You’re probably aware that a noun is a word that refers to a place, person, or thing; it’s a grammar concept that we learn in elementary school. And, of course, there are several categories of nouns that we use to suggest everything we encounter in our lives: We make new acquaintances. We consume food. We’re heading to the store. The people and physical objects with whom we interact are referred to by these nouns.
But what about those things that we can’t see or feel? Love, victory, and alliance aren’t they also nouns? Yes, they are, and there is a term for them that you may not recall from your elementary school days: the abstract noun. Let’s look at them here.
What is an Abstract Noun?
“A noun denoting something formless and abstract,” defines it. Another common interpretation of them is that they refer to things that are not visible to the naked eye. They cannot be seen, tasted, heard, smelled, or touched. Intangible things that do not exist as material objects are suggested as abstract nouns.
Abstract Nouns Definition and Meaning
They denote intangible concepts—things that aren’t visible with the five senses. Because you can’t touch or see abstract nouns like beauty, love, time, and science, they’re all abstract nouns.
Things are represented by nouns in general (including objects, places, people, and ideas). But there are some things that aren’t really things! Because personality traits, ideas, emotions, and philosophical concepts do not exist in the physical world and cannot be sensed or interacted with, we refer to them.
Abstract Noun Examples
They, unlike most other nouns, do not refer to places or people. People and places, after all, are real things that exist in our world. Even fictional characters and places, such as Valhalla and Godzilla, are not abstract nouns, according to this logic, because they would have a physical form if they were real.
As a result, all of them are referred to as “things.” However, keep in mind that they only refer to intangible objects like philosophies, emotions, ideas, and concepts. Let’s get out of the abstract and look at some concrete examples to better understand them.
Even though we say we “feel” emotions all the time, we don’t mean it literally. Happiness or anger are “felt” as thoughts in your mind or activity in your brain and body. You can’t eat a plate of sadness or hold happiness in your hand. People and animals can show their emotions through their actions, but emotions are not tangible. As a result, we use abstract nouns to refer to them.
Examples: disgust, sadness, anger, joy, fear, happiness, anxiety, surprise, hope.
They are also used to refer to other ideas and concepts, in addition to emotions. These abstract nouns give names to complicated topics and provide a glimpse into a large part of what makes us human—our big, wrinkly brains! While the majority of them are common nouns, referring to broad concepts, they can also be proper nouns, such as Hinduism.
Examples: Christianity, government, cruelty, justice, dedication, Islam, Cubism.
List of Abstract Nouns A-H
Abstract Nouns Examples
The word cat, for example, refers to a cute animal. A cat can be seen and touched. The word cat is not a noun that can be abstracted. The term luck, on the other hand, refers to a complex idea about the likelihood of good or bad things happening to someone. There is no such thing as luck as a physical object; you can’t eat it or buy it in a store. Because it refers to an intangible concept rather than a physical object that we can experience with our senses, luck is an example.
Abstract Noun Usage
They are frequently used to express an emotion or a concept. These, like any other noun in English grammar, can be subjects and objects.
Happiness, fear, disgust, sadness, and anger are examples of them that describe emotions.
Freedom, love, Stoicism, government, community, youth, and Cubism are examples of them that can be used to describe intangible concepts or ideas. These intangible concepts, which people can sense and experience, frequently bring people together in conversation.
How to Use Them as Subjects and Objects?
Subjects: You can use them as the subject of a sentence just like any other nouns. The word “honesty” serves as the subject in the sentence “Honesty is the best policy.”
Objects: “The cricket team never loses faith,” for example. The word “faith” is the direct object of the sentence.
Forming Abstract Nouns with Suffixes
By taking the root word and adding a suffix, you can often create them from verbs, adjectives, and also concrete nouns. This is an excellent way to discuss a general concept rather than specific examples.
Take the verb relax for example. To make them relax, add the suffix -ation to describe the general state of relaxing. The suffix -ness is added to the adjective good to create the abstract noun goodness. To make the word friendship, the concrete noun friend requires -ship.
You can’t just mix and match suffixes because specific words use specific suffixes. If you’re not sure what suffix to use, look it up in a dictionary. Keep in mind that some words completely change when they become abstract. The word for a weak person is weakness, whereas a strong person’s abstract noun is strength.
When to Use Them and When to Not
They are at home in existential, philosophical, and ideological discussions—difficult to talk about these topics without them. Similarly, when discussing emotions and feelings, they are frequently used, especially when feelings are constant or ongoing.
The problem with them is that they are often ambiguous. Because we can’t see them, everyone has their own interpretation of what they are. The word beauty is interpreted differently by each “beholder,” just as “beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”
Abstract Nouns vs Concrete Nouns
Concrete nouns are any person, place, or thing that you can identify with your five senses in the English language. It could be something as simple as “chair” or “apple,” or something as formal as “Secretary of State.” It is a proper noun that is the name of a person or a place. The physical thing you can touch, see, hear, taste, or smell.
Abstract nouns, in contrast to concrete, name things that you can’t identify with your five senses. This category includes ideologies, emotions, and concepts. Religion, for example, is something that people do, but its noun form is intangible, making it an abstract concept.
It can be difficult to understand what they are. While abstract refers to intangible things without a physical form, concrete nouns refer to places, people, and things that do have a physical form. Concrete, can be felt with the five senses: they can have a physical form rather than an image in your mind’s eye of katniss. A pineapple is edible. A tree can be seen. An engine can be heard. Socks have a distinct odour. A lamp can be touched.
Look at the sentences below and try to find out the two types.
Billionaire Jeff Bezos is famous for his wealth.
Next week, we are going on vacation to Belgium.
When I grow up, I want to be a superhero.
They said he was possessed by a ghost.
The robot had many impressive abilities.
Her blindness didn’t stop her from being successful.
I was attacked by a swarm of bees.
She sells seashells by the seashore.
We heard shouting from next door.
The girl just wants attention from her parents.
As a result, good writing frequently includes concrete examples interspersed among your abstract nouns to ground the discussion in reality. Concrete examples help readers understand our points and encourage them to see things our way rather than their own.
It can be difficult to comprehend abstract nouns and their rules. Hopefully, after reading the article, you have a better understanding of them and are well on your way to writing about them.