Nouns are words that describe people, places, things, ideas or abstract concepts. Some examples of nouns include Susan, Tokyo, bicycle, and philosophy. Nouns can be countable or uncountable. Examples of countable nouns include boy/boys, peach/peaches and child/children. Nouns function as subjects and objects of sentences; nouns are what we talk about in a sentence.
Uncountable nouns cannot be counted. They have only a singular form.
Examples of uncountable nouns.
Drink a lot of water on a hot day.
Can I have some more rice?
We don’t have much space in our home.
Happiness is most important in life.
I’m not good at History.
Countable nouns can be counted. They have a singular form and a plural form. The plural form of most countable nouns is made by adding –s or sometimes –es. These are called regular nouns. However, some countable nouns do not take –s or –es. They are called irregular nouns.
Examples of countable nouns (regular)
dog / dogs
My family has two dogs.
girl / girls
There are fifteen girls in our class.
team / teams
The two teams came out on the field.
box / boxes
Put all the boxes over there.
watch / watches
How many watches do you own?
Examples of countable nouns (irregular)
person / people
How many people are in your family?
child / children
Many children were playing in the park.
foot / feet
I put both my feet into the water.
mouse / mice
I found three mice in my kitchen.
fish / fish
We saw many fish while scuba diving.
COMMON AND PROPER NOUNS
Nouns can also be grouped as common nouns or proper nouns. Common nouns are general, they don’t refer to a specific person, place, thing, or concept. Proper nouns refer to a specific person, place, thing, or concept. Proper nouns usually begin with a capital letter.
Examples of common and proper nouns
The Revolutionary War
Collective nouns refer to groups or collections of things. In American English, collective verbs are usually treated as singular. In British English, they are usually treated as plural.
Examples of collective nouns
The team is playing well.
The team are playing well.
The staff is in the office.
The staff are in the office.
The government wants to raise taxes.
The government want to raise taxes.
The audience seems to like the movie.
The audience seem to like the movie.
My family is on vacation.
My family are on holiday.
Plural-only nouns are countable, but they don’t have a singular form.
Examples of plural-only nouns
He’s wearing blue pants today.
I went shopping for clothes.
Do you wear glasses?
Be careful using the scissors.
Put your belongings in the locker.
Gerunds are nouns which are formed by adding –ing to a verb form.
Examples of gerunds
Speaking French is difficult for me.
My hobby is playing the piano.
She enjoys studying in the library.
Cooking in the kitchen all day made me hot.
I love swimming.