Nouns and verbs are probably the two most important parts of speech in English. The core of every sentence is a noun (or pronoun) and a verb.

We generally learn that a noun names a person, place, thing, or idea.

Nouns for People

Here are examples of a noun naming a person:

John Lennon

Queen Elizabeth

Sarah

Jeff

my girlfriend

parents

the winner

an American

Notice that in English some nouns for people’s names and titles, start with a capital letter. These are called proper nouns. Notice that some other nouns require words like an, a, and the before them. These are called articles.

Nouns for Places

Other nouns name places. Many of these are proper nouns, too, particularly names of countries, cities, states, mountains, bodies of water:

America

Zimbabwe

New York City

Delhi

Mecca

The Himalayas

Lake Michigan

Niagara Falls

But other nouns for places are common nouns and do not need a capital letter:

my house

the kitchen

a park

Nouns for Things

Nouns can also be things, physical objects, stuff.

rice

my car

his foot

the chair

shirts

Some things are also proper nouns, if the are famous and unique:

The Hope Diamond

The Mona Lisa

War and Peace

Ginseng English

Nouns for Ideas

Finally, nouns often name ideas, abstract concepts. These are like things, but they are not physical, you cannot touch or see them.

democracy

hope

happiness

hunger

English

Singular and Plural forms of Nouns

In English we change the form of a noun to show if we are talking about just one thing (singular) or many things (plural). For most nouns, the plural form simply adds -s to the end of the word. For example, we say a car or one car, but we say two cars, three cars, many cars.