Abstract and Concrete Nouns Explained
  • 2-minute read
  • 21st December 2013

Abstract and Concrete Nouns Explained

Nouns are naming words and an essential part of the English language. They fall into two main categories: concrete and abstract. It is vital to learn how to use both types in your written work, particularly abstract nouns, which can be tricky. This blog post will take a quick look at the basic definitions of these nouns and offer examples to clarify how they should be used.

Concrete Nouns

Concrete nouns are fairly simple to understand, as they basically refer to things that are solid, like concrete, and that physically exist around us.

This means that we can experience concrete nouns through our five senses, in that we can touch, see, smell, taste, and/or hear them.

Examples of concrete nouns include:

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  • People (man, woman, dentist, proofreader)
  • Animals (dog, cat, bird, bee)
  • Objects (clock, book, computer, pizza)
  • Places and geographical features (mountain, valley, Norwich, France)

Abstract Nouns

In contrast to concrete nouns, abstract nouns name things that do not exist physically, such as thoughts, ideas or concepts. They are therefore used to denote things that we can’t see, smell, taste, and/or hear.

Examples of abstract nouns include:

  • Qualities and characteristics (beauty, kindness, wit)
  • Emotions and states of mind (love, happiness, anger)
  • Concepts and ideas (justice, freedom, truth)
  • Events and processes (progress, Thursday, Christmas)

Proofreading by the Experts

If you’re still unsure about the difference between concrete and abstract nouns, let the experts at Proofed help you with your noun usage today!

Comments (9)
Rekha
16th July 2020 at 04:04
Field, playground- are they concrete or abstract noun
    Proofed
    17th July 2020 at 11:01
    Hi, Rekha. As the post explains, specific locations and places, like "field" or "playground," are concrete nouns because they are tangible things we can point at in the real world. "Field" can also mean "area of activity or expertise" (e.g., "She is a leader in the field of proofreading"), and this sense of "field" is an abstract noun because it refers to something intangible and non-physical. Hope that helps clarify the issue!
    Shernaya
    30th November 2020 at 23:59
    That's very smart I think I like your bisness
kristine
6th October 2020 at 14:00
Hi how about length or proportion?
    Proofed
    8th October 2020 at 09:25
    Hi, Kristine. Are you asking if those are abstract or concrete nouns? If so, they would usually be abstract. However, for "length," this may depend on the context (e.g., a "length of rope" is a concrete object).
isha
9th November 2020 at 19:31
famous and belonged which nouns are they
    Proofed
    10th November 2020 at 10:17
    Hi, Isha. Those words are not nouns: "famous" is an adjective, and "belonged" is a past tense verb.
Kylie Ridler
1st December 2020 at 04:42
Hi, Thank you for your informative article. Just wondering if naturally occurring phenomenon that are observable concrete or abstract e.g. water cycle, erosion.
    Proofed
    1st December 2020 at 10:02
    Hi, Kylie. Insofar as a noun or noun phrase refers to an observable phenomenon, it will work as a concrete noun.

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