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Abstract and Concrete Nouns

EduKuis.com February 28, 2021

Abstract noun definition: a noun that has no physical existence.

Concrete noun definition: a noun that is perceptible to at least one of the five senses.

What is the Difference Between Abstract Nouns and Concrete Nouns?

The English language is build by various parts of speech. One of its basic parts of speech is the noun. A noun is a defined as a person, place, thing, or idea.

Before we get into too much detail, let’s briefly note the difference between concrete and abstract nouns.

  • Abstract nouns are not tangible.
  • Concrete nouns are tangible.

What Is an Abstract Noun?

What are abstract nouns? Abstracts nouns are nottangible and have no physical existence. Instead, they represent concepts or ideas.

While we made see the effects of these nouns, we cannot see the ideas themselves.

Here are some examples of abstract nouns,

  • Courage
  • Bravery
  • Happiness
  • Dream
  • Belief
  • Faith
  • Idea
  • Depression
  • Loyalty
  • Poverty
  • Intelligence
  • Freedom
  • Commitment
  • Trust
  • Sadness

Next, let’s look at how these nouns may be used in a sentence.

  • Rosa Parks showed her bravery by protesting against racial discrimination.
    • Bravery = abstract noun.
  • The happiness of the children was evident through their roaring laughter at recess.
    • Happiness = abstract noun

Identifying Abstract Nouns as Nouns

At times, abstract nouns may be difficult to identify because they can be confused as adjectives.

Here are some clues to verify that the word in question is indeed a noun, specifically an abstract noun, and not an adjective.

  • Prepositions: if the abstract noun in question is in a prepositional phrase, you can verify that is a noun.
    • When we were younger, we lived in poverty.
      • Poverty is within a prepositional phrase: in poverty; therefore, we can verify it is a noun.
  • Articles: if the abstract noun in question immediately follows an article (a, an or the), you can verify that it is a noun.
    • The happiness of the children was evident through their roaring laughter at recess.
      • Happiness follows the article the, so it is a noun.
  • Replacement: check to see if you can replace the noun in question with a concrete noun.
    • When we were younger, we lived in poverty.
      • We could replace poverty with a concrete noun.
        • When we were younger, we lived in a house.
      • By replacing poverty with house, we have verified that poverty is indeed a noun.

What is a Concrete Noun?

What are concrete nouns? Unlike abstract nouns, concrete nouns are tangible and can be perceived by the five senses. We often think of these as being people, places, and objects.

Here are some examples of concrete nouns,

  • House
  • Tree
  • Pencil
  • Cookbook
  • Airplane
  • Chair
  • Teacher
  • Television
  • Ball
  • Shoe
  • Desk
  • Computer
  • Jeans
  • Water
  • Paper

Next, let’s look at how these nouns may be used in a sentence.

  • Christina went to the store to buy a new computer.
    • Christina= Person
    • Store = Place
    • Computer = Object

Exercises with Abstract, Concrete Nouns

Here are some sentences that include abstract and concrete nouns. Try to identify each noun and whether it is abstract or concrete.

  1. The students silently studied for the test.
  2. Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr. were famous advocates for equality.
  3. Freedom is one of America’s core values.

Answers

  1. Concrete nouns = students, test. No abstract nouns.
  2. Concrete nouns = Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King Jr., advocates. Abstract noun = equality.
  3. Concrete noun = America. Abstract nouns = Freedom, values.

Summary

Define abstract noun: the definition of abstract noun is an intangible noun with no physical presence, such as a concept or idea.

Define concrete noun: the definition of concrete noun is a tangible noun that can be perceived by the five senses.

In summary,

  • Abstract nouns represent ideas or concepts that are not tangible.
  • Concrete nouns are tangible such as people, places or objects.

Remembering these definitions and using the above tips will help you identify these nouns in your future writing and reading.

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