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English - Nouns - Proper, Common and Collective

Nouns - Proper, Common and Collective

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Nouns - Proper, Common and Collective Nouns

Understanding Nouns

NOUNS are defined as naming words. They are used to name people, places, animals and things. There are three main categories of nouns as follows;
  • Proper Nouns
  • Common Nouns
  • Collective Nouns

Proper Nouns

Proper Nouns are of specific names of people, things, animals or places. They always start with a capital letter and cannot form plurals.
Examples of proper Nouns include:
Mombasa, Otieno, Mwende, Maranda High School, Brazil, St. James Academy etc.

Common Nouns

Common Nouns refer to names used for classes or groups of or things. They do not start with a capital letter unless they are used at the beginning of a sentence. They form plurals in different ways.
Examples of common nouns and their plurals include:
man-men, girl-girls, book-books, sheep-sheep, school-schools, university-universities etc.

Collective Nouns

Collective Nouns are names for a collection of similar things.
Examples of collective nouns and their plurals include:
a bale of cotton, a code of conduct, a herd of cattle, a troupe dancers, a couple of years, an army of soldiers, a kit of tools, a galaxy of stars, a grove of tree, and a crate of soda among others.

Classification of Nouns

- Countable nouns: these can be counted individually as they have single entities (examples include chairs, teachers, boys, goats)
- Uncountable nouns: these cannot be counted and they exist in mass forms (examples include water, salt and milk)
- Concrete nouns: these are the ones that can be seen, touched or felt (examples include desks, tables, houses, pens among others)
- Abstract nouns: these are the ones that cannot be seen, touched or felt; they exist as feeling and emotions (they include love, happiness, joy, among others)
- Compound nouns: these are formed by joining two or more words, some use hyphens while other do not (examples; baby-boy, schoolgirl, son-in-law, among others)
- Group nouns: these are used to encompass a large number of things that belong to the same category. The following are some examples;
  • Furniture – chairs, tables, desks, sofas, cupboards among others
  • Relatives – cousins, aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters among others.
  • Cutlery – knife, spoon, forks etc.
  • Fruits – mangoes, pineapples, apples, bananas, etc.
  • Cereals – rice, beans, maize, millet, etc.

Plurals in Nouns

There are regular, irregular and zero plurals formed by nouns.
Regular plurals are formed by addition of ‘s’ or ‘es’ to the word (examples; boy-boys, shelf-shelves, county-counties, school-schools)
Irregular plurals are formed in different ways as hereby explained;
  • Adding ‘en’ after changing the vowel (examples; ox-oxen, woman-women, child-children)
  • Changing ‘f’ to ‘v’ and then adding ‘es’ (examples; wife-wives, hoof-hooves, among others)
  • Retaining the foreign plural of the word (examples; syllabus-syllabi, alumnus-alumni, formula-formulae)
Zero plurals remain the same in singular and in plural (furniture-furniture, bedding-bedding, sheep-sheep, andstationery-stationery)

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