By the end of this lesson, you will be able to:
i. distinguish between concrete nouns and abstract nouns
ii. use concrete and abstract nouns appropriately.
What is a concrete noun?
Simply put, a concrete noun names a thing that can be seen, heard, smelt, touched, or tasted. In other words, a concrete noun denotes something that you can perceive with one of your senses. The vast majority of nouns are concrete. Take all animals and people, for instance. You can touch, feel, see, and hear them. Therefore, the words listed below are concrete nouns.
table star sheep books Kofi computer
fridge mangoes Adjoa ship water flag
The words listed above are concrete nouns because you can see, touch, feel, hear or smell them. So, concrete nouns name tangible items or tangible entities.
Therefore, we say that the name of every physical object, living or dead, animal or human is a concrete noun. This means that a concrete noun has a material existence. Let us look at a few more examples of concrete nouns.
1. The bride is already in her gown.
2. That boy is the father of this man.
3. The applicant gave the letter to the clerk
In Example 1, the words bride and gown are concrete nouns. Bride is a concrete noun because it has a material existence. What this means is that you can see the bride and you can touch her as well. Gown is also a concrete noun because it has a material existence; you can see the gown and you can touch it.
In Example 2, the words boy, father, and man are concrete nouns. Boy is a concrete noun because it has a material existence; you can see the boy and you can touch him. In the same vein, the words father and man have material existence and so they are concrete nouns.
In Example 3, the words applicant, letter, and clerk, are concrete nouns. Applicant is a concrete noun because it has a material existence; you can see the applicant in question and you can touch him. In the same vein, the words letter and clerk have material existence and so they are concrete nouns.
As you can see from the explanation above, concrete nouns name things that have physical properties; that is, things that are tangible and can be perceived by the senses.
There are 20 words listed below. Some are concrete nouns but others are not. Write all the concrete nouns you see on the list in your exercise book.
Wood love moon
rain mother happiness
Ama bottle trousers
Agya Kwame joy sugar
wickedness wind water
laziness holiness faith
The answers have been provided below. Use them to mark and then grade your own work.
|The concrete nouns are:|
|wood mother||moon car||rain trousers|
So a concrete noun names an object that occupies space or an object that can be recognized by any of the senses.
How do we use concrete nouns?
1. Most concrete nouns can be expressed in both the singular form and the plural form.
Watch below for some examples:
Singular Plural Final Sound
Let us form sentences with these concrete nouns.
i. I left my book on the table.
ii. All my books are in my school bag.
iii. There are several ways of cooking an egg.
iv. Eating too many eggs is simply bad.
v. My teacher has a house near Boti Falls.
vi. There are beautiful houses at Oyarifa.
2. Concrete nouns in the singular form are introduced by a determiner. For example:
i. I ate an orange this morning.
ii. Our teacher built a house near Boti Falls.
iii. My father will buy me a shirt tomorrow.
In the examples above, orange, teacher, house, father, and shirt are concrete nouns. Each concrete noun is introduced by a determiner. In the sentences above, both the concrete noun and its determiner are underlined. It is important to learn at this point that all nouns that are not concrete are abstract.
What are abstract nouns?
Simply put, an abstract noun names a thing that cannot be seen, heard, smelt, touched, or tasted. In other words, an abstract noun denotes something that you cannot perceive with your senses. Therefore, abstract nouns are all those things which we cannot sense externally. For example, we cannot externally see, hear, or touch abstract nouns. Specifically, we cannot externally see and touch love, virtue, kindness, beauty, and bribery. So, we observe that no physical thing is abstract.
Abstract nouns are qualities, states of mind, attitudes, ideas or actions. For example, the underlined words in the sentences below are abstract nouns.
i. Honesty is the best virtue.
ii. Your intelligence is amazing.
iii. He showed exceptional bravery during the battle.
In the above examples, honesty, virtue, intelligence, and bravery are abstract nouns.
How do we identify an abstract noun?
A word is likely to be an abstract noun if:
i. it ends in ‘ness’, ‘ity’, ‘ism’, ‘tion’, ‘sion’, ‘nce’, or ‘ment’. For example:
|ii. it has no material existence. For example:|
|greed justice||suspicion faith||jealousy joy||laziness religion|
What have you noticed about the abstract nouns listed above?
Therefore, an abstract noun does not have a material existence; it noun only exists in the mind.
How do we use abstract nouns?
1. Abstract nouns do not usually have the plural form. For example:
i. Justice is what we all need.
ii. Independence was necessary at the time.
iii. Your knowledge helps you to lead your people.
iv. Wisdom comes from above.
You observe that the abstract nouns in the sentences above have been underlined once and the finite verbs that follow them have been underlined twice. The abstract nouns in the sentences above are justice, independence, knowledge, and wisdom. You notice that each of the abstract nouns is in the singular form. So, abstract nouns do not usually have the plural form.
2. Abstract nouns are not introduced by the articles ‘a’ or ‘an’. Below is a paraphrase of a popular religious quotation. Read it a couple of times.
What human nature does is plain. It shows itself in immorality, filth, indecency, witchcraft, enmity, jealousy, anger, and ambition. But the spirit of God produces love, joy, peace, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, humility, and self-control (Galatians 5:19-23)
Do you notice all the abstract nouns listed in the paraphrase above? The abstract nouns in the paraphrase above are:
|anger joy||ambition peace||love kindness|
Do you notice that none of the abstract nouns in the paragraph is introduced by the article ‘a’ or ‘an’? That is true; an abstract now is not preceded by the article ‘a’ or ‘an’.
- The name of every physical object, living or dead, animal or human is a concrete noun. So, a concrete noun has a material existence.
- Most concrete nouns can be expressed in both the singular form and the plural form.
- Concrete nouns in the singular form must be introduced by a determiner.
- Abstract nouns are all those things which we cannot sense externally. They are qualities, states of mind, attitudes, ideas or actions.
- Abstract nouns do not usually have the plural form and are not introduced by the articles ‘a’ or ‘an’.
CONTENT CONSULTANTS Author
John Tetteh Agor, Ph.D.
Modestus Fosu, Ph.D.
Prosper Kwesi Agordjor, M.Phil.
William Foli Garr, (Rev.) M.Phil.