These are things that we CAN physically, see, hear, smell, taste, and feel. They are things that physically affect one or more of our five senses. They are quite easy to identify as they are usually preceded by one of the following articles: a, an, or the. If one of these articles can be put before the word, and when spoken it sounds OK, then it is almost certain that a concrete noun has been found. However, there are always exceptions to the rule!
Veronica, licked a strawberry ice cream.
Ice cream is a concrete noun, as we can see the colour of it, we can taste the flavour of the strawberry, and we can feel the coldness of it on our tongue.
He sat at the table for dinner.
Table is a concrete noun, as we can both see it, and feel it, as we sit down to eat dinner.
Less obvious concrete nouns are things like: heat, electricity, and air, as we are unable to see them, although we are affected by them physically. These are also more difficult to identify as we are unable to use all of the articles before them. A heat, an electricity, and an air, for example do not sound correct, and do not comply with English grammar rules, although we are able to use the article the in front of them.
These are things that we CANNOT physically, see, hear, smell, taste, or feel, although they DO affect our lives in some way.
Beauty, Truth, Lies, Knowledge, Understanding, Justice, Impartiality, Dignity, Strength, Wisdom, Love, and Hatred, are all abstract nouns, which can be put into three different categories.
1. Nouns that describe a Quality.
(a) Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
(b) I promise to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
(c) There is not always justice in the world.
2. Nouns that describe a State.
(a) A good professional has a lot of knowledge.
(b) I need to sleep for one hour everyday in the afternoon.
(c) It is my belief that she was here.
3. Nouns that describe an Event or an Action.
(a) The boxers are going to fight tonight.
(b) I will reply later today.
(c) They heard the girl whisper to me.
What colour is beauty? We do not know as we are unable to see it. What sound does justice make? We do not know as we are unable to hear it. What does sleep smell like? We do not know as we are unable to smell it. What does reply taste like? We do not know as we are unable to taste it. What does whisper feel like? We do not know as we are unable to feel a whisper.
Remember: If we CAN physically, see, hear, smell, taste, or feel something, then it is probably a concrete noun, however, if we are unable to use one of our five senses, although it affects our life in some way, then it is probably an abstract noun.
Source by Philip A Edmonds-Hunt