountain, parrot, country, television, chair

Proper Noun

A proper noun can refer to someone or something by naming them.
It is a name of a certain place, thing, day, month etc. Proper nouns are always capitalized.

Person: Sindeed, Andrew
London, Colombo
Country: Sri Lanka, India
Thing: Orex, Damro
Month: January, February, Muharram etc.

Collective noun / Group noun

A collective noun is a noun which refers to a collection of people, animals or things.
Though collective nouns are singular in form, the verb can be  either Singular or Plural.

Some common collective nouns

Army, audience, cast, committee, community, council, club, delegate, family, flock, gang, gang, government, group, herd, jury, media, navy, opposition, press, public, staff, team

1.The team look powerful.
   The team looks powerful.

2.The government likes to develop the relationship with China.
   The government like to develop the relationship with China. Count nouns and Uncount nouns

Count noun

A count noun refers to something which can be counted. Count nouns can be called countable nouns or unitary nouns.

Numerals can be used before nouns to show count nouns.
    Five waters (Error  Cannot be counted)
    Three sugars (Error  Cannot be counted)
    Five books (Count noun)
    One car (Count noun)
    Three bags (Count noun)

Characteristics of count nouns

     Count nouns can be used in singular and plural forms.
     Count nouns are followed by numerals.
     Some abstract nouns can also be used as count nouns.
     Liquid, powdery and dusty items can not be used as count nouns.

Uncount noun

    An uncount noun refers to something which cannot be counted.
    Uncount nouns can be called  uncountable nouns or mass nouns.

Uncount noun classification
 a) Substances

   Powdery and dusty:
   Powder, dust, flour, tea dust


   Water, oil, soft drink, juice


   Meat, cheese, chocolate, wood

b) Gerunds/ Present participles:

      shouting, cleaning, singing, finding etc.

C) Feelings:

      anger, hungry, thirsty

d) Nouns which end with ‘S'

  Mathematics, Politics, Economics, News, Measles, Mumps,     
  Athletics, Billiards etc
 Uncount Nouns as count nouns

  In two ways uncount nouns can be used as count nouns, but the units or  the   
  containers are used in plurals.

1) By adding a countable unit or a container to the uncount noun

Container:        Mass  noun    As  a  count  noun
  A bottle of        (water)        a bottle of water
 Two bags of        (sand )        two bags of sand
  A …….bottle      (water)       a water bottle
 Two ……bags       (sand)        two sand bags

Unit:             Mass  noun    As  a  count  noun

 A Kilo of              (rice )        a Kilo of rice
 Two litres of        (oil )        two litres of oil
  Four metres of   (cloth )        Four metres of cloth
  20 grams of        (saffron)    20 grams of saffron