A Noun is a word used as the name of a person, place or thing.
For example: Ram, Mohan, Sita, Gita, Kolkata, America, Shakespeare, pen, paper, cigarette, soldier etc.
Noun are classified into four groups. They are :
1. Common Noun
2. Proper Noun
3. Collective Noun
4. Abstract Noun
The words girl, boy, city, country in the above examples are all Common Nouns, because they are the names common to all girls, boys, cities and countries; while Gauri, Ramesh, Delhi and Canada are all Proper Nouns because, they are the names of particular girl, boy, city and country.
[Proper means one's own. Hence, a Proper Noun is a person's own name.]
Note 1 : Proper Nouns are always written with a capital letter at the beginning.
Note 2 : Proper Nouns are sometimes used as Common Nouns;
A Collective Noun is the name of a number (or collection) of persons or things taken together and spoken of as one whole.
Examples: Crowd, mob, team, flock, herd, army, fleet, family, nation, jury, committee, parliament, troop, navy, library.
Thus, when a name denotes a group of similar individuals, considered as one undivided whole, it is called a Collective Noun.
An Abstract Noun is usually the name of a quality, action or state considered apart from the object to which it belongs.
The names of the Arts and Science (Examples: grammar, music, chemistry, physics etc.) are also Abstract Nouns.
[We can speak of a brave soldier, a strong man, a beautiful flower. But we can also think of these qualities apart from any particular person or thing, and speak of bravery, strength, beauty by themselves. So, also we can speak of what persons do or feel apart from the persons themselves, and give it a name. The word abstract means drawn off.]
There are two kinds of number :
A noun that denotes one person or thing is said to be in the Singular Number.
Boy, girl, man, bird, tree, book, pen, baby, sweater etc.
A noun that denotes more than one person or thing is said to be in the Plural Number.
Boys, girls, men, birds, trees, books, pens, babies, sweaters etc.
Generally, the Plurals of nouns are formed by adding 's' to the singular.
But, there are some rules of changing singular nouns into plural ones.
Rule 1 : If —s, —ss, —sh, —ch, —x and —z are the last letters of a noun put —es to the end to make them plural.
But, in case of Stomach (Pronounce Stomak), Monarch (Pronounce Monark) only 's' is needed at their end to make them plural.
Stomach: Stomachs Monarch: Monarchs
Rule 2 : If there is — o in the end of a noun, put — es to the end for plural.
There are some exceptions where only — s is needed for a plural one in — o ending nouns.
Rule 3 : If there are double vowels to the end of a noun put only —s to the end of that noun for plural.
Rule 4 : If –y is the last letter of a noun and that –y is preceded by a consonant, then change –y into –ies for their plural forms.
Rule 5 : If — y is followed by a vowel and the last letter of a noun, put only — s to the end of that noun for plural.
Rule 6 : If —f or —fe are the last letters of a noun, then change —f or —fe into —ves.
Yet, there are some exceptions in this rule, such as :
Rule 7 : It is found that a few nouns form their plural by changing the inside vowel of the singular.
Rule 8 : There are a few nouns that form their plural by adding —en to the singular.
Rule 9 : There are some nouns which have their singular and plural alike.
Rule 10 : There are some nouns which are only used in the plural.
(a) Names of instruments which have two parts forming a kind of pair.
As, Spectacles, scissors, tongs, pincers etc.
(b) Names of certain articles of dress.
As, Trousers, breeches, drawers etc.
Rule 11 : There are some plural forms of nouns which are actually singular.
As, Innings, mathematics, news, civics, politics, physics, ethics, economics, mechanics, summons etc.
Mathematics is an easy subject.
(Mathematics is singular number)
If plural looking subjects are particularised or possessed, they become as plural nouns.
Rule 12 : These nouns are always used in singular number.
Scenery, machinery, poetry, stationery, sultry, jewellery, crockery, luggage, baggage, breakage, haltage, percentage, knowledge, postage, wastage, furniture, information, traffic, coffee, dust etc.
Rule 13 : Certain collective nouns, though singular in form, are always used as plurals.
Poultry, cattle, vermin, people, gentry etc.
Rule 14 : In compound nouns, we make their plural forms only by adding —s to the main word.
Rule 15 : Nouns borrowed from other languages in English have their special rules to change them into plural.
Rule 16 : Some —um ending Latin nouns take only —s in plural form.
Rule 17 : Noun + Proposition + the same noun remain always singular in use.
|Village after village||— correct|
|Match after match||— correct|
|Row upon row||— correct|
|Word for word||— correct|
|Villages after villages||— wrong|
|Matches after matches||— wrong|
|Rows upon rows||— wrong|
|Word for words||— wrong|
Rule 18 : The digits, verbs, pronouns and abbreviations takes their plural form in the following ways :
|M.A.||M.A.s [not M.A.'s]|
|B.A.||B.A.s [not B.A.'s]|
|M.L.A.||M.L.A.s [not M.L.A.'s]|
Rule 19 : Some nouns have two meanings in the singular but only one in plural.
|Light||1. Radiance Lights Lamps|
|2. A lamp|
|Practice||1. Habit Practices habits|
|2. Exercise of a profession|
|Powder||1. Dust Powders doses of medicine|
|2. A dose of medicine in fine|
|Grains like dust|
|People||1. Nation, Peoples, nations|
|2. Men and women|
Rule 20 : Some nouns have two forms for the plural, each with a somewhat different meaning.
|Brother||Brothers : sons of the same parent|
|Brethren : members of a society of a community.|
|Cloth||Cloths : kinds or pieces of cloth.|
|Clothes : garments.|
|Die||Dies : stamps for coining.|
|Dice : small cubes used in games.|
|Fish||Fishes : taken separately.|
|Fish : collectively|
|Genius||Geniuses : persons of great talent|
|Genii : spirits|
|Index||Indexes : tables of contents to books|
|Indices : signs used in algebra|
|Penny||Pennies : number of coins.|
|Pence : amount in value|
Rule 21 : Some nouns have one meaning in the singular and more than one in the plural.
|Colour : hue||1. Colours : hues|
|2. the flag of a regiment.|
|Custom : habit||1. Customs : habits|
|2. duties levied on imports.|
Rule 22 : Some noun changes their meaning when we make them plural.
|Air : atmosphere||Airs : affected manners|
|Alphabet : letter||Alphabets : languages|
|Advice : counsel||Advices : information|
|Abuse : bad language||Abuses : languages|
Rule 23: (a) Abstract Nouns have no plural.
Hope, charity, love, kindness, happiness, hatred etc.
When such words do appear in the plural, they are used as common nouns.
Kindnesses = acts of kindness.
Provocations = instances or cases of provocation.
Rule 23: (b) There are also some names of substances or materials which are never used in plurals. They are called Material Nouns.
Copper, iron, tin, wood etc.
But, when these words are used in the plural, they become Common noun and also, their meanings are changed.
Coppers - copper coins.
Irons - fetters.
Tins - cans made of tin.