There are several different kinds of nouns.
A common noun is the word used for a class of person, place or thing.
A proper noun is the name of a person, place or thing (i.e., its own name). A proper noun always starts with a capital letter.
Dayton Peace Accord
The Tower of London
("Uncle" is written with a capital letter because it is part of his name.)
My favourite auntie is Auntie Sally.
(In this example, the first "auntie" is a common noun; whereas, the
second "Auntie" is part of a proper noun.)
The Red Lion
A collective noun is the word used for a group of people or things.
Cabinet (of ministers)
A pronoun is a word used to replace a noun.
James is the first choice for the post. He has applied for it twice already.
("He" is a pronoun. In this example, it replaces the proper noun "James".)
("It" is a pronoun. Here, it replaces the common noun "post".)
Some / Who / This
(The term 'pronoun' covers lots of words, and all three words above are classified
as pronouns. There is whole section dedicated to pronouns.
Verbal nouns are formed from verbs. They are a type of common noun.
I love swimming.
("swimming" - the name of an activity; it is formed from the verb 'to swim'.)
Lateral thinking is required to solve this problem.
("thinking" - the name of an activity; it is formed from the verb 'to
Compound nouns are nouns made up of two or more words. Some compound nouns are hyphenated.
(This is covered in the lesson Hyphens in
Board of members
Below are some common errors related to nouns:|
NO CAPITAL LETTERS
Common nouns do not start with capital letters (unless they start a sentence or are part of a title). It is a common mistake to
capitalize a common noun that is an important word in a sentence.
The corporal disobeyed
a direct Order.
("order" is a common noun - no capital letter)
It is the largest Church in
("church" is a common noun - no capital letter)
This is covered more in the lesson Capital
Letters - Common and Proper Nouns.
ONLY CAPITALIZE THE PRINCIPAL WORDS
When names contain words such as 'the', 'of', 'an' or 'in', these words are not usually given capital letters.
I must visit the Tower of London.
("of" is not a principal word - no capital letter)
Have you seen Day of the Jackal?
("of" and "the" are not principal words - no capital letters)
This is called 'Title Case' and is covered more in Capital
Letters - Title Case.
SINGULAR OR PLURAL?
Writers are sometimes unsure whether to treat a collective noun as singular or plural. In fact, a collective noun can be singular or plural depending on the sense of the sentence.
That team is the worst in the
("team" treated as singular)
The team are not communicating amongst themselves.
("team" treated as plural)
When the group is considered as one unit, it is singular. When the individuals of the group are considered, it is plural.
This is covered in the lesson Collective
Nouns - Singular or Plural?.
FORMING THE PLURAL OF COMPOUND NOUNS
To form the plural of a compound noun, pluralize the principal word in the compound. When there is no obvious principal word, add s (or es) to the end of the compound.
(pluralize the principal word "mother")
(pluralize the principal word "clip")
(no principal word, so add s to the end)
Words like 'spoonful', 'plateful' and 'cupful' are exceptions to this rule. They form their plurals by adding an s to the end, even though the principal words are spoon, plate and cup.
This is covered more in the lesson Compound
Nouns - Forming Plurals.