Concrete Noun | Definition, Examples & Worksheet
A concrete noun is a noun that refers to a physical thing, person, or place—something or someone that can be perceived with the five senses (touch, hearing, sight, smell, and taste). Examples include “pencil,” “dog,” “Timbuktu,” and “Patricia.”
Concrete nouns are contrasted with abstract nouns, which are words such as “politeness” describing concepts that you can’t perceive directly with the senses.
Concrete nouns vs. abstract nouns
Concrete nouns differ from abstract nouns in terms of the things they describe:
- Concrete nouns refer to anything that can be perceived with the senses, including things, people, animals, and places.
- Abstract nouns refer to anything that is not directly observable. These might be qualities, time designations and measurements, or philosophical ideas.
The same word may often be considered abstract in one sense and concrete in another. For example, consider words that have distinct literal and figurative meanings.
Concrete noun examples
Concrete nouns only refer to things that can be perceived in some physical way, but that’s obviously a huge number of different things. The table below provides examples of concrete nouns referring to various different kinds of things.
It’s important to note that, as shown in the table, a noun is still generally regarded as concrete if it describes something physical that can’t be perceived with the senses alone (e.g., an atom that can only be perceived using a powerful microscope).
|Objects and substances||smartphone, pencil, glasses, chair, window, skirt, rice, water, oxygen|
|Types of living beings (by species, profession, etc.)||duck, human, oak, bacteria, dog, postal worker, president, schoolteacher, criminal, mathematician, foodie, vampire|
|Individual living beings (real, fictional, or mythical)||Fido, Nathalie, Dr. Wilson, Grandma, Julius Caesar, Confucius, Emily Dickinson, Parvati, Lisa Simpson|
|Types of places||house, river, street, field, mountain, forest, peninsula, galaxy, seabed|
|Specific places||Vienna, Libya, Asia, the Pacific Ocean, Jupiter, Delhi, the Nile, the University of Amsterdam, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Himalayas|
Worksheet: Concrete vs. abstract nouns
Want to test your understanding of the difference between concrete and abstract nouns? Try the worksheet below. Just decide whether each highlighted noun is concrete or abstract.
Other interesting language articles
If you want to know more about commonly confused words, definitions, common mistakes, and differences between US and UK spellings, make sure to check out some of our other language articles with explanations, examples, and quizzes.
Frequently asked questions
- What is a concrete noun?
A concrete noun is a noun describing a physical entity that can be perceived with the senses. Concrete nouns may refer to things (e.g., “phone,” “hat”), places (e.g., “France,” “the post office”), or people and animals (e.g., “dog,” “doctor,” “Jamal”).
Concrete nouns are contrasted with abstract nouns, which refer to things that can’t be directly perceived—ideas, theories, concepts, and so on. Examples include “happiness,” “condemnation,” “ethics,” and “time.”
- What is an abstract noun?
Abstract nouns may refer to general or philosophical concepts (e.g., “art,” “democracy,” “evidence”), emotions and personal qualities (e.g., “happiness,” “impatience”), time measurements (e.g., “hours,” “January”), or states of being (e.g., “solidity,” “instability”).
Abstract nouns are the opposite of concrete nouns, which refer to physical things that can be perceived with the senses: objects, substances, places, people and animals, and so on. For example, “window,” “Dorian,” and “sand.”
- What are the different types of nouns?
There are many ways to categorize nouns into various types, and the same noun can fall into multiple categories or even change types depending on context.
Some of the main types of nouns are:
Sources in this article
We strongly encourage students to use sources in their work. You can cite our article (APA Style) or take a deep dive into the articles below.This Scribbr article Sources Show all sources (3)