What is a noun?

What is a noun? To put it simply – a noun is a naming word.

Nouns are used to name things like places, animals, people, feelings, events, ideas, quantities, anything that needs a name.

When explaining the concept to very young children you can simplify it further.

“What is a noun?” – A noun is a person, a place or a thing.

Naming Words

Nouns can be broken down into many different types and as a child moves through the school system they will be introduced to noun concepts of various levels of complexity.

However, as complex as it can get, they always have one thing in common. They name things. 

Here are some examples of nouns :











Here are some examples of nouns in sentences :

The building was very tall.

I love eating crisps.

The balloon flew very high.

The mountain stood on the horizon like a giant.

I like to play football in the park.

She loves cakes.

Horses can run very fast.

We’ve created this fun, simple, animated song to help explain what a noun is in it’s most basic form.

Types of Noun

There are many types of noun (and some of the concepts overlap) but here we’re going to cover some of the basic noun types that are taught at primary school.

What is a Noun? – Common Nouns

Common nouns refer to places, animals, people and objects in an instance where they are not named specifically. They don’t need a capital letter letter either.

Here are some examples of common nouns :









Here are some examples of common nouns in sentences :

She drove in town to go shopping.

He loved his bike.

Donald only had one shoe.

There was a fly in the classroom.

I am eating an apple.

The dog went to sleep.

 She loved ham.

You are an adult not a child.

I don’t like planes.

What is a Noun? – Proper nouns

Proper nouns are the names that given to identify someone or something, i.e a person or a place. A proper noun always starts with a capital letter.

Here are some examples of proper nouns:

CountriesItaly, Scotland, Canada, Brazil, Egypt.

CitiesLiverpool, New York, Tokyo, Paris, Delhi.

PeopleLionel Messi, Ariana Grande, Joe Biden, Emily Bronte, Cleopatra.

Fictional CharactersBatman, Hermione Granger, Mickey Mouse, Homer Simpson, Mary Poppins.

Here are some examples of proper nouns in sentences :

Harry Potter was a wizard with a big heart.

In Afghanistan it can get very hot in the summer and very cold in the winter!

Everton are the greatest football team in the whole world.

London is the capital city of the United Kingdom.

Here’s a song that will help you learn all about Proper Nouns.

What is a Noun? – Collective Nouns

Collective nouns name a group of people or things or, to put it another way, a collection of things taken as a whole.

Here are some examples of collective nouns :

A football team

A swarm of bees

A herd of cows

A forest of trees

A flock of birds

A pack of cards

A school of fish

A pile of chocolate bars

A gaggle of geese

An argument of wizards

A litter of kittens

A lounge of lizards

A squad of soldiers

A library of books

A nest of vipers

A parliament of rooks

Here are some examples of collective nouns in sentences :

A flock of birds flew over their heads.

The cast of actors took to the stage.

The baker baked a batch of cakes.

A fleet of ships came sailing over the horizon.

There was a a group of islands close together.

Here’s a song that will help you learn all about collective nouns.


What is a Noun? – Abstract Nouns

An abstract noun is a quality, state or idea, that you can’t touch, taste, smell, see or hear. Abstract nouns are not concrete objects and they represent abstract concepts.

Here are some examples of abstract nouns :













Here are some examples of abstract nouns in sentences :

He had lost faith in his teacher.

Her heart was filled with hate.

Much to their shock the dog had eaten all the sausages.

He loved Derek and Dolly, his beautiful cats, with all his heart.

Listen to this song all about abstract nouns.

What is a Noun? – Interesting Facts About Nouns

The word noun comes from the Latin word nōmen meaning name.

In the English language there are more nouns than any other type of word!

Yāska early Sanskrit grammarian from around 2500 years ago wrote about nouns (nama) being one of the four main categories of words.

Nouns were mentioned by Plato in his writings. The ancient Greeks called nouns – onoma.

Dionysius Thrax wrote a text in the second century BC called “The Art of Grammar” that listed nouns as one of eight parts of speech.

Nomen, nama and onoma, were all terms that also meant the word ‘name‘ in their respective languages.

The word noun in English is actually derived from an Anglo-Norman term, which is itself derived from the Latin word nomen.

As did the Latin word nomen, the English word noun, originally referred to both adjectives and nouns – nouns adjective and nouns substantive.

In some languages, notably French, Russian, Hindi and Spanish , nouns are given genders. They are either male or female.

English Grammar Songs

Our wide range of English grammar songs are a really fun and engaging way to enhance the children’s learning, whilst teaching them the complexities of of the English language. Our educational songs are engaging and easy to learn. They are clear, with a concise message and perfect for classroom and homeschool teaching.

So if you’re asking yourself the question  “What is a noun ?”, our catchy songs are a great way of improving vocabulary and speaking and listening skills, covering a wide range of subjects including nouns, proper nouns, adjectives, verbs, adverbs, pronouns and many more.

All of our animated songs are based around the National Curriculum and suitable for EYFS, Key Stage One (KS1) and Key Stage Two (KS2). They also available completely free via the Silly School Education Youtube Page. You can learn more about what what we do and who we are by visiting our “About Us” page!

What is a Noun? – Click on the image below to take you directly to our Silly School Education Youtube Channel to find out!

What is a Noun?