They are opposed to abstract nouns, which are those that name non-tangible elements, such as feelings, emotions, or ideas. For example wisdom, hope.
Concrete nouns fall within the category of common nouns and conform to the morphosyntactic norms of the noun: they agree in gender and number with the adjective and the verb.
The concrete nouns are those called objects or beings that can be perceived by the senses. The denominations that can be seen, heard, touched, smelled or tasted fall into this classification. In addition to this group belong those entities that, although their physical existence cannot be corroborated, can be imagined (angel, elf).
In general, nouns are words used to designate people, animals, things, or ideas. That is, they designate or give names to both material and immaterial entities. In turn, they are subdivided into common nouns and proper nouns.
In this sense, common nouns are those that name objects without establishing any difference within their own class (building, tree, pet). Meanwhile, proper nouns identify a being or object making a distinction from others of the same class (Pedro, Paris, America).
In the case of concrete nouns, these are common. Under this classification scheme, concrete nouns can designate entities that can be counted (mass) and that cannot be counted (water). Similarly, there are nouns that cover the denomination individually (person) and collectively (people).
This characteristic refers to the scope of the noun. In the case of concrete nouns, they encompass everything that is detectable through the human senses.
Likewise, the ghost noun is concrete even if it does not exist, since you can have an image in your mind that represents it. On the contrary, the term fear is not a concrete noun. It is a feeling of which you have no mental image and cannot be perceived through the senses.
Enumeration or Measurement Capability
Concrete nouns name objects or entities that can be enumerated (tree, cup). Consequently, they can be modified using numeral adjectives (one tree, five cups).
Thus, the concrete nouns that can be listed can be used in their singular form, when they mention only one unit per object (castle, computer). Likewise, they can designate more than one object, in this case in its plural form (castles, computers).
In the same way, there are specific nouns that name entities that can be measured or quantified but cannot be enumerated. These are known as non-countable. As an example of these, there are water and sand (a glass of water, a sandbag).
Concrete nouns are capable of discriminating the entities they name by type of gender. Thus, there are masculine and feminine nouns. The former are recognized, in the Spanish language, because they can be preceded by “el” or “los”. Meanwhile, the seconds are preceded by “la” or “las”.
The vast majority of concrete nouns have only one gender, masculine or feminine. However, there are also cases of nouns that can vary their gender. These can change from masculine to feminine through certain grammar rules.
One of the most common rules is the change of the “o” for an “a” (boy-girl, teacher-teacher, boy-girl). There are also other derivative morphemes to make the conversion (mayor-mayoress, prince-princess).
Others – like philosophers, island, animals and ships – give an idea of a single being, place, animal or object. These are known as collective and individual, respectively.
Such is the case of words such as archipelagos, herds, and fleets, which are formed according to the rules of pluralization that correspond in each case.
In short, individual nouns convey the idea of a single being, place, animal, or object. On the other hand, the collectives give the idea of a set of beings of the same class.
It should be clarified that the pluralization of individual nouns does not automatically make them collective (goat-goats-flock).
Concrete nouns can, in most cases, be multiclass. This means that they can belong to different group classes. You can find, for example, cases of nouns that can be in the concrete-individual-countable noun sequence (as in the case of the name “woman”).
Examples of concrete nouns