When you first learned about nouns, chances are that your teacher told you they are people, places, and things. This covers the vast majority of nouns, and they are the easiest categories to remember. For that reason, most of the nouns that you think of when you think of nouns are concrete nouns!
What is a Concrete Noun?
Concrete nouns are nouns that you can physically see and touch. This is generally easy to understand. If you look around you wherever you are, chances are that you will see hundreds of concrete nouns. They include common ones like clothes or windows, but also more rare ones like fossil or toothpick.
Places include the park, the school, and subway station, and specific names of places like the United States. People are your friends, your boss, your teacher, and the names of these people. The things, places, and people around you are all concrete nouns.
Most are things that you see and touch, but they include all things that you can detect with your basic senses, such as sounds you hear and smells you smell.
The easiest way to think about concrete nouns is to understand what kinds of nouns are not concrete nouns. The opposite of concrete nouns is abstract nouns, which are things that you cannot see.
They usually are not real, or at least are not physical things that you can touch. Good examples of these are ideas like trust or democracy, and emotions like contentment or sadness.
One thing that is difficult to determine is the difference between concrete and abstract nouns when talking about something like an emotion. While the emotion itself, like happiness, is abstract, the things that you see when people are happy are concrete.
To give an example, think about seeing someone’s smile and hearing their laugh when they feel joy. The smile and the laugh are concrete nouns because you can experience them physically. If you put them in a science lab, for example, you can measure them.
However, the joy that person feels, how happy they are, cannot be measured. It certainly is real, and the way that the happiness is exhibited is real and instances of concrete nouns, but the emotion itself is not a concrete noun. If you put that person in a lab, you could not really measure their joy.
Concrete Noun Examples
|People||Places||Things You Can Touch and See|
|Mother||The train station||Roller coaster|
|Uncle Steven||The taxi stand||Plane ticket|
|Family member||McDonald’s||Lip gloss|
|Teacher||Beijing, China||Water bottle|
|Stranger||New York City, United States||Lamp shade|
|Bus driver||Dubai, United Arab Emirates||Electric plug|
|Ticket taker||Hanoi, Vietnam||Hair dryer|
|Things You Can Hear||Things You Can Smell or Taste|
|Train’s engine||Fresh baked cookies|
|The wind blowing||Rotten eggs|
|The children laughing||Skunk|
|The river flowing||Zoo animal manure|
|The feet stomping||Mint and other herbs|
|The pages turning||Bitterness|
|Someone’s voice||A new car smell|