Nouns

A noun is a person (Simon, Alice, the prime minister), a place (Germany, living room, park) or a thing (car, pencil, water).

Regular Nouns

Most plural nouns in English form the plural by adding “-s” to the end of the singular noun.

Singular Plural
pen pens
rabbit rabbits
moon moons
apple apples

Make plurals with singular nouns that end in “s”, “x”, “z”, “ch”, “sh” by adding “-es”.

Singular Plural
sandwich sandwiches
box boxes
stress stresses
wish wishes
waltz waltzes

Singular nouns ending in a consonant and then “y” makes the plural by dropping the “y” and adding “-ies”.

Singular Plural
fairy fairies
penny pennies
city cities

Irregular Nouns

There are some irregular noun plurals. Here are some of the most common.

Singular Plural
man men
woman women
child children
person people
mouse mice
leaf leaves
half halves
wife wives
life lives
potato potatoes
tomato tomatoes
focus foci
analysis analyses
thesis theses
crisis crises
phenomenon phenomena

There are nouns have the same form in both the singular and the plural.

Singular Plural
sheep sheep
fish fish
deer deer

Irregular Verb/Noun Agreement

Some nouns have a plural form but take a singular verb.

Plural nouns used with a singular verb Example sentence
linguistics Poppy studies linguistics at university.
athletics He chose athletics because it keeps him fit.
Noticias We watch the news every morning at 7 a.m.

There are nouns with fixed plural forms. These nouns take plural verbs and are either not used in the singular or have a different meaning in the singular.

Plural noun with plural verb Example sentence
glasses My glasses make me look more intelligent.
scissors Those scissors are sharp.
trousers These are my favorite trousers.

Countable Nouns

Countable nouns, as their name suggests, are nouns that can be counted with numbers and we can use “a” “an” with. They have a singular and a plural form.

Ben has seven backpacks.

She has a banana in her lunch box.

I put two rats in my snake’s tank.

Uncountable Nouns

Uncountable nouns are those we cannot count with numbers. They are mostly the names for qualities, ideas or physical things that are changeable like liquids and gases. Uncountable nouns are used with a singular verb and do not have a plural form.

Examples:

  • Water
  • Oxygen
  • Money
  • Hate
  • Love
  • Evidence
  • knowledge

We cannot use “a” or “an” with uncountable nouns. Instead, we must use words and phrases such as “some...”, “a little...”, “a glass of...”, “5 lbs of…”, etc.

There is a little water in my boots.

He has lots of money in his bank account.

There is a ton of evidence to convict him of the crime.

Compound Nouns

Compound nouns are two or more words joined together to make a single noun. They can be words written together, words that are hyphenated, or separate words that go together by meaning.

Here are the different forms compound nouns can take with examples.

Format Example
noun+noun

policeman

girlfriend

businesswoman

noun+verb

bellyflop

haircut

skyscraper

noun+adverb

passer-by

hanger-on

verb+noun

racing track

washing machine

viewing area

verb+adverb

lookout

drawback

adverb +noun

underground

onlooker

adjective+verb

highlight

dry-cleaning

adjective+noun

blackboard

redhead

adverb+verb

upturn

output

Capitalization Rules for Nouns

Below are the times you should always use capitals when writing nouns.

The beginning of a sentence

Men are not allowed to go into the Women’s changing room.
Dogs make great pets.

The first person personal pronoun, I

To be honest, I don’t like the Star Wars movies.
If you want me to, I can clean your car too.

Names and titles of people

The President of the United States
Martin Luther King
Marie Curie
The Queen of England
Doctor Maria Gonzalez

Titles of works, books, movies

The Tempest
Pride and Prejudice
The Quran
Jaws

Months of the year

Enero
Julio
Febrero
Agosto

Days of the week

Lunes
Viernes
Martes
Sabado

Seasons

Spring
Summer
Autumn
Winter

Holidays

Halloween
Thanksgiving
Remembrance Day

Names of countries and continents

Zimbabue
Francia
Perú
Tailandia

Names of regions, states, districts

Oregon
Brittany
Tuscany

Names of cities, towns, villages

Manchester
Cape Town
Abu Dhabi
Vancouver

Names of rivers, oceans, seas, lakes

the Atlantic
the Pacific
Lake Heron
the Seine
the Thames

Names of geographical formations

the Himalayas
Snowdonia
the Gobi Desert

Adjectives relating to nationality

Italian food
German music
Egyptian history

Collective nouns for nationalities

the Japanese
the English
the Americans

Language names

I speak Spanish.
She is learning Korean.

Names of streets, buildings, parks

Hyde Park
Sydney Opera House
Central Park

Possessive Nouns

It is possible in English to show possession when referring to nouns by adding an apostrophe and “s” to the end of the noun.

Emma’s house is the one with the black door.

Russia’s most famous city is Moscow.

The dog’s food was spilled all over the kitchen floor.

If the noun already ends in “s”, or if it is a plural noun, add an apostrophe after the “s”.

Jess’ homework got wet in the rain.

The boys’ changing room was messy after the football match.