Nouns refer to people, places, things and ideas. However, English grammar separates nouns into several other categories, such as abstract nouns and collective nouns. In addition, pronouns often replace nouns in sentences. Several types of pronouns exist, including personal pronouns and possessive pronouns. Categorizing pronouns and nouns might seem complicated, but studying examples of different types makes it simple.
Personal pronouns replace specific things and people in sentences. Personal pronouns can function as a sentence's subject, such as "he" in the sentence "He ate the leftover applesauce." They also can function as an object, such as "you" in the sentence "Angela will lend that book to you."
Reflexive pronouns indicate that the subject of the sentence receives the action of the verb. For example, "ourselves" in the sentence "We can cook dinner ourselves" is a reflexive pronoun. So is "himself" in the sentence "Joey can drive himself."
Possessive pronouns indicate ownership or possession. For example, "Your" in the sentence "Your jacket is on the floor" is a possessive pronoun, as is "mine" in "The leftover piece of cake is mine."
Interrogative pronouns ask questions. For example, "who" and "what" are interrogative pronouns in the sentences "Who gave you the present?" and "What made that sound?"
Indefinite pronouns refer to a general group or thing, instead of a specific person or thing. For example, "all" is an indefinite pronoun in the sentence "All the players must pass their classes."
Relative pronouns refer to nouns or other pronouns and relate the subject to the verb. For example, "who" is a relative pronoun in "The employee who set off the fire alarm was punished." Relative pronouns are often the same pronouns as interrogative pronouns, but they do not ask a question.
Common nouns are uncapitalized words for people, places or things, such as the librarian, boys, adoration, kitten or parks. Common nouns can be concrete or abstract.
Proper nouns name specific people, places or things. Proper nouns are easy to identify because they are always capitalized. For example, President Obama, Anna, Los Angeles and the Georgia Aquarium are all proper nouns.
Nominative nouns refer to nouns that act as the subject of a sentence. For example, "Jill" is a nominative noun in the sentence "Jill mailed a letter."
Concrete nouns refer to nouns that have visible, concrete forms, such as a cup, frame, chair, certificate or notebook. Ideas cannot be concrete nouns.
Abstract nouns are nouns that don't have a visible form, such as ideas and concepts. Love, freedom, individuality, democracy and loneliness are abstract nouns. Abstract nouns can be the subject of a sentence, such as "Freedom is worth fighting for," or the object of a preposition, such as "Life has no purpose without love."
Collective nouns describe more than one person, place or thing, but are considered a singular noun. For example, herd, class and family are collective nouns. Understanding collective nouns is essential to proper subject-verb agreement. For example, the sentence "My family is big" is grammatically correct, while "My family are big" is incorrect.