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1.2b Abstract and Concrete Nouns

downloadable worksheet

Dave Pippin's downloadable worksheet


Every language has a distinction between abstract and concrete nouns; they are simply labels for different types of things that exist in the world – those that we can see and touch, concrete nouns like toad, belly button, rug, and those abstract nouns that we can’t see or touch like love, truth, or friendliness.


Many abstract nouns are formed by adding one of the many “nominal” suffixes, such as the -ance in performance or the -ion in formation. Look at the linked table here and see if you can come up with more words that take the noun-forming suffixes listed in the left column. Write those new words in the rightmost column.


Are all of the words you came up with abstract nouns? What tests can you use to determine abstractness and concreteness?



key words: nouns, parts of speech, abstract and concrete nouns, Greek and Latin roots


CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.3.1a: Explain the function of nouns, pronouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs in general and their functions in particular sentences. 

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.3.1c:Use abstract nouns (e.g., childhood). 

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.3.4b: Determine the meaning of the new word formed when a known affix is added to a known word (e.g., agreeable/disagreeable, comfortable/uncomfortable, care/careless, heat/preheat). 

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.3.4c: Use a known root word as a clue to the meaning of an unknown word with the same root (e.g., company, companion). 

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.5.4b: Use common, grade-appropriate Greek and Latin affixes and roots as clues to the meaning of a word (e.g., photograph, photosynthesis). 

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