Common Nouns-Definition, Types, Examples, and Usage

What is Common Noun?

A common noun is a type of noun that is used to identify general people, places, things or ideas. Unlike proper nouns that name specific people or places, common nouns refer to broad categories. For example, “teacher” and “city” are common nouns.

image showing What is Common Noun

Common nouns lack capitalization unless beginning a sentence and can take both singular and plural forms. For instance, a singular common noun would be “dog” while plural would be “dogs.” Additionally, common nouns express generality rather than a specific person, place or thing.

Types of Common Nouns

image showing Types of Common Nouns and their examples

1. Concrete Nouns

Description: Refer to tangible, perceptible things that can be seen, touched, heard, smelled, or tasted.

Examples: book, table, chair, cat, tree, flower, rain, thunder, music, chocolate

Further detail

  • Can be further divided into animate (living) and inanimate (non-living) nouns.
  • Examples of animate concrete nouns: dog, bird, person, child
  • Examples of inanimate concrete nouns: rock, pencil, computer, house

2. Abstract Nouns

Description: Refer to intangible concepts, ideas, feelings, or qualities that cannot be perceived with the senses.

Examples: love, happiness, sadness, anger, fear, justice, beauty, intelligence, creativity

Further detail

  • Often represent internal states or emotions.
  • Can be challenging to define or visualize concretely.

3. Countable Nouns

Description: Nouns that can be counted individually and have singular and plural forms.

Examples: one book, two books; one apple, three apples; one student, many students

Further detail

  • Can be used with numbers or quantifiers like “many,” “few,” “several,” etc.

4. Uncountable Nouns

Description: Nouns that cannot be easily counted or divided into individual units.

Examples: water, air, rice, sugar, knowledge, information, music, advice

Further detail

  • Often represent substances, masses, or abstract concepts.
  • Typically used in singular form without articles (e.g., “I need water,” “We value knowledge”).
  • To specify a quantity, use expressions like “a cup of coffee,” “a piece of advice,” etc.

5. Individual Nouns

Description: Nouns that represent a single person, place, thing, or idea.

Examples: woman, doctor, city, park, flower, thought, theory

Further detail

  • Refer to distinct entities that can be considered as individual units.

6. Collective Nouns

Description: Nouns that refer to a group or collection of people, animals, or things.

Examples: team, family, flock, herd, committee, audience, class

Further detail

  • Treated as singular nouns in most cases, even though they represent multiple individuals (e.g., “The team is playing well”).

7. Action Nouns

Description: Nouns formed from verbs that describe actions, processes, or events.

Examples: running, swimming, singing, thinking, decision, creation, celebration

Further detail

  • Often end in -ing, -ment, -tion, or -ance.
  • Can function as subjects or objects in sentences.

8. State Nouns

Description: Nouns that describe conditions, states of being, or qualities.

Examples: happiness, sadness, poverty, wealth, health, illness, peace, war

Further detail

  • Often express emotions, states of mind, or physical conditions.

9. Material Nouns

Description: Nouns that represent the substance or material that something is made of.

Examples: wood, glass, metal, plastic, cotton, wool, water, air

Further detail

  • Often refer to raw materials or substances used in production or manufacturing.

10. Proper Nouns in General Use

Description: Proper nouns that have become so commonly used that they function as common nouns.

Examples: kleenex (for tissue), band-aid (for adhesive bandage), jacuzzi (for hot tub), zipper

Further detail

  • Usually start with a capital letter as proper nouns, but can become lowercase when used generically.

Examples Of Common Nouns Based On Different Entities

Here are examples of common nouns based on different entities:

image showing Examples Of Common Nouns Based On Different Entities

Common Nouns Referring to Human Beings

  1. Person – e.g., teacher, doctor, friend
  2. Child – e.g., boy, girl, toddler
  3. Adult – e.g., man, woman, senior
  4. Occupation – e.g., engineer, artist, chef

Common Nouns Referring to Animals

  1. Mammal – e.g., dog, cat, elephant
  2. Rodent – e.g., mouse, rat, squirrel
  3. Aquatic Animal – e.g., fish, whale, dolphin
  4. Wild Animal – e.g., lion, tiger, bear

Common Nouns Referring to Birds

  1. Bird of Prey – e.g., eagle, hawk, owl
  2. Waterfowl – e.g., duck, goose, swan
  3. Songbird – e.g., robin, canary, nightingale

Common Nouns Referring to Insects

  1. Flying Insect – e.g., butterfly, bee, mosquito
  2. Crawling Insect – e.g., ant, beetle, spider

Common Nouns Referring to Reptiles

  • Snake – e.g., cobra, python, rattlesnake
  • Lizard – e.g., gecko, chameleon, iguana
  • Turtle – e.g., tortoise, sea turtle

Common Nouns Referring to Places

  1. City – e.g., New York, Tokyo, Paris
  2. Country – e.g., Brazil, India, Australia
  3. Landform – e.g., mountain, valley, beach
  4. Building – e.g., house, school, hospital

Common Nouns Referring to Things/Objects

  1. Tool – e.g., hammer, screwdriver, pliers
  2. Furniture – e.g., table, chair, sofa
  3. Electronic Device – e.g., computer, smartphone, television

Common Nouns Referring to Ideas

  1. Concept – e.g., love, happiness, time
  2. Philosophy – e.g., democracy, freedom, justice
  3. Feeling – e.g., anger, excitement, curiosity

Usage in Sentences

  1. The cat is sleeping on the windowsill.
  2. I have a beautiful flower in my garden.
  3. The teacher is explaining a new lesson to the students.
  4. We enjoyed a delicious pizza for dinner.
  5. The sun is shining brightly in the sky.
  6. I can hear the sound of a passing car.
  7. The children are playing with a colorful ball in the park.
  8. She bought a new book to read over the weekend.
  9. My favorite color is blue.
  10. The dog is barking loudly in the backyard.