What is a Noun in English? Understand how to use Noun Gender [With Examples]

What is Noun in English? Understand how to use Noun Gender [With Examples]

A noun is a word used to name a person, animal, place, thing, and abstract idea. Nouns are usually the first words that young children learn. Understanding how to use nouns is important because it is one of the foundations to help you learn English quicker and easier.

The highlighted words in the following sentences are all nouns.

  • Our neighbours bought a new computer last year.
  • Joan Sutherland was an Australian-born opera singer.
  • The bus inspector looked at all the passengers’ passes.
  • Philosophy is of little comfort to the starving.
  • According to Peter, the party will be held in the  entrance near the Christmas tree.

There are different types of Nouns – Proper Nouns, Common Nouns, Countable Nouns, Uncountable Nouns, Collective Noun and Possessive Nouns.  Before we understand these nouns, we need to understand what the noun gender is in English.


Noun Gender

Noun gender systems are popular among Indo-European language such as Spanish, Italian, German, Russian, Polish, Portuguese and French. However, there is no distinction between masculine, feminine in English nouns.

Although gender is sometimes shown by different forms or different words when referring to people or animals in English, there is no distinction between masculine, feminine in English nouns when they refer to people’s roles and jobs.

Examples – Nouns refer to people or animals with the gender system

MasculineFeminineGender neutral
manwomanperson
uncleauntN/A
fathermotherparent
boygirlchild
actoractressN/A
husbandwifespouse
princeprincessN/A
waiterwaitressserver
roosterhenchicken
stallionmarehorse

Examples – Nouns refer to people’s roles and jobs can be used for either a masculine or a feminine subject

Many common nouns that refer to people’s roles and jobs can be used for either a masculine or a feminine subject. For example, ‘teacher’, ‘composer’, musician’, ‘pianist’ and ‘engineer’ can refer to men or women.

  • Mary is my friend. She is an engineer
  • Nike is my brother. He is an engineer.
  • Susan is my daughter. She is a doctor.
  • Peter is my cousin. He is a doctor.
  • Arthur is my friend. He is a student.
  • Jane is my cousin. She is a student.
  • Ludwig van Beethoven was a very prominent composer and pianist in classical music.
  • Clara Schumann was a famous German composer and pianist of the Romantic era.

Although there is no distinction between masculine or a feminine subject when the nouns refer to roles or job title, it is possible to make the distinction for these neutral words by adding the words male or female.

Here are the examples:

  • Susan is my daughter. She is a female doctor.
  • No, he is not my boyfriend, he is just a male friend.
  • I have one female cousin and two male cousins.

 

Did you find difficulty in understanding nouns? Let us know in the comments.

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