Caleb S.
Caleb S.

What’s a Concrete Noun?

16 min read

Published on: Jun 27, 2024

Last updated on: Jun 26, 2024

concrete nouns

According to the concrete noun definition of Merriam-Webster Dictionary, 

“A concrete noun is a type of noun that names a physical object rather than a quality, state, or action."

Concrete nouns are the names of things you can see, hear, touch, taste, or smell. They are tangible and exist in the physical world, making them easily recognizable through our senses. 

These nouns are contrasted with abstract nouns, which name things you cannot perceive with the five senses, such as "love," "freedom," or "beauty."

Concrete Noun Examples in a Sentence 

To better understand how concrete nouns function in writing, here is a concrete noun list:

Living Things

  • The cat sat on the mat.
  • The dog barked at the mailman.
  • The tree swayed gently in the breeze.
  • The child played with a ball in the yard.
  • The butterfly fluttered over the flowers.

Places

  • She went to the park to relax.
  • They visited the museum on Saturday.
  • He works in a tall office building downtown.
  • The restaurant was crowded with people.
  • The beach was covered with sand and seashells.

Material Things

  • She drank a glass of water.
  • He wore a watch on his wrist.
  • The book lay open on the table.
  • She used a computer to finish her work.
  • The chair was made of sturdy wood.

Types of Concrete Nouns 

Concrete nouns can be categorized into different types based on their characteristics and usage in language. 

Here are the main types of concrete nouns:

1. Common Concrete Nouns: These are general names for people, places, or things within a class or group.

  • Examples: dog, city, book, music

2. Proper Concrete Nouns: These are specific names for individual people, places, or things and are always capitalized.

  • Examples: Rover (a specific dog), New York (a specific city), Harry Potter (a specific book title)

3. Countable Concrete Nouns: These nouns refer to items that can be counted.

  • Examples: apple (one apple, two apples), car (one car, three cars), tree (one tree, many trees)

4. Uncountable Concrete Nouns: These nouns refer to substances or concepts that cannot be counted individually.

  • Examples: water, sand, air, milk

Concrete Nouns vs. Abstract Nouns

Understanding the difference between concrete noun and abstract noun is crucial for improving your grammar and writing.  Here's a detailed comparison to help you distinguish between the two and use them effectively in your writing.

Aspect

Concrete Nouns

Abstract Nouns

Definition

Concrete nouns name things that can be experienced through the five senses (sight, sound, smell, taste, touch).

Abstract nouns name ideas, qualities, actions, or states that cannot be physically sensed.

Examples

Apple, dog, music, cars, perfume

Love, freedom, happiness, beauty, courage

Tangibility

Concrete nouns have a physical form and can be touched, seen, heard, smelled, or tasted.

Abstract nouns represent intangible concepts that cannot be perceived with the senses.

Plural Forms

Most concrete nouns can be pluralized (e.g., "books" from "book").

Some abstract nouns can be uncountable (e.g., "happiness"), while others can be countable (e.g., "idea").

Pro Tip ?

Identifying abstract nouns can be facilitated by recognizing common suffixes that transform adjectives or verbs into nouns. These suffixes provide a clue that the resulting word represents an intangible concept, quality, state, or action rather than a physical object.

Here’s a breakdown of how suffixes help in identifying abstract nouns:

Suffix

Examples

-acy / -cy

Democracy, Accuracy, Piracy

-ance / -ence

Acceptance, Existence, Obedience

-ism

Capitalism, Optimism, Socialism

-ity

Integrity, Curiosity, Hostility

-ment

Improvement, Excitement, Involvement

-ness

Kindness, Laziness, Emptiness

-ship

Leadership, Citizenship, Ownership

-sion / -tion

Expansion, Celebration, Instruction

How to Use Concrete Nouns

Using concrete nouns effectively can significantly enhance your writing by making your descriptions more vivid and relatable. 

Here are some tips and strategies to help you use concrete nouns:

1. Be Specific

Instead of general terms, use specific concrete nouns to provide clearer imagery and detail.

  • General: She sat on the furniture.
  • Specific: She sat on the wooden chair.

2. Appeal to the Senses

Incorporate concrete nouns that engage the five senses (sight, hearing, taste, smell, touch) to make your writing more immersive.

  • Sight: The red apple
  • Hearing: The ringing bell
  • Taste: The sweet chocolate
  • Smell: The fragrant roses
  • Touch: The rough bark

3. Use Concrete Nouns in Descriptive Writing

Concrete nouns are essential for creating vivid descriptions. They help paint a picture in the reader’s mind.

  • Without Concrete Nouns: The place was nice.
  • With Concrete Nouns: The garden was filled with blooming roses and towering oak trees.

4. Combine Concrete Nouns with Adjectives

Pair concrete nouns with descriptive adjectives to add depth and detail to your writing.

  • Basic: The dog barked.
  • Enhanced: The large, brown dog barked loudly.

5. Show, Don’t Tell

Using concrete nouns allows you to show the reader what you mean instead of just telling them.

  • Telling: She was angry.
  • Showing: She slammed the door, her fists clenched and her face turned red.

6. Create Stronger Imagery

Concrete nouns can create stronger imagery and make abstract ideas more tangible.

  • Abstract: She felt a sense of peace.
  • Concrete: She felt a sense of peace as she walked along the sandy beach, listening to the gentle waves.

7. Use in Narrative and Dialogue

In both narrative and dialogue, concrete nouns make interactions and scenes more realistic and engaging.

  • Narrative: The detective examined the clues: a dusty footprint, a broken window, and a discarded glove.
  • Dialogue: "Pass me the salt," he said, reaching across the cluttered table.

Worksheet: Concrete Nouns

Part 1: Identify the Concrete Nouns

  1. The cat slept peacefully on the soft blanket.
  2. She picked a ripe apple from the tree in the backyard.
  3. The children played with their new toys in the playground.
  4. He drove his car to the store to buy groceries.
  5. The sun shone brightly in the clear sky.

Part 2: Match the Common and Proper Nouns

Instructions: Match each common noun with its corresponding proper noun.

Common Nouns

Proper Nouns

1. book

A. Rover 

2. city

B. New York

3. dog

C. Harry Potter

4. river

D. Everest 

5. mountain

E. Mississippi


Part 3: Identify Abstract Nouns

  1. Her kindness touched everyone she met.
  2. His determination to succeed was inspiring.
  3. The beauty of the sunset took their breath away.
  4. We need more patience in dealing with difficult situations.
  5. The freedom to choose is a fundamental right.


Answer Key

Part 1: 

  1. Cat, soft
  2. Apple, tree
  3. Children, toys, playground
  4. Car, store
  5. Sun, clear

Part 2: 

  1. book - C
  2. city - B
  3. dog - A
  4. river - E
  5. mountain - D

Part 3:

  1. kindness 
  2. determination 
  3. beauty 
  4. patience
  5. freedom

All in all, we've explored how concrete nouns appeal to the senses and create clear images for readers. 

By distinguishing between concrete and abstract nouns, you can get a better understanding of the English language and grammar. 

Are you worried about how to check your grammar? Give our grammar checker tool a try! 

If you find it challenging to manually craft essays in perfect English and wondering how to write an essay with AI, try our other writing tools online, For Free

Continue Learning

If you want to learn more about academic writing, grammar, and related concepts, check out these blogs.

Grammar


Writing


Citation

Dangling Modifiers

Essay Writing

APA format

Homophones

Paraphrasing

MLA format

Infinitives

Thesis Statement

Chicago Style

Analogy

Paragraph

Harvard Style

Parts of Speech

Summary

IEEE Citation

Prepositions

Plagiarism

Oxford Referencing


Frequently Asked Question (FAQs)

What distinguishes a concrete noun from a proper noun?

A concrete noun refers to something tangible that can be perceived through the senses, like "dog" or "river."

In contrast, a proper noun is the specific name of a particular person, place, or thing, always capitalized, such as "Rover" or "Mississippi River."

How to tell the difference between concrete nouns and abstract nouns?

Concrete nouns are specific and refer to things that can be sensed physically. While abstract nouns are general and refer to ideas or qualities that are not physical and cannot be perceived through the senses. 

Understanding this distinction helps in correctly identifying and using nouns in writing to convey precise meaning and imagery.

What is the difference between common and concrete nouns?

While all concrete nouns (like "table" or "tree") are common nouns, not all common nouns are concrete. Common nouns cover a broader range that includes both concrete nouns (things you can touch and see) and abstract nouns (ideas or concepts that you can't see or touch).

Caleb S.

WRITTEN BY

Caleb S. (Mass Literature and Linguistics)

Caleb S. is an accomplished author with over five years of experience and a Master's degree from Oxford University. He excels in various writing forms, including articles, press releases, blog posts, and whitepapers. As a valued author at MyEssayWriter.ai, Caleb assists students and professionals by providing practical tips on research, citation, sentence structure, and style enhancement.

Caleb S. is an accomplished author with over five years of experience and a Master's degree from Oxford University. He excels in various writing forms, including articles, press releases, blog posts, and whitepapers. As a valued author at MyEssayWriter.ai, Caleb assists students and professionals by providing practical tips on research, citation, sentence structure, and style enhancement.

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