Nouns: Those We See and Those We Don't

Contributor: Jennifer Blanchard. Lesson ID: 13808

There are so many different types of nouns: proper, common, plural, collective...the list seems to go on and on! In this lesson, we will have fun with concrete and abstract nouns!



English / Language Arts
learning style
Auditory, Visual
personality style
Otter, Beaver
Grade Level
Intermediate (3-5)
Lesson Type
Quick Query

Lesson Plan - Get It!

  • You can hear a bird, but can you hear friendship?

friends with birds

  • You can smell cookies, but can you smell joy?

happy baking cookies

Even though the words cookies and joy are both nouns, they don't seem quite the same.

Remember that a noun is a person, place, or thing.

The difference is that cookie is a concrete noun while joy is an abstract noun.

A cookie is something solid that we can smell AND eat! Joy is more of an idea or a feeling. It is not something we can hold in our hand and actually feel.

Concrete nouns are nouns that you can observe or identify using your five senses:

  • smell
  • taste
  • touch
  • sight
  • hearing

On the other hand, abstract nouns are nouns that can NOT be identified by your five senses. Abstract nouns can be ideas or concepts.

Check out some examples of concrete and abstract nouns to better understand:

  Concrete Nouns   Abstract Nouns
  house   bravery
  zoo   education
  school   confidence
  teacher   love
  neighbor   adventure
  desk   luck
  book   hope


To determine if a noun is concrete or abstract, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Would I be able to see it?
  • Can I hear it?
  • Could I touch it?
  • Can I taste it?
  • Could I smell it?

If you would be able to notice a noun using any one of your senses, then it is concrete!

For abstract nouns, you cannot sense the noun even if you are able to apply your senses to examples of it.

For example, strength is an abstract noun. You can't actually see strength, but you can see other nouns that show strength such as an Olympian or a steel beam.

Head on over to the Got It? section for more!

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