Difference Between Concrete and Abstract Nouns

Main Difference – Concrete Noun vs. Abstract Noun

Nouns are the words that refer to people, places, things, and ideas. Nouns can be classified into several categories such as common and proper nouns,  abstract and concrete nouns, countable and uncountable nouns, etc. In this article, we are focusing our attention on the difference between concrete and abstract nouns. Concrete nouns refer to people, places, and things while abstract nouns refer to ideas and concept. The main difference between a concrete noun and an abstract noun is that concrete nouns refer to the things you can perceive through your five senses and abstract nouns refer to things that cannot be experienced through the five senses.

What is a Concrete Noun

A concrete noun is a thing that you can perceive through the five senses; sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch. If you cannot see, hear, taste, touch or smell something, and then it is not a concrete noun. Look at the following example:

My mother bought me ice cream.          

The two concrete nouns in this sentence are mother and ice cream. Ice cream is a concrete noun because you can touch, taste, see and smell it. Mother is also a concrete noun; you can see and touch her and hear her voice. Remember that any noun that can be experienced with at least one sense is called a concrete noun.

 Concrete nouns can be,

  • People and animals: mother, teacher, cat, Emily, tiger, baby
  • Places: London, island, France, Alaska, Walmart, garden
  • Objects: pen, bottle, rice, computer, letter, table, milk

As seen from the examples above, a concrete noun can be a proper noun, common noun, collective nouns, countable and uncountable nouns.abstract vs concrete nouns

What is an Abstract Noun

Abstract nouns are opposite of concrete nouns. Abstract nouns refer to ideas, beliefs concepts or a state of thing. They refer to things that cannot be experienced through the five senses: sight, sound, smell, touch, and taste.

He answered all her questions with patience.

Patience is a quality in a person; we can’t actually see, hear, taste, smell or touch it. It is a state of being. So patience can be called an abstract noun.

Some other examples of abstract nouns include,

Love, hate, disapproval, anger, bravery, freedom, truth, energy, oppression, childhood, convenience, pride, education, relaxation, culture, etc.

Remember that some abstract nouns mean different things to different people. Your idea of beauty or freedom might differ from another’s ideas. This can cause misunderstandings and confusion in your writing. So always try to use concrete nouns to explain abstract references.difference between abstract and concrete nouns

Difference Between Concrete and Abstract Nouns


Concrete nouns refer to people, places or things.

Abstract nouns refer to ideas and concepts.


Concrete nouns are tangible.

Abstract nouns are intangible

Five senses

Concrete nouns can be perceived through the five senses.

Abstract nouns cannot be perceived through the five senses.

Compatibility with other noun categories

Concrete nouns can also be proper nouns, common nouns, collective nouns, countable nouns or uncountable nouns.

Abstract nouns can be common nouns and uncountable nouns.

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