Nouns in English: Types and Functions

A noun is a word that names something such as a person, place or thing. In a sentence, a noun can have various functions: as a subject, as a direct object, as an indirect object, as a complement to a subject, as a complement to an object, as an adjective and as an appositive.

Nouns are?
Nouns are nouns. A word that names something such as a person, place or thing. Objects here do not mean only inanimate objects but also include living things such as humans, animals and plants.

Abstract concepts such as beauty, knowledge and education are also included in the noun category in English.

Nouns that refer to the names of people or objects are called proper nouns, while other than that they are called common nouns.

What is the function of nouns in English?
In sentences, nouns can have various functions: they can function as subject, direct object, indirect object, subject complement, object complement, adjective and apositive.

Nouns that function as subjects are at the beginning of sentences such as:

A cat plays in the yard


A cat is a noun that functions as the subject in the sentence above.

Nouns that function as objects are after the verb [predicate or verb] in sentences such as the following example:

Rudi drives a Porsche to school.


Porsche are nouns that function as objects in the sentence above. in other words the object of the verb drives.

Nouns that function as objects of prepositions, as the name implies, must be present after the object of prepositions. Consider the following example of Neil Armstrong's quote:

This is one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.


For is a preposition while a man functions as the object of the preposition for. In the second part, mankind is the next object preposition.