Abstract Noun

We all communicate with abstraction at times.  Though an abstract noun doesn’t convey things we can experience with our senses – we can’t feel, touch, see, hear, or taste them – they allow us to express important meaning, nonetheless.

Being able to recognize and use an abstract noun is important, especially in written communication.  While an abstract noun can convey deep emotion, the writer runs the risk of not clearly expressing his or her meaning.  Things get lost in translation when using an abstract noun so to speak. Since abstract nouns are by definition abstract, they can mean different things to different people, so take care to make sure your writing using concrete nouns for clarification. Generally speaking, sentences comprised largely of concrete nouns are more clear and concise.

What is an Abstract Noun?

An abstract noun is the opposite of concrete nouns – nouns that refer to objects you can experience with your five senses. An abstract noun is intangible.  They can identify concepts, experiences, ideas, qualities, and feeling.

Abstract Noun Examples

In some cases, it’s a little difficult to recognize an abstract noun. Some nouns can function as verbs and an abstract noun is no exception.

For example, see how the word “fear” is used in the following two sentences.


What is an abstract Noun?

(In this sentence, fear is an abstract noun because you can’t physically touch, feel, hear, taste, smell, or see it.)
I fear the night.

(In this sentence, fear shows action so it’s a verb.)


Abstract Noun List

Below is an abstract noun list.

Love Anger Hate
Peace Loyalty Integrity
Pride Courage Deceit
Honesty Trust Compassion
Bravery Misery Childhood
Knowledge Patriotism Friendship

Though the above list is by no means an exhaustive abstract noun list, it should start you thinking about the power of an abstract noun and how to use them in your writing. But hopefully you won’t think too abstractly!