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Noun Study Notes: Introduction, Types, and Rules

English Language section is subsumed in almost every Government Examination let it be SSC, Bank, Railway and other exams to check one’s basic knowledge and advanced grip on the subject as English is an ineluctable part not only of our professional but also of our indigenous life. Due to various reasons, a myriad number of aspirants are phobic to this mandatory subject when in reality, this is just a subject of a few grammar rules and a collection of vocabulary. In this article, we’ll cover all the important rules, types and different aspects of a noun.

What’s a Noun

Nouns are naming words that are used to name people, places, animals, objects and ideas. In a sentence, nouns perform different roles. It can play the role of subject, direct object, indirect object, subject complement, object complement, appositive, or adjective. Also, Nouns can function as adjectives and verbs.

Noun Examples:

  • People – Rohit, Shally, Man, Person, Jhony, Women, Girl, The President
  • Places – Mumbai, India, Italy, South Pole, Brazil, The Ganga River, Classroom, Washroom, Basketball Court, Football Ground, Swimming Pool
  • Animals/Birds/Aquatic Animals/Reptiles – Tiger, Deer, Lizard, Ostrich, Flamingo, Bear, Dogt, Fish, Dolphin
  • Ideas – Invention, Evolution, Extinction, Discussion, Conclusion, Argument, Destruction
  • Objects/Things – Ball, Car, Bedsheet, Stone, Bag, Laptop, Desk

Types of Noun

1. Proper Noun: a proper noun is the name of some particular person or place.
Ex- Ram, Shyam, Delhi.
2. Common Noun: A Common noun is a name given in common to every person or thing of the same kind or class.
Ex- boy, girl, teacher, etc.
3. Collective noun: A collective noun is the name of a group of persons or things.
Ex-army, committee, crowd, etc.
4. Abstract Noun: a noun denoting an idea, quality, or state rather than a concrete object.
Ex- strength, innocence, fear, judgment. Etc.
5. Material Noun: Material noun is the name given to the material, substance or things made up of The alloy.
Ex- cotton, gold, silver etc.

NOUN: Gender

1. Masculine Gender
A noun that denotes a male animal is said to be of the Masculine Gender.
Ex-Man, boy, Tiger, Sun, etc.
2. Feminine Gender: A noun that denotes a female animal is said to be of the Feminine Gender.
Ex- woman, girl, nature, lioness, etc.
3. Common Gender: A noun that denotes either a male or a female is said to be of the common gender.
Ex- Parent, child, student, cousin, etc.
4. Neuter Gender: A noun that denotes a thing without life, neither male nor female, is said to be of the Neuter gender.
Ex- Book, Pen, room etc.


1. Singular Noun: 
A noun that denotes one person or thing, is said to be in the Singular Number.
Ex- pen, cow, boy etc.
2. Plural Noun: A noun that denotes more than one person or thing, is said to be in the plural Number.
Ex- Pens, Boys, Cows etc
NOUN: Countable and Uncountable  Noun
Countable nouns are the names of objects, people etc that we can count.
Ex- book, apple, doctor, horse etc.
Uncountable nouns are the names of things which we can’t count.
They mainly denote substance and abstract things.
Ex- milk, oil, sugar, gold, honesty etc.


The case of a noun tells us about the position of that noun or pronoun in a sentence.
In English, there are five cases.
  • Nominative case: a noun is said to be in the nominative case if it is the subject of a verb. Ex- Ram is an intelligent boy.
  • Objective case: Nouns or Pronouns are said to be in objective case if they are the direct object of verbs or the objects of the preposition.
  • Dative case: A noun is said to be in Dative case if it is the indirect object of the verb.
  • Rohan brought me a flower. (‘Me’ is in dative case)
  • Possessive case: A noun is said to be in the possessive case if it denotes possession or ownership.  Ex- This is your pencil. (‘your’ is in possessive case)
  • Vocative case: A noun or pronoun is said to be in vocative case if it is used to call ( or to get attention of a person or persons). Ex- Mr. Mallya, people are waiting for you in the hall. (Mr. Mallya is in vocative case)
  • NOUN in Apposition

when one noun follows another to describe it, the noun which follows is said to be in apposition to the noun which comes before it.

  • Ex- Ram, our captain, made fifty runs.
  • Kabir, the great reformer, was a weaver.


1. Some nouns always take a singular verb.

Scenery, advice, information, machinery, stationery, furniture, abuse, fuel, rice, gram, issue, bedding, repair, news, mischief, poetry, business, economics, physics, mathematics, classic, ethics, athletics, innings, gallows.

  1. The scenery of Kashmir are enchanting. (Correct use- is)
  2. He has given advices. (Correct use- advice)

2. Some nouns are singular in meaning, but they are used as plural nouns and always take a plural verb.

Cattle, gentry, vermin, peasantry, artillery, people, clergy, company, police.

  1. The cattle is grazing in the ground. (correct use- are)
  2. Police has controlled the situation. ( correct use- have)

3. Some nouns are always used in a plural form and always take a plural verb.

Trousers, scissors, spectacles, stockings, shorts, measles, goods, alms, premises, thanks, tidings, annals, chattels, etc.

  1. Where is my trousers? (correct use- are) 
  2. Spectacles is a costly item. (correct use- are) 

4. There are some nouns that indicate length, measure, money, weight or number. When they are preceded by a numeral, they remain unchanged in form.

Foot, meter, pair, score, dozen, head, year, hundred, thousand, million.

  1. It is a five years degree course. (correct use- year)
  2. I have seven dozens of shoes. (correct use- dozen) 

5. Collective nouns such as jury, public, team, committee, government, audience, orchestra, company, etc. are used both as singular and Plural. It depends on the usage.

  1. The jury was divided in their opinion. (correct use- were)
  2. The team have not arrived yet. (correct use- has) 

6. Some nouns have one meaning in the singular and another in the plural:

  • Advice = counsel, advices = information
  • Air = atmosphere, airs = proud
  • Authority = command, authorities = persons in power
  •  Good = wise , goods = property
  • Iron = metal, irons = fetters, chains
  • Force = strength, forces = army
  • Content = satisfaction, contents = things contained
  • Respect = regards, respects = compliments
  • Work = job, works = compositions, factories,.

7. People are often confused or they commit mistakes in the use of certain nouns.

  1. Lecturership is wrong: lectureship is correct.
  2. Freeship is wrong; free – studentship is correct.
  3. Boarding is wrong; boarding house is correct.
  4. Family members is wrong; members of the family is correct.
  5. English teacher is wrong; the teacher of English is correct.
  6. Cousin – brother or sister is wrong; only cousin is correct.
  7. Wages means punishments when used in the singular.
  8. It also means charges for the labour when used in the plural sense.

8. A pronoun must agree with its antecedent in person, number and gender.

For Example

  •  Every student must bring his luggage.
  • All students must do their home work.
  • Each of the boys must carry his own bag.

9. While using ‘everybody’ ‘everyone’, ‘anybody’, and ‘each’ the pronoun of the masculine or the feminine gender is used according to the context.

  • I shall be happy to help each of the boys in this practice.
  • But when the sex is not mentioned, we use the pronoun of the masculine gender.
  • Anyone can qualify this exam if he tries.
  • Each of the six boys in the class has finished their tasks. (Incorrect)
  • Each of the six boys in the class has finished his task. (Correct)

10. The pronoun ‘one’ must be followed by ‘one’s’.

  • One must finish his homework in time.  (Incorrect)
  • One must finish one’s homework in time.  (Correct)

11. Enjoy, apply, resign, acquit, drive, exert, avail, pride, absent, etc., when used as transitive verbs, always take a reflexive pronoun after them. When ‘self’ is added to ‘my’, ‘your’, ‘him’, ‘her’, and ‘it’, and ‘selves’ to our and them – they are known as reflexive pronouns.

  • He absented from the meeting. (Incorrect)
  • He absented himself from the meeting. (Correct)

12. ‘Who’ denotes the subject and ‘whom’ is used for the object?

Who: It’s the subject of a verb—e.g., Who gave you that book?

It’s a predicate nominative (a noun in the predicate that renames or refers to the sentence’s subject)—e.g., This is who I am.

Whom is an objective pronoun, which is a pronoun that receives the action of a verb. It also has two main uses:

  • It is the object of a verb—e.g., Whom should I call?
  • It is the object of a preposition—e.g., From whom did you get this information?

13. When two or more singular nouns are connected by ‘either or’; ‘neither nor’, ; and ‘or’, the pronoun used is singular.

  • Either Rohan or Sohan will give their bike. (Incorrect)
  • Either Rohan or sohan will give his book. (Correct)

14. When a singular and a plural noun are joined by ‘or’, ‘nor’, the pronoun must be plural.

  • Either the student or his teachers failed in his duty. (Incorrect)
  • Either the student or his teachers failed in their duty. (Correct)

15. ‘Whose’ is used for living persons and ‘which’ for lifeless objects.

  • Which novel did you select?
  • Whose photograph is lying there?

16. ‘Each other’ is used when there are two subjects or objects and ‘one another’ when there are more than two.

  • Ram and Sita loved each other.
  • Those five students, who are sitting there, love one another.

17. When a pronoun stands for a collective noun, it must be in the singular number and in the neuter gender if the collective noun is viewed as a whole but if it gives an idea of different entities, plural pronoun is used. 

Eg: The jury gave ‘its’ verdict.

Here the ‘jury’ gives the idea of one whole.

If the collective noun conveys the idea of separate individuals comprising the whole, the pronoun standing for it must be plural.

Eg: The jury were divided in their opinions.

in this sentence, the ‘jury’ gives the idea of several individuals.

18. If pronouns of different persons are to be used together in a sentence, the serial order of persons should be as follows;

Second person(2) + third (3)+ first person(1) in  normal sentences. But when mistake or fault is expressed in the sentence, the order should be; first person(1) + second person(2) + third person(3). RULE-231

Eg: You, he and I have finished the work. (Normal idea)

I, you and he are to blame. (here Confession of guilt is expressed , it’s a negative idea, hence order is 123)

19. ‘Some’ is used in affirmative sentences to express quantity or degree. ‘Any’ is uses in negative or interrogative sentences.

  • I shall buy some apples.
  • I shall not buy any apples.
  • Have you bought any apples?

But ‘some’ may be correctly used in interrogative sentences which are, in fact, requests.

  • Will you please give me some water?

20. The use of ‘few’, ‘a few’’ and ‘the few’ should be used with care. They denote ‘number’.

‘Few’ means ‘not many’, ‘almost nothing’.  A ‘few’ is positive and means ‘some at least’. ‘The few’ means ‘whatever there is’.

  • A few men are free from fault. (Incorrect)
  • Few men are free from fault. (Correct)

21. Use of ‘less’ and ‘fewer’

‘Less’ denotes quantity and ‘fewer’ denote number.

  • No less than fifty students were selected. (Incorrect)
  • No fewer than fifty students were selected. (Correct)
  • There are no fewer than five liters of water in the bottle. (Incorrect)
  • There are no less than five liters of water in the bottle. (Correct)

22. Use of little, a little, the little

  1. ‘Little’ means ‘hardly any’
  • There is little hope of his recovery. (Incorrect)
  • There is a little hope of his recovery. (correct)

2. ‘A little’ means ‘some’, though not much.

  • Little knowledge is a dangerous thing. (Incorrect)
  • A little knowledge is a dangerous thing. (Correct)

3. ‘The little means ‘not much but all there is’.

  • Little water that is in the bottle may be used for the child. (Incorrect)
  • The little water that is in the bottle may be used for the patient. (Correct)

23. Use of elder, older.

‘Older’ refers to persons as well as things and is followed by ‘than’.

  • Rohan is elder than all other boys of this area. (Incorrect)
  • Rohan is older than all other boys of this area. (Correct)

‘Elder’ is used for persons of same family.

  • Sabu is my older brother. (Incorrect)
  • Sabu is my elder brother. (Correct)

24. Normally ‘than’ is used in the comparative degree, but with words like superior, inferior, senior, junior, prior, anterior, posterior and prefer ‘to’ is used.

  • Sara is junior than Neeta.( Incorrect)
  • Sara is junior to Neeta. (Correct)
  • I prefer reading than walking. (Incorrect)
  • I prefer reading to walking. (Correct)

25. when a comparison is made by using a comparative followed by ‘than’, the word ‘other’ must exclude the thing compared form the class of things with which it is compared.

  • He is better than any man. (Incorrect)
  • He is better than any other man. (Correct)

‘Any man’ includes the man himself and thus the sentences will be awkward.

26. In some cases, the comparison is subtle and must be given proper attention.

  • Ex- The climate of Delhi is better than Mumbai. (Incorrect)

Here the comparison should be between the climate of Delhi and the climate of Mumbai.

  • The climate of Delhi is better than the climate of Mumbai. (Correct)


The climate of Ranchi is better than that of Gaya. (Correct)

(Here, ‘That of’ means ‘the climate of’)

If the traits are in plural, it will be ‘those of’.

The products of Reliance are better than those of Suzuki.

  • The scenery of Kashmir is better than Shimla. (Incorrect)
  • The scenery of Kashmir is better than that of shimla. (Correct)

27. ‘Many a’ is always followed by the singular verb.

  • Many a student were drowned in the river. (Incorrect)
  • Many a student was drowned in the river. (Correct)

28. If the subject is ‘the number of’ the singular verb is used. And when the expression (‘a +number+of) is used , plural verb is used. 

  • The number of students are very small. (Incorrect)
  • The number of students is very small. Correct
  • A number of girls has passed in the examination. (Incorrect)
  • A number of girls have passed in the examination.( correct)

29. When ‘as well as’, ‘along with’, together with’, ‘no less than’, ‘in addition to’ and ‘not’ and ‘with’ join two subjects, the verb will be used according to the first subject.

  • Ram, as well as his five friends, are going.( Incorrect)
  • Ram, as well as his five friends, is going. (Correct)
  • The teacher, along with the students, were dancing.( Incorrect)
  • The teacher, along with the students, was going. (Correct)

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