Abstract Noun – A noun denoting an idea, quality, or state rather than a concrete object, e.g. truth, danger, happiness.
Abstract nouns name a quality or an idea. These words cannot be experienced with the five senses; instead, these nouns symbolize abstract concepts such as charity, hatred, and justice.
What Is an Abstract Noun?
An abstract noun names a quality or an idea. Abstract nouns are nouns that name abstract concepts, or concepts that cannot be experienced with the senses. In contrast, concrete nouns name things that we can know by our senses (mosquito, grass, bacon, etc.)
We can think of an abstract noun as being similar to abstract painting. Both abstract nouns and abstract art represent ideas instead of concrete objects.
Examples of Abstract Nouns
Examples of abstract nouns include liberty, anger, freedom, love, generosity, charity, and democracy. Notice that these nouns express ideas, concepts, or qualities that cannot be seen or experienced. We cannot see, hear, touch, taste, or smell these concepts.
If we return to the comparison of abstract nouns to abstract art, you can see that it would be difficult to paint an abstract concept like liberty. We might be able to paint something that represents liberty, though.
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Usage of Abstract Nouns
Like other nouns, abstract nouns can be used as the subject or object in a sentence. For example, the word anger is an abstract noun used as the subject of the following sentence:
Anger is not a productive response to criticism.
In the following sentence, the abstract noun “hope” functions as the direct object:
We must never lose hope.
Capitalization of Abstract Nouns
Abstract nouns are typically not capitalized when they occur within a sentence. Notice that the abstract noun liberty is not capitalized in the following sentence:
‘Give me liberty or give me death!’ Patrick Henry declared.
Like any other word that begins a sentence, however, an abstract noun should be capitalized if it appears as the first word in a sentence. For example, the abstract noun truth is capitalized in the following sentence only because it is the first word of the sentence.
‘Truth is the most valuable thing we have,’ said Mark Twain.
Abstract nouns should also be capitalized when they appear in a title. For example, the abstract noun love is capitalized in the song title ‘Be My Love’ only because it appears in the song’s title.
Pronouns for Abstract Nouns:
Pronouns are words used to replace nouns. Gender-neutral pronouns are used to replace abstract nouns. Avoid using he, she, his, or hers to replace abstract nouns. Here is an example of a gender-neutral pronoun used to replace an abstract noun:
Virtue is its own reward.
Abstract nouns are nouns that express a quality or an idea such as integrity and honesty. These nouns are not capitalized unless they appear as the first word in a sentence or as a word in a title. Abstract nouns are replaced by gender-neutral pronouns, and these nouns can be used as a sentence’s subject or object.
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