Nouns and Their Functions

Contributor: Linda Price. Lesson ID: 10090

Have you ever heard the saying, "What's in a name?" What exactly IS a name? Use online resources and your own creativity to learn how nouns are used to name people, places, things, animals, and ideas!



English / Language Arts
learning style
personality style
Grade Level
Intermediate (3-5)
Lesson Type
Quick Query

Lesson Plan - Get It!


Books, librarians, ski slopes, Einstein's Theory of Relativity . . . What are these words used for? How many different types of things do these words name?

In this lesson, you will learn about the different types of nouns and how they function in your writing and speaking.

A noun is a part of speech that denotes a person, animal, place, thing, or idea. The English word "noun" has its roots in the Latin word "nomen," that means name.

Look at the following examples of nouns:

  • person Sigmund Freud, teacher, Mrs. Smith, grandparents
  • animal Fido, elephants, goose, gander, pets
  • place New York City, beach, here
  • thing ball, party, childhood
  • idea Newton’s Theory of Gravity, trust
  1. Divide your sheet of paper into five columns to make a table.
  2. Use one column for each type of noun. Try to place the nouns listed below in the correct column.
  3. Can you add at least three nouns in each column?

Nouns to be placed in the table:

  • Dr. Singh
  • bicycle
  • justice
  • python
  • restaurant
  • cotton
  • education
  • fox
  • office
  • dog
  • alligator
  • coordinator
  • knowledge
  • soda cans
  • peace
  • waitress
  • football stadium
  • baby
  • principal
  • chicken
  • hotel
  • cell phone
  • Empire State Building
  • honesty
  • baggage

You can check your work with the Nouns and Their Functions Answer Key in Downloadable Resources in the right-hand sidebar.

Now that you are familiar with nouns, you need to know how to use them in sentences. Nouns have many functions in your writing.

Nouns can be:

  • the subject of a sentence: Freud was a famous psychologist.

  • direct objects: We didn’t catch many fish when we went fishing at the lake.

  • indirect objects: My teacher gave Mary a bad grade on the essay.

  • the object of prepositions: We went to the beach on our vacation.

  • predicate nominatives or nouns: New York City is a vibrant city.

  • an object complement: My favorite movie is a comedy, Ghostbusters.

These are just some of the main uses of nouns. As you read a book or article, try to identify the nouns in your reading.

Here is another resource for learning nouns and their functions:

Now, you are ready to dig some nouns out of paragraphs in the Got It? section.

Elephango's Philosophy

We help prepare learners for a future that cannot yet be defined. They must be ready for change, willing to learn and able to think critically. Elephango is designed to create lifelong learners who are ready for that rapidly changing future.