The Noun – A Noun is the Name of a Thing

Nominally Speaking
  • A noun is the name of a thing,
  • As a “thought” or a “house” or the “King:”
  • Abstract’s in the mind,
  • Concrete you will find,
  • While proper’s its own naming thing.

“Noun” is from the Latin neuter noun, “nomen, nominis” meaning, “name.”

A noun is the name of a thing. It then becomes, for all practical purposes, the thing, itself. It is the name of anything you see, hear, taste, touch or smell around you. That is a “concrete” noun. Anything, which you can think of but which couldn’t exist in the aforementioned senses, is an “abstract” noun. Anything, which has a name specific to itself, is a “Proper” noun and spelled with a capital letter.

So, “house” is a concrete noun. We can see and touch a house, whereas “grammar” is an abstract noun. We can’t taste, touch, smell, see or hear grammar. We can see written words and hear spoken words and we can see and hear the words form grammatical structures or not, but grammar, itself, is that organization of those intangible grammatical patterns that exists only in our minds.

Any man called by an individual name possesses a Proper noun for his name. When a stranger calls another, saying, “you, man!” he is calling a concrete noun (in “apposition” to the pronoun, “you,”) and anyone who looks like what that noun is, though context will have the caller individually identifying, as a “man,” one particular man. But when he calls, “Hey, Bruce!” he is using the Proper noun, “Bruce,” to identify one man, whose name is peculiar to him and no other, unless per chance, another, who is present, also has the name “Bruce.”

Nouns (in English) have two “numbers,” the “singular,” and the “plural.” The singular is, of course, one noun. The plural is more than one noun. There is, however, a method for counting more than one singular noun not in the plural, as would be expected, but in a larger singular noun designate of many singular nouns. This noun is called the “collective” noun. Per exemplum, many cannons are called “cannons.” But in military usage, many cannons particular to their own part of the military structure are called “cannon” or “the cannon.” Other collective nouns are easier to use; a “pride” of lions, or a “school” of fish, for example.

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