Abstract and concrete nouns are contrasted in terms of what they describe.
Abstract nouns refer to anything conceptual that can’t be perceived sensorily, including philosophical movements, emotional states, and units of time.
Concrete nouns name any person, place, or thing that is (at least in theory) perceptible to the senses, such as subatomic particles, historical figures, and vehicles.
Examples: Abstract nouns and concrete nouns The aroma of freshly baked bread filled the kitchen.
Drowsiness overtook Stephen while he studied, but, as soon as his head hit the pillow, his mind began to race with possibilities for the future.
Many words can function as either abstract or concrete nouns depending on the context. The distinction between concrete and abstract nouns is open to interpretation in many cases.
Example: Nouns that can be abstract or concrete Art is an essential part of human cultures.
I’m shopping for art that will liven up my office.
In terms of grammar, abstract and concrete nouns function in precisely the same ways. The distinction between the two types of nouns can be particularly useful in discussions of figurative language (e.g., metaphor and metonymy).
Abstract noun examples
Examples of concrete nouns can fall into several groups, including those in the table that follows. As the examples demonstrate, nouns are considered abstract if they don’t have a physical aspect.
In addition to concrete vs. abstract, there are many other ways to categorize nouns, including many important grammatical distinctions. These include common nouns vs. proper nouns, plural nouns vs. singular nouns, and countable nouns vs. uncountable nouns, among others.
The QuillBot Grammar Checker can help you make sure you’re using nouns correctly.
Formation of abstract nouns
Abstract nouns typically end in specific suffixes such as “-al” and “-ism” because they're formed from other parts of speech (e.g., the verb “refer” becomes the noun “referral”).
Many abstract nouns don’t include these suffixes, but words that include these suffixes are usually abstract nouns.
How is a concrete noun different from an abstract noun?
Concrete nouns refer to people, places, or things that are physically observable to the senses. Examples include “Mrs. Robins,” “snowstorm,” “San Juan,” “moonlight,” and “book.”
Abstract nouns, in contrast, name constructs that can’t be observed with the senses, such as ideas, moods, and values. Examples include “nostalgia,” “weekday,” “peace,” “era,” and “academia.”
Is freedom an abstract or concrete noun?
“Freedom” is an abstract noun. It denotes a conceptual state beyond the reach of the five senses. Although we can observe tangible expressions of freedom, such as unrestricted movement, the concept exists in the mind and not in the physical realm.
Is talent an abstract or concrete noun?
“Talent” is an abstract noun, signifying a conceptual quality, not a physical object. It encompasses innate abilities or skills individuals possess, making it impossible to touch or perceive directly.
What are the different types of nouns?
Nouns can be categorized in a wide variety of ways, including the following: