Nouns are words that refer to persons, places, things, feelings, or characteristics. They can be divided into two main categories: common nouns and proper nouns. Common nouns are nouns that do not refer to a specific person, place, or thing, and they are not capitalized.
A horse was running in the field.
The man wondered where he put his hat.
Common nouns can be categorized as concrete, abstract, or collective. They refer to tangible things that can be physically perceived. Abstract nouns refer to nonphysical things, such as ideas, characteristics, and feelings. Collective nouns refer to groups of things.
She was known at school for her brilliance.
The audience was quiet.
In the first sentence above, school is a concrete noun, and brilliance is an abstract noun. In the second sentence, audience is a collective noun.
Proper nouns refer to a specific person, place, or thing (e.g., names of people, cities, and months), and they are capitalized.
Lori is going to San Francisco in October.
Functions of Nouns
Nouns can act as the subject, object, indirect object, or complement of a verb. They can also function as the object of a preposition.
Miguel bought a cake.
Samia offered me a present.
Ellen and Amitav are friends.
She looked through the window.
In the first sentence above, Miguel is the subject, and cake is the object of bought. In the second sentence, Samia is the subject and me is the indirect object—the person to whom the present was offered. In the third sentence, friends is a complement. In the fourth sentence, window is the object of the preposition through.
If a phrase in a sentence functions as a noun, it is called a noun phrase. If a clause in a sentence functions as a noun, it is called a noun clause. A noun phrase does not include a subject and verb, but a noun clause does.
The new stadium is where the event is taking place.
In the sentence above, the new stadium is a noun phrase and is acting as the subject, and where the event is taking place is a noun clause and is acting as the complement.