common nouns

Analysing Nouns

5 min read: this blog post will help you to:

  • identify the different types of nouns
  • explore the connotations and meanings of nouns

Know It!

On a basic level, nouns name things: people, places and things. However, they also name ideas and feelings such as: knowledge, solution, love, happiness.

Test It!

To check if a word is a noun:

  • Place the or some in front of it:          the F1 car some tyres
  • Turn it into a plural:                             tyre → tyres            wheel → wheels
  • Make it possess something:                 Lewis Hamilton’s helmet       The car’s pitstop


Apply It!

Common and Proper Nouns

Common nouns are non-specific names, whereas proper nouns indicate specific names:

Noun Table AConcrete and Abstract Nouns

Concrete nouns are physical things which can be seen, touched and interacted with:

car          school                   laptop                   iphone                  table

Abstract nouns are ideas, processes, occasions, times:

challenge             heroism         excitement          jealousy            appointment

Analyse It!

The noun choices a writer makes reflect the type of text it is and the subject of the text itself. When you analyse a writer’s use of nouns, you should always select a group of nouns that either share characteristics or demonstrate contrasts.

Identify common concrete, abstract and proper nouns in this extract:

SunsetThe all-night raver, the boho-cool hippie chick, the sexiest babe on the beach – Ibiza is all this and more to those who have a soft spot for the party-loving sister of the Balearics. The cream of Europe‘s DJs (David Guetta, Luciano, Sven Väth et al) makes the island holy ground for clubbers. And nowhere does sunset chilling like Sant Antoni de Portmany’s strip of mellow cafes.

Answers:Noun Table B

The commentary below uses the four basic steps to language analysis outlined in this blog post.Noun Table C.JPG

Top Tip:

  • The strongest analysis will discuss contrasts and juxtapositions in language use.

For example, it would explore the meanings of some of the abstract nouns, ‘holy ground’ which presents Ibiza as almost being like a religious experience. Or, ‘soft-spot’ as a term of endearment that shows how much tourists love Ibiza.

It could also explore how some of these nouns are juxtaposed to each other such as ‘chilling’ vs ‘clubbers’ which have individual connotations that suggest Ibiza has very different experiences to offer tourists.

Practise It!

Use your knowledge of nouns and the four basic steps to language analysis method to write a paragraph that answers this question:

How are nouns used in the extract to create effects and meanings?

Mickey Mouse FreenMickey is one lucky guy. Created by animator Walt Disney in 1928, this irrepressible mouse caught a ride on a multimedia juggernaut (film, TV, publishing, music, merchandising and theme parks) that rocketed him into a global stratosphere of recognition, money and influence. Plus, he lives in Disneyland, the ‘Happiest Place on Earth,’ an ‘imagineered’ hyper-reality where the streets are always clean, employees – called ‘cast members’ – are always upbeat and there are parades every day.

Sure, every ride seems to end in a gift store, prices are sky-high and there are grumblings that management could do more about affordable housing and health insurance for employees – but even determined grouches should find reason to grin. For the more than 14 million kids, grandparents, honeymooners and international tourists who visit every year – and those who love them – Disneyland Resort remains a magical experience.

Noun Table D