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December 18, 2015

DEFINITION: A noun is the name of a person, place, thing quality, condition and action e.g. Apple, Ram, Pencil, Chandigarh, etc.





  • Proper Noun: The name of a specific person, place or thing e.g. Ram is a good boy. (In this sentence, Ram is a proper noun)


  • Common noun: A noun which does not point out any particular person, place or thing, but it is common to all the persons, places or things. Commonly used for every one of the same class. It represents the whole class e.g. river, girl boy, bench, etc.


  • Abstract noun: – An abstract noun is the name of something which we can neither see nor touch, but which we can only think of or feel. These nouns denote a quality, state or concept.


Action: movement, action, activity, theft, hatred, mischief


            Quality: truth, honesty, kindness, goodness, bravery, wisdom


State: childhood, boyhood, youth, freedom, slavery, sickness, sleep


Names of Arts, Sciences and Professions like Economics, Politics, History, Literature, Physics, Chemistry, Botany, and Music.


  • COLLECTIVE NOUN: A noun which is used for the group or the collective things of same kind, considered as one complete whole, it is called collective noun e.g. army, flock, nation team, jury, class, etc.


  • MATERIAL NOUN: A noun which stands for material or substance used for making things is called material noun e.g. brick, stone, wood, gold and cotton.




All nouns are divided into two categories: countable and uncountable nouns. Uncountable nouns are rarely used in the plural.



         COUNTABLE NOUNS                vs.           UNCOUNTABLE NOUNS


Proper Nouns: We can count the particular names or proper nouns.
Material Nouns: Are uncountable e.g. brick, stone, gold, milk.
Common Nouns: city, river, boy, girl
Abstract Nouns: Are uncountable e.g. love, hate, kindness, bravery
The jury has given its verdict (Singular Form).

The jury were divided in their opinion (Plural Form).

Collective Nouns: These are both countable and uncountable nouns.



Rule 1: Nouns which always come in a singular form are


furniture, news, advice, business, damage, expenditure


machinery, poetry, scenery, stationery


economics, physics, politics, mechanics, ethics, mathematics, summons, innings


bread, butter, electricity, equipment, music


health, traffic, offspring, issue, maintenance, safety


wastage, percentage, wreckage, breakage, baggage, roughage, luggage


confectionary, crockery, jewellery, pottery, drapery, greenery, etc.


Note: – Though these nouns may suggest plural but we use them in the singular only e.g.



Furniture – The furniture of my house is quite new.


News – This news is true.


Scenery – The scenery of Kashmir is charming.


Innings – The first innings is just over.


Mathematics – Mathematics is a difficult subject.


Physics – Physics is my favourite subject.



Rule 2: The collective nouns which are singular in form but are used as plurals – cattle, gentry, people, poultry, alms, riches, clothes, police, folk, cannon, cavalry, infantry, peasantry, clergy, majority.


* Collective noun: committee, jury, family, mob, crowd, audience, police, team, staff, public are used with singular verbs when they are used as a body or group and not as a member e.g.


Riches       Riches has gone to his head.


Vermin      These vermin spread disease.


Clothes       Her clothes were always very smart.


Gentry       The gentry are people of good

                    social position.



  • The Japanese are hard-working people.


  • There are many different peoples in Europe.


  • The French are a brave people.


Rule 3: Instruments, diseases, games e.g. scissors, tongs, pliers, drawers, measles, mumps, spectacles, glasses, trousers, jeans, shorts, sunglasses, billiards etc.




Scissors                                      My scissors are lost. (In case of singular, a pair of scissors is blunt.)


Trousers                                       His trousers were torn.


Spectacles                                    Where are my spectacles?



Rule 4: Some nouns have the same form for both singular and plural and are expressed singular or plural only by the use of verb e.g. deer, swine, sheep, fish, salmon, hair, offspring e.g.


Incorrect: This pond has many fishes. (The word fishes expresses the number of fish but fish itself is a plural word.)


Correct: – This pond has many fish.


(Fish and hair are singular when used collectively, but when they are used to point out separate things (or countable), they are used in the plural sense e.g.



Fish: There is plenty of fish here.


  • There were some red and white fishes.


  • I have five golden fishes in my aquarium.


Hair: Mary has golden hair.


  • He has a few grey hairs in his beard.


  • I have five grey hairs.


Rule 5: When some nouns are used after numeral adjectives, their form is singular – score, dozen, hundred, thousand, pound, pair, gross, etc. e.g.


Dozen: I bought two dozen eggs.


Hundred: I have six hundred rupees.



Rule 6: Proper, Abstract and Material Nouns have no plural forms. When they are put in the Plural, they are used as Common Nouns.


               Wrong                                                       Right


He did many mischiefs.                       He did many acts of mischief.


He gave us many advices.                   He gave us many pieces of advice.


Excuse me for the troubles.                Excuse me for the trouble.


He gave me many abuses.                   He showered a lot of abuse on me.


He was fond of bad companies.           He was fond of bad company.

                                                                 (or bad companions).

Your informations are wrong.               Your information is wrong.


His house is built of stones.                  His house Is built of stone.


He had a bag of rices.                           He had a bag of rice.



But we can say

  1. He did many kindnesses (= acts of kindness). (Common)


  1. She has many virtues (= kinds of virtue). (Common)



Rule 8:- The plural of a compound noun is usually made by adding “s” to the principal word e.g. Commanders-in-chief, sons-in-law, brothers-in-law, maid-servants, passers-by, men-in-war.


     Singular                            Plural


Commander-In-chief     Commanders-in-chief
Son-In-law                    Sons-in-law
Stepson                        Stepsons
Stepdaughter                Stepdaughters
Maidservant                  Maidservants
Manservant                  Menservants


Rule 9: – Some nouns have two forms for the plural, each with a somewhat different meaning.


Noun                             Singular                     Plural


Brother                          Brother                         Brothers – sons of the same parent.

Brethren- members of a society or a community.

Dice                                                                      Dies-stamps for coining.

Dice-small cubes used in games.

Index                               Index                           Indexes – tables of contents in a book.

Indices-signs used in algebra

Cloth                                                                     Clothes – garments

Cloths – kinds or pieces of cloth.

Penny                            Penny                          Pennies – number of coins

Pence – amount in value



Rule 10:- Material and abstract nouns have no plurals when they use the following words – marble, brick, stone, iron, etc.


We use these words in singular only (while referring to them as materials) e.g.


  • Your house is made of stone / glass.


  • This house is made of brick.


(Here, brick is used as a material noun so its plural form is not appropriate here)




The Possessive Case is chiefly used:


1)          When the Noun denotes something living e.g.


The rat’s tail, the man’s hands


  • When the Noun denotes some personified things e.g.


Duty’s call, England’s heroes


  • When the Noun denotes time, space, or weight e.g.

A days’ march, a week’s holiday, in a year’s time, a metre’s length, a pound’s weight


4)           When the Noun denotes anything without life, it is generally expressed by the preposition ‘of’ e.g.              


‘The legs of the chair’, NOT ‘the chair’s legs.’


‘The pages of the book’, NOT ‘the book’s pages’


‘The roof of the house’, NOT ‘the house’s roof’


‘The cover of the book’, NOT ‘the book’s cover’



NOTE: When several nouns are taken together, a Possessive Case is formed by adding s to the last word e.g.


His father-in-law’s house.


The Chairman of the Committee’s report.