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11+ & KS2 English: What are concrete and abstract nouns?

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

What is a concrete noun?

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A concrete noun is a noun that we can experience through our physical senses.

This means that a concrete noun is something that we can touch, taste, smell, hear or see!

For example

  • Apple
  • Cat
  • Pen
  • Teacher
  • Car
  • Popcorn
popcorn

We are definitely able to touch an apple, see a pen and taste popcorn! Therefore, these are concrete nouns.

What is an abstract noun?

An abstract noun is a noun that we cannot experience through our physical senses.

So, this means that we are not able to touch, taste, smell, hear or see it.

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For example

  • Happiness
  • Comfort
  • Anger
  • Bravery
  • Fear
  • Health
  • Freedom
  • Kindness
  • Equality
Thumbs up

Are you able to see or hear ‘comfort’ or ‘bravery’? No! So we refer to these ideas as abstract nouns.

What is the difference between a concrete and common noun?

A common noun is a category of noun that refers to a person, thing or place. E.g. man, pineapple, city.

  • concrete noun is a type of common noun.
  • An abstract noun is another type of common noun.

A proper noun is a name used for specific person, place, or organisation. Proper nouns start with a capital letter. E.g. Joan, London, Adidas.

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For example

pineapple

A ‘pineapple’ is a common noun that is a concrete noun. 

It is a ‘thing‘, so it is a common noun.

We are able to experience it through the senses, so it is a concrete noun.

Another example

‘Bravery’ is a common noun that is an abstract noun.

It is a ‘thing‘, so it is a common noun.

We are not able to experience it through the senses, so it is an abstract noun.

Concrete and abstract nouns in the 11+ exams

It is important to understand the difference between concrete and abstract nouns for the 11+ exams.

Questions on nouns can often come up in English tests. For example, students can be asked to pick out a specific type of noun from a sentence.

Try out the expert 11+ English practice papers in our shop for questions on nouns and other parts of English speech!

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