Monday, August 24, 2015

Abstract or concrete? from Izzy

Dear Word Spy,

I need clarification on abstract and concrete nouns. Such as, is sportsmanship or good an abstract noun?  and would neighbors be a concrete noun? Please let me know, thanks.


Dear Izzy,

Well, usually concrete nouns are described as things you can touch (it comes from a Latin word meaning hard and solidified) and abstract nouns are things you think about, ideas.

So sportsmanship and good would be abstract nouns, as they are ideas. And I guess if your neighbour is solid to touch you could say a neighbour is a concrete noun! although most often people when speaking of concrete nouns mean objects (like shoes or books)   rather than living things.

In the phrase, "love for your  neighbour",  love is definitely an abstract noun, because it's a feeling or an idea. Love isn't something you can hold in your hand. 

I hope this helps! Neither of the categories is so strict that there won't be nouns that fit both categories, or indeed nouns that are neither perhaps abstract or concrete ...

yours, in abstraction, The Word Spy

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