What is a Noun?

A noun is a part of speech that refers to a person, place, thing, or idea. 

Here are some examples of different types of nouns:

  • person: doctor, musician, Matt, son
  • place: city, museum, school, Berlin, France
  • thing: pencil, chair, guitar, backpack
  • idea: freedom, faith, honesty, justice, love

There are many words in English that can function as both a noun and a verb, depending on the context in which they are used.

How can you identify a noun?

1. Noun ending

Word endings can be a helpful clue in identifying nouns.

  • -hood (neighborhood)
  • -ment (development)
  • -ness (kindness)
  • -ance (attendance)

Remember that it's not always reliable to identify a noun only based on its ending. For example, not all words that end in -"-tion" are nouns. The words "mention" and "question" are also verbs.

2. Words in front of a noun

If a word comes after an adjective or determiner, it is almost certainly a noun. A determiner is a word used before a noun to show which particular example of the noun you are talking about.

  • the book
  • her cat
  • five oranges
  • that car
  • their house
  • happy child
  • fast car
  • rich man

3. Plurals

Many nouns can be identified by making them plural. If the word changes from singular to plural by adding "-s" or "-es", it is most likely a noun.

  • dog → dogs 
  • chair → chairs
  • table → tables
  • brush → brushes
  • hero → heroes

Note that not all plural nouns are formed by simply adding "-s" or "-es" to the end of the singular noun. 

  • child (singular) → children (plural)
  • mouse (singular) → mice (plural)
  • tooth (singular) → teeth (plural)
  • foot (singular) feet (plural)
  • deer (singular) deer (plural)

4. Grammatical functions

Nouns can serve a variety of functions in a sentence.

Here are some possible functions of a noun in a sentence:

  • subject: The dog barked loudly.
  • object: The boy kicked the ball.
  • possessive: John's car is red.

It is important to note that the subject or object of a sentence is not always a noun.

What is a noun?