English/Parts of Speech/Nouns/Concrete and abstract Nouns

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English Wikibook (edit)
General: Introduction - Grammar
Parts of speech: Nouns - Verbs - Adjectives - Adverbs - Pronouns - Conjunctions - Prepositions - Interjections
Parts of the sentence: Subjects - Predicates
Word functions: Subjects - Predicates - Direct Objects - Indirect Objects - Objects of the Preposition
Types of sentences: Simple Sentences - Complex Sentences
Types of Phrases: Adjective - Adverb - Noun
Types of Clauses: Adjective - Adverb - Noun
Other English topics: Gerunds - Idiomatic Phrases - Spelling - Vocabulary - Punctuation - Syntax - Appositives - Phonics - Pronunciation

Concrete and abstract nouns are two types of nouns.

Concrete nouns

Concrete nouns are words for things that you can touch and see. Look at the following sentence:

  • Sally moved gracefully across the room without fear.

Let's look at that sentence with the nouns in red:

  • Sally moved gracefully across the room without fear.

Out of these nouns, which ones can you touch and see? Ask yourself those questions when trying to find out if a noun is concrete.

  • Sally - Can you touch and see Sally? Yes, you can touch and see Sally.
  • Room - Can you touch and see the room? Yes, you can touch and see the room.
  • Fear - Can you touch and see fear? No. Fear is not physically in the room.

Abstract nouns

Abstract nouns are things that you cannot touch or see, like fear. Look at the following sentence:

  • Hate and love aren't bricks.

Now look at it with the nouns in red:

  • Hate and love aren't bricks.

Out of these nouns, which ones can't you touch or see? Ask these questions when trying to find out if a noun is abstract.

  • Hate - Can you touch and see hate? No, you cannot, so it is abstract.
  • love - Can you touch and see love? No, you cannot, so it is abstract.
  • Bricks - Can you touch and see bricks? Yes, you can, so it is not abstract.