What are Abstract Nouns

What are Abstract Nouns

Abstract nouns refer to words that indicate things we cannot physically interact with. That means an abstract noun refers to a thing that we cannot see, hear, touch, taste or smell. It is a thing which cannot be perceived by our five senses. Therefore, an abstract noun refers to an intangible thing; it can be an idea, feeling, concept, or a state. Given below are some examples of abstract nouns. You can understand what are abstract nouns by looking at these nouns.

Examples of Abstract Nouns

Given below are some examples of abstract nouns. You can understand what are abstract nouns by looking at these nouns.
















Concepts/ Ideas







FriendshipWhat are Abstract Nouns

You’ll note that all these nouns refer to things that cannot be perceived by our five senses. Rather, they refer to things we feel. Abstract nouns are opposite of concrete nouns. A concrete noun refers to a thing that can be perceived by at least one of our five senses.

It is important to notice that abstract nouns are often in the singular form, and they are considered as uncountable nouns. In most cases, concrete nouns are derived from adding a suffix or slightly altering the root word.  For example, adding the suffix -ship to the concrete noun friend results in the abstract noun friendship. Nouns with following suffixes are often considered as abstract nouns.

-ship, –tion, -ism, -ability, -hood, –ence, -ance, -age etc.

Furthermore, the meaning of abstract nouns may vary according to different perspectives of different people. For example, your ideas of freedom may be different from your parents’ idea of freedom. So the use of abstract nouns can create misunderstandings and confusion in your writing. Therefore, it is recommended to use concrete nouns to support the abstract references.

Jane jumped into the water to save the child. Everybody applauded her bravery.

She waited for 2 hours. Her patience amazed all of us.

She never hesitated to say what came into her mind; he loved this honesty.

I need to know how many are going on this trip. I cannot confirm the reservations without this information.

Sometimes, it may be difficult to distinguish an abstract noun as some words function in different ways. For example, some abstract nouns can also function as verbs. The nouns disgust and love are good examples for this.

Example 1:

I love my family.

(In this sentence, love functions as a verb as it denotes an action.)

She is just a lonely old woman looking for love.

(In this sentence, love functions as an abstract noun, because love refers to a feeling.)

Example 2:

You disgust me.

(In this sentence, disgust functions as a verb as it denotes an action.)

The sight filled her with disgust.

(In this sentence, disgust functions as an abstract noun, because disgust refers to a feeling.)

Summary – Abstract Nouns

  • All nouns can be divided into Concrete and Abstract nouns.
  • Abstract nouns are the things that cannot be perceived through our five senses; they are mostly ideas and concepts.
  • The opposite of Abstract nouns is concrete nouns.
  • Abstract nouns are often uncountable nouns.

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