Concrete Nouns in English

Concrete Nouns in EnglishWhat concrete nouns mean. How they differ from other nouns.

Concrete nouns denote physically existing objects and substances including people and animals. They name materials or tangible phenomena. Most nouns are concrete nouns. You can experience them with your 5 senses – by seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, or feeling them. As something physical, they can be touched, felt, held, seen, smelt, tasted, or heard. Concrete nouns clarify and illustrate between general and specific language, blending them naturally.

guitar, soup, house, pipe, cigar, microphone, dog, insect, stone, pebble, cell phone, glasses, cup, plate, napkin, music, paper, computer, soda, beer, toilet paper, pen, pie, pizza

Concrete Typology

Concrete nouns can be common or proper, countable or uncountable, singular or plural.

Common Concrete Nouns

dog, cat, girl, plate air, water

Countable Concrete Nouns 

singular – chair, computer, song, window

plural – chairs, computers, songs, windows

Uncountable Concrete Nouns   

water, air, oil, sugar, salt, rice, cheese

Proper Concrete Nouns  

Mr. Jack Black, Tom Hanks, the Prodigy

Concrete Classification

Concrete nouns divide into things, collectives, and materials.

Thing nouns denote single physical objects (animate/inanimate) with a certain shape and measurements.

boy, girl, dog, table, chair

Collective nouns denote object groups (animate/inanimate) or paired objects.

family, crew, jury, shorts

Material nouns denote physical substances (masses) without a particular shape or measurements.

bread, butter, sugar, tea, copper, timber

Concrete Confusion

concrete nouns abstract nouns
a beauty (pretty girl) beauty
an authority (influential person) authority
a witness (spectator) witness
a space (input symbol) space
concrete things concrete materials
a lemon (fruit piece) lemon
a chicken (animal) chicken
an iron (electrical appliance) iron
a wood (small forest) wood

Concrete Usage

It’s useful to use concrete nouns as metaphors for ideas, helping interlocutors envisage what you are trying to convey.

It’s like a big oval.

As we live in a 3-dimensional world, concrete nouns are easy to understand. By communicating in terms of concrete things we make our interaction more effective.

Things are separate from us and in a way define who we are. Children use dolls and special objects to help them understand the not-me concept. We continue this into later life and our possessions are very much a part of our identity. If they’re taken away, we’ll suffer a significant sense of loss.