Spanish as a language

Collective, Concrete and Abstract Nouns in Spanish

The richness of Spanish grammar fascinates theorists and academics all over the world. Spanish vocabulary crosses borders and it is important to understand what we are talking about at any given moment in order to fully master the language.

Do you know collective, concrete and abstract nouns? And what about the common nouns in Spanish?

iScribo helps you to classify the nouns that cause the most confusion when expressing yourself in Spanish.

Concrete Nouns

Concrete nouns are nouns that refer to objects or entities that actually exist. To understand it better, they are tangible, real, physical things that “can be touched”.

They are the most common and have gender and number. Some examples to help you visualise it better are sofá (sofa), candado (lock) or máquina (machine).

La ventana del salón está abierta.

(The living room window is open.)

El avión va a despegar en un momento.

(The plane is going to take off in a moment.)

Abstract Nouns

Abstract nouns are intangible ones. To help you understand this better, imagine things that you cannot physically touch (although you can in a figurative sense, like felicidad – happiness). The beauty of the name of these nouns gives you a hint of how special they can be!

Abstract nouns name realities that cannot be perceived by the senses. Examples are: armonía (harmony), justicia (justice) or miedo (fear).

El olvido juega en contra de la edad.

(Forgetfulness plays against age.)

La sinceridad es lo que más valoro en una persona.

(Sincerity is what I value most in a person.)

Collective Nouns

This is a sub-type of concrete nouns.

Collective nouns are nouns that are used by the individual to designate a collective. The opposite of collective nouns is individual nouns, which in the singular designate a single being or object.

Examples of collective nouns are rebaño (herd – to designate a group of sheep), manada (herd – group of livestock animals) or constelación (constellation – group of stars).

Los toros pastan en manada para preservar su seguridad.

(Bulls graze in a herd to keep them safe.)

El cañaveral florecerá en primavera.

(The reedbed will bloom in spring.)

Mi familia vendrá a cenar por mi cumpleaños.

(My family is coming to dinner for my birthday.)

Examples of individual nouns are lápiz (pencil), frigorífico (fridge) or coche (car).

Expand Your Knowledge

Knowing the names of nouns and how to classify them can help you improve your Spanish vocabulary.

As well as helping you determine the difference between collective, concrete and abstract nouns, knowing the characteristics of a language helps you master it like a native speaker.

What aspect of Spanish grammar do you find most difficult to put into practice? Do you know more types of nouns or more common nouns in Spanish? Tell us in the comments and practice with iScribo.

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