Learn English » Grammar » Abstract Nouns and Concrete Nouns
By now you must be familiar with nouns, countable and uncountable nouns, common nouns and proper nouns, and singular and plural nouns. This lesson is about yet another classification of nouns, as abstract and concrete nouns.
Abstract nouns are words that refer to entities that we cannot feel with our five senses: we cannot see, smell, hear, taste or touch them. Abstract nouns are qualities, emotions, feelings, concepts and ideas. These entities exist only in the mind. They have no physical existence. Examples are love, honesty, bravery, uncertainty, intelligence, dream, time, education, imagination etc. Abstract nouns often end in the following suffixes: -TION, -ISM,-NESS,-SHIP,-ANCE, -ABILITY, -MENT, -ITY,-HOOD.
Concrete nouns, on the other hand, can be detected and felt with our five senses. We can interact with concrete nouns. ‘Table’ is a concrete noun. We can touch it and see it. We can physically interact with it. The names of people, places, and things are concrete nouns. Examples are chair, chalk, flower etc.
Consider the sentence below.
As the new teacher entered the classroom, the students looked at each other with surprise.
‘teacher’ is a concrete noun. You can see, hear, touch, and smell the teacher.
The ‘classroom’ is also a concrete noun. You can see it.
‘Students’ is also a concrete noun since you can see, hear, and touch them.
However, ‘surprise’ is an abstract noun because it is a feeling in the mind, which can be expressed in a number of ways.
Consider another sentence.
My pet puppy has great love for me.
There are two nouns in this sentence. ‘Puppy’ and ‘love’. ‘Puppy is a concrete noun. A puppy can be seen, heard, smelt and touched. However, ‘love’ is an abstract noun, since we cannot see or hear it; we can only see and hear expressions of love.
Exercises on abstract and concrete nouns are given below, divided into beginner, intermediate and advanced categories.