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In this lesson, you will learn about one part of speech: nouns. You will learn about common and proper nouns, and we’ll discuss some of the ways nouns can be used in sentences.

Parts of Speech ; Nouns

Have you ever noticed that there are different kinds of words, and words that can do different jobs? In English, we have sorted our words into categories called parts of speech. This is a lesson about the part of speech called nouns.

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Look at this picture. What do you see?

Rainy day picture
rainy day picture

Here are some words that describe what we see in this picture:

  • Woman
  • Child
  • Umbrella
  • Street
  • Stones
  • Window
  • Raincoat
  • Building

All of these words are nouns. What is a noun? A noun is a word that represents a person, place, thing, or idea.


In our rainy day picture, there are two people. Who are they? They might be mother and daughter, sisters, friends, neighbors, or pedestrians. Each of these words are nouns. They’re called common nouns, because they could name a variety of different people. We could also use proper nouns for the people in the picture.

Proper nouns are specific to individual people, like the names Jennifer and Mrs. Burns.You can tell the difference between these two types of nouns by remembering that the first letters of proper nouns are generally upper-case, while common nouns are lower-case. However, keep in mind that common nouns are also capitalized when they’re at the beginning of the sentence.

Places, Things, ; Ideas

What places are in our rainy day picture? Outside and city–these are common nouns that name the places in this picture. This is a picture of a street in the country Albania. Albania is a proper noun naming the specific place where the picture was taken.

What are some of the things in our picture? Umbrella, windows, raincoats, buildings, stones, pants, shoes, and pockets are a few nouns that name objects in the rainy day image.Nouns can also name ideas, which are harder to see in a picture. In fact, idea nouns are also called abstract nouns. Abstract means they can’t be experienced with your senses, like touch, smell, and hearing.

For instance, this picture shows caution and concentration, which are abstract nouns.

Nouns in Sentences

Nouns are very important in writing. You generally need a noun to write a good complete sentence. Let’s write some sentences to describe the photograph.

Usually, the subject of a sentence is a noun. For example:

  • Two friends are holding hands.
  • The umbrellas are open.

The subject in these sentences are the nouns ‘friends’ and ‘umbrellas.’A noun can be the object of a verb, which means it receives the action in the sentence.

  • The child wears a raincoat and sneakers.

‘Raincoat’ and ‘sneakers’ are both nouns that are objects of the verb ‘wears’–they answer the question ‘what did the child wear?’A noun can be the object of a preposition, which is a word used to show position or relation to other words in the sentence.

  • Jennifer put the hood on her head.

‘Head’ is a noun, and it’s the object of the preposition ‘on.’ She put the hood on what? On her head.

These are only a few of the uses for nouns in writing.

Lesson Summary

A noun is the part of speech that names a person, place, thing, or idea. Nouns can be common or proper, and they can act in a sentence as subject, object of the verb, and object of the preposition, among other things. Now that you know what a noun is, you can realize that you use them in speaking and writing every day!

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