noun (kata benda)

Noun: Categories and Use

Talk about a noun, let us talk first about what a noun is. In simple words, nouns are commonly defined as words that refer to a person, place, thing, or idea. So, when we talk about someone’s name, place, or idea, we refer to a noun. In this posting, I will elaborate on seven noun categories. They are common and proper nouns, concrete and abstract nouns, singular and plural noun, count and non-count noun, animate and inanimate nouns, collective nouns, masculine and feminine nouns, and the last is nouns of address.

Common and Proper Noun

A common noun is a noun that identifies general people, places, or things called common nouns —they name or identify what is common among others.


  • Cat, goose, cow, hen, dog, horse, dolphin, mouse.
  • Airport, market, cave, mountain, church, playground, farm, restaurant.
  • Bag, kite, box, ladder, bread, lamp.

A proper noun is a noun that refers to specific names of people, places, days, and months and begins with a capital letter.


  • Ali Baba, Florence Nightingale, Derek Jeter, Pauline
  • America-Americans; Korea-Koreans; Egypt-Egyptians; Malaysia-Malaysians.
  • Great Wall of China, Statue of Liberty, Leaning Tower of Pisa.
  • Sunday, Monday, Tuesday
  • January, February, March, April
  • Lake Michigan, Alps, the Himalayas, Dead Sea, Mount Fuji
  • Christmas, Mother’s Day, Memorial Day, April Fool’s Day.

Concrete and Abstract Noun

The concrete noun refers to the name people, places, animals, or physically tangible things—they can be perceived by our senses. They are things that we can see, hear, smell, taste, or touch.

Example: people, child, air, water, bread

Abstract nouns, as their name implies, name intangible things, such as concepts, ideas, feelings, characteristics, attributes, etc.—can not perceive by the senses. For example, things cannot see, smell, feel, taste, or touch.

Example: love, hate, decency, excitement, lethargy

Singular and Plural Noun

Nouns in English do not have a gender. Instead, they change form depending on whether they are singular or plural.

A singular noun talks about one person, animal, place, or thing. Use a or a before singular noun.

Example: An airplane, a letter, a bicycle, a map.

Plural noun talks about two or more people, animals, places, or things. Most nouns are made plural by adding -s at the end.


  • Bird-birds
  • Broom-brooms
  • Camel-camels
  • Desk-desks

Some rules to make plural noun.

To make most nouns plural, “-s” is added to the singular noun.


  • Student     Students
  • Cake          Cakes
  • Cat            Cat

For nouns ending in “-s,” “-x,” “-z,” “-ch,” and “-sh,” “-es” is added.


  • Class          Classes
  • Church      Churches
  • Wish          Wishes
  • Tax            Taxes
  • Quiz          Quizzes

For nouns ending in a consonant followed by a “-y,” the “-y” is dropped, and “-ies” is added.


  • City           Cities
  • Lady          Ladies

Nouns ending in y after a vowel add s.


  • Key           Keys
  • Valley        valleys

If the noun ends in a vowel plus “-o,” the plural is formed by adding “-s.”


  • Cargo        Cargos
  • Motto        Mottos

For nouns ending in “-o,” the plural is usually formed by adding “-es.”


  • Hero          Heroes
  • Mango       Mangoes
  • Zero           Zeroes

Some other nouns have completely irregular plurals.


  • Foot           Feet
  • Goose       Geese
  • Louse        Lice
  • Tooth         Teeth
  • Woman      Women

Some nouns do not change in the plural.


  • Aircraft                 Aircraft 
  • Means                    Means
  • Series                     Series
  • Headquarters         Headquarters
  • Crossroads            Crossroads

Count and Non-Count Noun

Count Noun refers to nouns that can be considered as individual, separable items, which means that we can count them with numbers—we can have one, two, five, 15, 100, and so on. We can also use them with the indefinite articles a and an (which signify a single person or thing) or in their plural forms.


  • Student-students
  • Cake-cakes
  • Cat-cats

Non-Count Nouns (another name for a non-count noun is a mass noun or uncountable noun), this kind of noun can be counted one by one, cannot be considered separate units, and needs to have “counters” to qualify them. In addition, uncountable nouns cannot take an indefinite article or be made plural.

Example: furniture, dust, energy

Concrete and Abstract Uncountable Noun

The concrete noun that is uncountable tends to be substances or collective categories of things. For instance: wood, smoke, air, water, furniture, homework, accommodation, luggage

Abstract uncountable noun; a large number of abstract nouns are uncountable. These are usually ideas or attributes.

Example: love, hate, news, access, knowledge, beauty, intelligence, arrogance, permanence

Animate and Inanimate Noun

The animate noun refers to things that are alive.

The inanimate noun refers to things that are not alive.

Collective Nouns

Collective nouns refer to a collection or group of multiple people, animals, or things. However, even though collective nouns refer to multiple individuals, they still function as singular nouns in a sentence. It is because they still are technically referring to one thing: the group as a whole.

Example: audience, a gang, a band, a group, a choir, a team, a class

Masculine and Feminine Nouns

Masculine nouns are words for men and boys and male animals.

Feminine nouns are words for women and girls and female animals.


  • Actor-actress
  • Brother-sister
  • Emperor-empress
  • Father-mother
  • Master-mistress
  • Nephew-niece
  • Prince-princess
  • Steward-stewardess
  • Wizard-witch

Nouns of Address

Nouns of address (technically called vocatives, but also known as nominatives of address or nouns of direct address) identify the person or group being directly spoken to. Like interjections, they are grammatically unrelated to the rest of the sentence—that is, they do not modify or affect any other part. Instead, they let the listener or reader know whom you are addressing or get that person’s attention.


  • “James, I need you to help me with the dishes.”
  • “Can I have some money, Mom?”

References and Recommended Reading

  • Altenberg, E. P., & Vago, R. M. (2010). English grammar: Understanding the Basics. Cambridge University Press.
  • Azar, B. S. (1996). Basic English Grammar. New Jersey: Prentice-Hall Regents.
  • Azar, B. S. (2003). Fundamentals of English Grammar: Chartbook: a Reference Grammar. White Plains, NY: Longman.
  • Azar, B. S., & Hagen, S. A. (2009). Understanding and using English grammar: Workbook. White Plains, N.Y.: Pearson Longman.
  • Ansell, M. (2000). Free English Grammar Second Edition.
  • Barduhn, S., & Hall, D. (2016). English for Everyone–English Grammar Guide. New York: DK Publishing.
  • Herring, P. (2016). Complete English Grammar Rules. California: Createspace Independent Publishing Platform.
  • Murphy, R., Smalzer, W. R., & Nguyễn, T. T. (2000). Grammar in Use: Intermediate. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Murphy, R., & Čhakramāt, S. (2002). Essential grammar in use (Vol. 20010). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Tenry Colle
Tenry Colle

Hi! My name is A. Tenry Lawangen Aspat Colle. I am a motivated and resourceful English educator. In addition, as the owner of @rymari.translation17 has shaped me to be a punctual and dependable translator of Indonesian to English and vice versa.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *