Abstract nouns refer to a state quality or feeling. They cannot be perceived by any of the five senses.
The following abstract nouns resources are designed to be used when you are introducing this concept. There is a handy definition poster, a reference list and 3 worksheets that explore the question - what are abstract nouns?
Here are some examples of abstract nouns : justice, bravery, happiness, fear, calm, belief, sorrow, coldness, childhood, clarity, stupidity, luxury, luck, freedom, right, generosity, friendship, goodness, movement, sleep and awareness. You will find more examples in the abstract nouns list below.
Activity Ideas for Abstract Nouns
Try these lesson ideas when you are introducing abstract nouns.
1. Riddle and brainstorming
Introduce abstract nouns by giving your class a riddle. What can't be touched, smelt, heard, seen, or tasted? The answer is any idea or concept.
Get your students to brainstorm specific ideas or concepts and write them on the board. When they are done give them a copy of the list of 100 below. They can add any new words that the class thought of to this list.
If they paste this list into a workbook it can be used as a handy reference when writing stories.
2. Alphabet lists
Write an alphabetical list, one word for each letter of the alphabet. Words can be sourced from anywhere: memory, discussions, this list or a dictionary.
For more of a challenge write a backwards alphabetical list. Start at Z and work your way up to A.
For something a bit different, find a word for each letter of your first, middle and last name.
If you have limited time find a word for each letter of your first name
More Activity Ideas for Abstract Nouns
Try these activities when you are exploring abstract nouns with your students.
1. Choose a subject
Choose any subject and write 3 abstract nouns that relate to it.
For clowns you could write happiness, jokes and stunts. For graveyard you could write death, sadness and grief. For food you could write hunger and satisfaction.
To go deeper, paint a picture of something that you have done: playing at the beach, walking through a forest, reading a book, opening presents. In black marker, write related words on strips of paper and glue them all around the picture.
2. Talk to a friend
Talk to a friend and use one of the words from your conversation in your list in a sentence. For more of a challenge ask two people to talk and let the class or a small group listen and then write down any abstract nouns they use. These can then be used to create sentences.
Another version of this is to read a page from a book and ask your students to write down any abstract nouns that they hear.
To extend this further ask your students to write the sentence at the bottom of a page and then draw an illustration to go with it above. This activity will naturally lead to a discussion about how you draw something that can't be perceived by our senses. Students may need to rely on facial expressions that show emotion like anger or use symbols to convey ideas like peace or justice.
3. Class Collection.
Make a class collection of abstract nouns. Fill up a door, window or notice board with colored rectangles that have words written on them. These could be placed under the poster, What is an abstract noun? (the link is above).
Play charades with these words. A student acts out one of the words and the class must guess which word it is. It may help to have the words listed on the board or on a poster the first time this game is played.
If the class is enjoying this activity you can explore it further. Ask each student to write a word on a piece of paper. All the words are put in a container and then used for the game.
Older students can write a whole sentence to be put in the container and two or three students can act it out. The girls were disappointed when their ball went over the fence.