Abstract noun masterclass

This lesson helps us understand what abstract nouns are, how they are different from other types of nouns, and how to identify them in a sentence.

What are abstract nouns in English?

An abstract noun is a name given to something that does not have a physical existence. It refers to the name of a feeling, emotion, concept, idea, subject, activity, quality, stage of human life, etc.

Unlike concrete nouns (nouns that have a physical existence), abstract nouns can’t be touched, smelt, tasted, or seen. One can only feel its existence.

Abstract noun and concrete noun difference

Let’s take success as an example of an abstract noun.

Can we see success? Can we touch it? We can’t do these things as it does not have a physical existence. It does not exist in a physical/concrete form; it’s just a concept. It is something we talk about, but we don’t see it.

Similarly, have we ever seen motivation? It’s not something that we can see. It’s an idea that we have created. We can experience it, receive it, and share it without even touching or seeing it.

Types of abstract nouns in English

Abstract nouns list and types


  • You need sheer dedication to pull this off.
  • Most people don’t have clarity on what they want to do.
  • If you need to get out of poverty, stop thinking like a poor.
  • Motivation can take you to places.
  • He is just after fame.
  • Freedom is what we all are chasing.
  • You have kindness in your heart.
  • Honesty is the best policy.
  • You need confidence to be there.
  • She got awarded for her loyalty.
  • You don’t seem to have a lot of passion about it.
  • The man has so much wisdom to pass on.
  • Control your mind to control the outcome of your life.
  • There hasn’t been any development lately.
  • Most people in India look for security in a job.
  • The video has a lot of information about how to have a strong mindset.
  • What you need to be able to make a fortune is dedication, discipline, determination, and love for the game.

Abstract nouns in famous quotes

1. Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. – Steve Jobs

2. Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier. – Mother Teresa

3. Success is not final; failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts.  Winston S. Churchill

4. Before anything else, preparation is the key to success. Alexander Graham Bell

5. Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving. – Albert Einstein

6. The healthiest response to life is joy. – Deepak Chopra

7. Health is the greatest gift, contentment the greatest wealth, and faithfulness the best relationship. – Buddha

8. The greatest pleasure of life is love. – Euripides

9. Education is the movement from darkness to light. – Allan Bloom

10. Learning never exhausts the mind. – Leonardo Da Vinci

Important things to note about abstract nouns

A) Abstract nouns don’t have a physical existence. They refer to something intangible that we have created.
B) Most abstract nouns in English are uncountable, meaning they don’t have a plural form and are considered singular.
C) Abstract nouns can be countable too. Them being plural does not change the fact that they don’t have a physical existence: we can’t see or touch them.

A list of a few abstract nouns that have a plural form:

Singular abstract nounsPlural abstract nouns

Most abstract nouns in English are uncountable and considered singular. But there are a few of them that have a plural form. The real problem here is to identify if an abstract noun is singular or plural. When an abstract noun is uncountable, it refers to an idea, concept, or something else in general. But when it is considered countable, it refers to something intangible as an entity or an event.

“His decision of canceling the plan saved our life.”

In this example, the noun ‘decision’ is abstract and countable as it refers to a singular specific event. It is, though, important for us to notice that the noun still does not refer to something physical in nature.

D) Don’t use indefinite articles or quantifiers before abstract nouns that are uncountable.
  • You need a couarge to be successful.
  • You need courage to be successful.
  • Everyone loves many freedom.
  • Everyone loves freedom.
  • There is a few corruption in almost every country.
  • There is corruption in almost every country.

NOTE: we can modify an uncountable abstract with quantifiers such as much, some, a little, little, a lot of, a great deal of, a bit of, etc.

  • You need a bit of courage to be successful.
  • I need a lot of determination to be successful.
  • There is a little corruption in almost every country.

But don’t use quantifiers such as many, several, a, an, a number of, a few, several, and a majority of as these are used with nouns that are countable in number.


What is an abstract noun?

An abstract noun is a name given to an idea, concept, emotion, state of being, quality, activity, event, etc. It does not have a physical existence, meaning you can’t see, touch, or smell it.

Give some examples of abstract nouns.

Some common abstract nouns in English: love, hate, loyalty, pollution, corruption, education, honesty, childhood, dancing, etc.

Can an abstract noun be plural?

Yes, ab abstract can be plural. Some plural abstract nouns are law, victory, loss, solution, decision, etc.

Is money a concrete or abstract noun?

Money is an abstract noun. You can’t see, touch, or smell it. It’s the coins and notes that are concrete and can be seen, touched, and smelt like the other concrete nouns.

Now, we know everything about abstract nouns. Feel free to share your question, doubt, or feedback in the comment section, and also, share the post with the people that need it.

For one-on-one classes, contact me at [email protected].

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Ashish found his first love—the English language—a few years back. Since then, he has been immersed in the language, breaking down the language and teaching it to passionate English learners. He has a flair for listening to the English language (podcasts, sitcoms, stories), observing the nuances, and making it easy for English learners. He is known for breaking down complex English topics and making them easy to be understood.

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