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Meaning of Nouns

Nouns are words that name. It could be;
a. Name of a person; e.g Amina, John, Suhuyini, Adwoa, Laari, Bayong, Gyetuo etc.
b. Name of a place; Janga, Walewale, Tamale, Wa, Techiman, Kumasi, Accra, Rome etc.
c. Name of a book; Things Fall Apart, Weep not Child, the gods are not to Blame
d. Name of an animal; dog, cat, sheep, bear, deer etc.
e. Name of an idea/concept; peace, patience, intelligence, brilliance, knowledge etc.
f. Name of a thing; stone, rock, sand etc.
The list is endless.

Types of Nouns
Nouns are grouped into types based on;
A. Whether they name a general thing or a specific thing.

  1. Common Nouns; These are general naming words. These are words that are used to name general things or items that belong to a particular class. e.g dog, cat, mother, town, city, parent etc.
    Note; Common nouns always begin in lower case letters, unless they begin sentences.
  2. Proper Nouns; These are special naming words; they are names of specific people, places, countries, books etc. Because they name specific things, they always begin in upper case letters whether they are at the beginning, middle or end of a sentence. E.g Mt. Everest, Accra, Tumu, Ama, William etc.
    Note; Proper nouns are formed from general nouns or common nouns. Example1; Mother which is a common noun refers to an adult female who has a child. Everybody has a mother, but if your mother’s name is Amina, Amina becomes a proper noun because it names a specific mother.
    Example 2; Dog as a common noun refers to all domestic canines, but if one has a dog which he calls Champion, Champion becomes a proper noun because it names a specific dog.

B. Whether they can be counted or they cannot be counted.

  1. Count Nouns; These are nouns that can be counted. Once they can be counted, they have both singular and plural forms. They are singular when they are one, but plural when they are more than one. E.g boy, man, child, lady, book, pen etc.
    Note; Count nouns take the articles ‘a’ and ‘an’ in their singular forms. Count nouns also take the quantifiers ‘few, a few, many, several’ etc. E.g a boy, an orange, many boys, few students etc.
  2. Non-Count Nouns; These are nouns that do not lend themselves to easy counting, hence, cannot be counted. E.g water, salt, oil, sugar etc. These nouns are also called mass nouns.
    Usage Note 1; Non count nouns do not have plural; they always take singular verbs. Examples; water is a necessity for human survival
    The rice was eaten by the children.
    Usage Note 2; Non-Count nouns take the quantifiers, ‘much, less, little, a little’ etc.

C. Whether they can be touched or they cannot be touched.

  1. Concrete nouns; These are nouns that have physical representation, as a result, they can be seen and touched. Examples; book, pen, pencil, sugar, oil, table etc. Concrete nouns name physical things.
  2. Abstract nouns; These are nouns that cannot be seen nor touched. These nouns name a quality, express an abstract thought or idea. They refer to things which exist as ideas and are not physically real. Examples; happiness, truth, poverty, bravery, kindness, patience, sympathy etc.

D. Whether they name a group

  1. Collective nouns; These are names given to a group of people, items or things collectively. Collective nouns are considered as one unit which is singular in form. Examples, staff, army, colony etc.
    Usage Note; A collective noun takes a singular verb when it is functioning as a unit, but takes a plural verb when the individual members of the group function individually. (we will look at this into details under concord)
    Examples; The staff is united.
    The staff are arguing.
    The table below presents a list of the common collective nouns.
a class of students a pack rascals
a library of booksa pride of lions
a fleet of vehicles a prickle of porcupine
an armada of shipsa team of players
an arsenal of gunsa cast of actors
a troupe of acrobatsa battalion of soldiers
a mob of people (rioting) a round/crate of drinks
a bunch of keysa brood of chicken
a band of musicians a congregation of worshippers
a crowd of people (in the street) a bench of magistrates
a galaxy of stars a herd of cattle
a gang of thieves a forest/stand of trees
an annoyance of neighbors a tuft of grass
a confraternity of smokersa host of angels
a disappointment of unclesa party of friends

Thanks for reading, our next lesson will cover; singular and plural nouns, rules for plural formation of nouns and then, regular and irregular nouns.

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