Abstract Nouns

Abstract nouns are ideas, beliefs, conditions, emotions, movements, and qualities: things that exist in the physical universe. Usually, they're not made of matter. (They still matter, though.)

They are the opposite of concrete nouns. Can't touch them.

Here are some examples of abstract nouns:
- love
- creativity
- happiness
- greed
- truth
- imagination
-progress

 

Examples

"When Joe told his parents that he broke the window, they were surprised by his honesty, but they still grounded him for three months anyway."

Honesty is an abstract noun because it doesn't take up any physical space in the universe. You can't point to it, pick it up, or carry it to an alter as a ritual sacrifice.

"Our Flag Day party was a smashing success."

You can't see, feel, taste, touch, or smell success (unless it's in the form of an Oscar statuette), so it's an abstract noun.

"It takes a lot of courage to wear a fanny pack."

Courage is an abstract noun because you can't apply any of the five senses to it.

 

Common mistakes

Abstract nouns are singular in form, which means they require a singular verb. Simple as that.

Example:

"The faith of Chicago Cubs fans are admirable, if not a little a bit misguided."

OR

"The faith of Chicago Cubs fans is admirable, if not a little a bit misguided."

The first sentence is incorrect because faith is a singular noun, but are is a plural verb. The second sentence is correct because it matches a singular noun (faith) with a singular verb (is). The end.