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Video Script

Hello my name is John Erskin. Thanks for joining me for another grammar tutorial. In today’s video, I will talk about the part of speech known as nouns. By the end of this video, you should be able to recognize the different types of nouns used in the English language, and how they are used in everyday conversation.

I will cover the following topics in today’s video.

  1. Common and proper nouns
  2. Concrete and abstract nouns.
  3. Collective nouns.
  4. Count and non-count nouns.

If you have any questions about today’s lesson, please post them in the comments section. I promise I will answer all your questions. Now let’s get started.

What are nouns? Nouns are words that we use to talk about and identify people, places, animals, ideas and concepts. Nouns are divided into types according to what they identify and how they are used. The first two categories we will look at are common and proper nouns. There are three nouns in the following sentence. Can you tell me what they are?

In the sentence “There are three men standing outside the door talking to Bob. “

The nouns are men, door and Bob.

The nouns men and door are both common nouns, and Bob is a proper noun.

Common nouns are words that identify items that belong to non-specific or general categories. Proper nouns are used to identify items that belong to specific categories.

The noun men is a general noun used to talk about people. Likewise, the word door is a general noun used to talk about a movable opening in a wall.

The noun Bob is a specific noun that is used to talk about a specific person.

Proper nouns are always written with a capital first letter, but common nouns are never capitalized unless they are the first word of a sentence.


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Sometimes common nouns can also be proper nouns.

For example, I went to university at the University of Tennessee. In this sentence, the noun university is both a common noun and a proper noun.

In the first instance, university is a common noun that refers to a type of school for higher education. In the second instance, university is used as part of the name of a specific university-the University of Tennessee.

Any time a common noun is used as part of the name of something or someplace, the noun is a proper noun and needs to be capitalized.

Some other examples are,

Building the U.S.S. Enterprise was a group enterprise that took many years.

The Furniture Factory is a factory where furniture is made.

The U.S.S. Enterprise is the name of a military battleship and therefore needs to be capitalized. As a common noun enterprise has a similar meaning as project and does not need to be capitalized.

Furniture Factory is the name of a company and both nouns need to be capitalized. As common nouns, furniture refers to things like sofas, chairs and other items we use in our homes and factory refers to a type of business where things are made. As common nouns they do not need to be capitalized.

You should now have a good understanding of the difference between common and proper nouns. Let’s move on to concrete and abstract nouns.

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Concrete nouns are things, people, and animals that you can experience using at least one of your 5 senses.

Abstract nouns refer to things that you cannot experience abstract using your 5 senses.

Nouns that are abstract refer to an aspect, concept, idea, experience, state of being, trait, quality, or feeling.

Nouns such as idea, rest, and education are abstract nouns. We cannot experience them using our 5 senses.

Some other abstract nouns are beauty, bravery, brilliance, brutality, curiosity, humor, talent, stupidity, and joy.

Here is a list of nouns. Which ones are concrete and which ones are abstract.

oxygen, air, day, love

Oxygen and air are concrete nouns. Even though we cannot see them, we interact with them using at least one of our five senses.

Day and love are abstract nouns because we cannot experience them with our senses. That brings us to our next topic which is collective nouns.

Collective nouns are words that refer to groups of people animals or things. There are many collective nouns in English. I have left a link in the description of some common collective nouns.

In American English, collective nouns are usually singular and require a singular verb. In British English collective nouns are plural and require a plural verb.

For example,

American English: My family is celebrating my brother’s birthday today.

British English: My family are celebrating my brother’s birthday today.

Here is a list of plural nouns. Can you tell me what the collective noun for these groups are?
students
teachers
sports players
birds
people watching a moving
two people together
two shoes
a group of cows

The collective nouns are

Students – class, Teachers – faculty, Sports players – team,

Birds – flock, People watching a moving – audience, Two people together – couple, Two shoes – pair, A group of cows – herd.

Which brings us to our last topic of this video, count and non-count nouns.

Count nouns are nouns that can be counted. To count the noun, we make the noun plural and add a number in front of the noun.

A student – two students, a car – two cars, a dog – two dogs.

Here is a list of count nouns. Can you tell me the plural forms?

Singular

table
holiday
man
woman
baby
box
wife
radio


Singular

table
holiday
man
woman
baby
box
wife
radio
Plural

tables
holidays
men
women
babies
boxes
wives
radios

As you can see, not all nouns form their plural form by simply adding ‘s’ to the end of the noun. Some nouns become plural by changing their spelling.

Man becomes men, woman becomes women, wife becomes wives, and so on. I have provided a link in the description to a webpage that will help you learn the spelling rules for these irregular nouns.

Non-count nouns are nouns that cannot be made plural and, therefore, cannot be counted. All liquids are non-count nouns. Water, milk, and cola, are a few examples.

To count non-count nouns, we have to use nouns that can be counted in front of the non-count noun.

For example: to count water, we have to use glass, cup or some other container. A glass of water—two glasses of water. Here are some other non-count nouns. Can you tell me how to count them?
Cheese
bread
paper
peanut butter
toothpaste
Ice cream

We count cheese and bread using piece and slice. We count paper using the noun sheet. Peanut butter is counted using jar. Toothpaste uses tube and ice cream uses bowl, cup or scoop to count the quantity.

As you can see, many non-count nouns share counters. Notice also that when using counters, we always use them with the preposition of. A piece of bread. Two pieces of cheese.

Some nouns can be both count and non-count depending on how they are used. One example is the noun chicken.

If you are using chicken to mean an animal that is alive, chicken is countable.

There are 100 chickens running around the yard. If you are using chicken to mean something you eat for dinner, it is non-count. I’d like three pieces of fried chicken.

To indicate an unspecific quantity of something we use the modifiers many, much, lots of, a lot of, and some. Many and much are used in formal situations whereas lots of and a lot of are used in informal situations. Some can be used in both formal and informal situations.

Many is used with count nouns. Much is used with non-count nouns. Lots of, a lot of, and some can be used with both count and non-count nouns.

Many and much are also used in questions?

Here are some examples.


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Does he have many friends? Yes. He has many friends.

Do you have much money? Yes. I have a lot of money?

We also use little or few. Few is used with count nouns and little is used with non-count nouns. Here are some examples.

I have only a few students in my morning class.

There is only a little milk left. Please buy some more when you go shopping.

We can also use the modifiers so, or too, with much, many, few and little.

With much and many they indicate that the quantity is very large or excessive. With few and little they indicate that the quantity very small or not enough.

Some examples are:

Carla has so many books.

Kevin has had too much to drink.

There was so little hot water that I had to take a cold shower. There were too few students, so the class was canceled. Okay, that brings us to the end of this tutorial, so let’s recap what you have learned.

First, you learned that nouns are words that are used to talk about and identify people, places, animals, ideas and concepts. Nouns are divided into types according to what they identify.

Common nouns are words that identify items that belong to non-specific or general categories.

Proper nouns are used to identify items that belong to specific categories and are always capitalized.

You also learned that any time a common noun is used as part of the name of something or someplace, it is a proper noun.

Then we talked about collective nouns. Collective nouns are words that refer to groups of things or people. In American English collective nouns require a singular verb. In British English collective nouns require a plural verb.

You also learned that concrete nouns are things, people, and animals that you experience with your 5 senses and abstract nouns refer to things that you cannot experience with your 5 senses.

I talked about count and non-count nouns and you learned that count nouns are nouns that can be counted.

To count the noun, we make the noun plural and add a number in front of the noun.

Non-count nouns are nouns that cannot be counted. To count non-count nouns, we have to use nouns that can be counted in front of the non-count noun. Some nouns can be both count and non-count depending on how they are used.

You learned that you can use the counters some, lots of, and a lot of with both count and non-count nouns to talk about quantity.

You can also use the words many, much, few and little. Many and few are used count nouns. Much and little are used with non-count nouns.

Many and much are used to talk about a quantity that is very large or excessive. Few and little are used to talk about a quantity that is very small not enough.

I hope this tutorial has been helpful. Remember, if you have any questions, leave them in the comments section below.

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And as always, thanks for watching.


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