What is a noun?

We explain what a noun is and how this grammatical category can be classified. In addition, the gender and number of nouns.

  1. What is a noun?

A noun is a grammatical category or word class that is used to name an object or subject . Formerly the noun was assigned as a name, since it names objects, people , places, feelings, animals and other beings. Eg Juan , car , house , Buenos Aire s.

The noun, in turn, can be classified according to the things it names. First, the nouns are divided into:

  • Own noun , which are those that name a being in concrete form, whether an object or a subject, in a particular way. Own nouns are always capitalized and can be, for example, names of people or places (Juan, María, Uruguay).
  • Common noun , which are those that designate a person, animal and object in a general way, such as table, chair, cow, dog, mountain , love, and so on. Common nouns are further divided between concrete and abstract.
  • Abstract nouns , which designate ideas and feelings that cannot be perceived by the senses, such as freedom , happiness , hate, compassion, etc.
  • Concrete nouns , when they name things that can be perceived by the senses.

We can also differentiate between individuals and groups:

  • Individual nouns : They name a particular being. Eg fish, dog.
  • Collective nouns : They name beings globally or in a group. For example, “fish” is individual and “school” is collective.

If the noun can be numbered, we are talking about an accounting noun (for example “apple”, “table”, “friend”), on the contrary if we cannot number but measure, we talk about non-countable noun (“ water ”, “ sugar ”, for example, we cannot say two sugars but a kilo of sugar).

Another classification that can be used is to divide between primitive and derivative nouns (derived from another noun, such as “shoe store”, “ice cream shop”, “bakery”). It is also possible to indicate whether a noun is simple or compound (in the case of “washing machine”, “umbrella” for example).

  1. Gender and number of nouns

Most nouns can be modified from masculine to feminine and vice versa.

Nouns have gender (feminine or masculine) and number (singular or plural) . Most nouns can be modified from masculine to feminine and vice versa, as well as being singular or plural. Most feminine nouns end with the vowel –a while masculine nouns with the vowel –o.

That is why we can, for example, say cat and cat, dog and dog. However, in some cases, the meaning is modified , such as a basket and basket (the size of the object changes). Some females are completely different from their masculine, as happens with horse and mare or actor and actress. Some nouns are written equally in singular and plural such as thorax, climax, caries.

  1. The noun within the sentence

The noun is the core of the noun phrase , mainly of the subject of the sentence . It is the center of the noun (or construction) noun (noun plus modifiers). Next to the nucleus we find the direct modifiers (adjectives and articles), the indirect modifier (more substantive preposition or substantive construction), apposition (noun or substantive construction that clarifies the nucleus or repeats it) and comparative construction (introduced by “as” or “ which”).

In a sentence there may be one or more substantive nuclei within a subject (simple or compound) and it must agree with the conjugate verb of the predicate (singular or plural). The same goes for adjectives , which must agree with the noun in gender and number so that the cohesion of the sentence is correct.

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