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You Know About Nouns.

Most people will have some experience of teaching nouns.  We point at objects and say what they’re called.  It’s as simple as that.  Parents will use this approach when encouraging babies to talk (albeit using peculiar ‘babified’ versions of the words like ‘dada’).  Despite the crudeness of the approach, the fact that most of us seem able to speak, demonstrates its effectiveness.

The Definition of a Noun

At its simplest, a noun can be the name of something, typically a person, place or thing.   The most significant thing about a noun is its function within a sentence, when it acts as the subject.  As the subject of a sentence, the noun tells us what a sentence is about.  There can be more than one noun in a sentence and we refer to nouns that aren’t the subject as objects.

Types of Nouns

Proper Nouns

The proper noun is the name of a person or place that is unique and specific, such as a name of a person or a town or city.  For example if someone were to say “I’m going to London’, most people would know where they were going.  Should they say “I’m going into town”, that’s not so obvious.  ‘Town’ isn’t specific, it’s not a proper noun, so it doesn’t get a capital letter.

Common nouns

Common nouns are the opposite of proper nouns.  They don’t need a capital letter unless they are a the start of a sentence. As from the previous example, ‘town’ is a common noun.

Countable Nouns

Most nouns are countable nouns. Put simply, countable nouns are just nouns that are able to become plural or can be counted, such as carrots, games or doors.

Non-Countable Nouns

Conversely, non-countable nouns are the same in both singular and plural form and can’t be counted.

Concrete Nouns

Concrete nouns are things that we can physically touch, such as a chair, pencil, brick or bottle.

Abstract NounsAbstract nouns are things we can’t physically touch, such as air, fear and hope.

As with any quantifying task, you can easily make some word cards for cut and paste, or better still if you have room, the ‘four corners’ game.  Write the noun types on separate sheets of A4 and stick them up on a wall.  Read out a list of nouns and let pupils run to the appropriate sign (maybe try this once we’re done with Covid, but you can adapt it by asking pupils to raise their hand for the correct term).

Nouns are covered in The Grammar Show.

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