Difference Between Noun and Adjective

Edited by Diffzy | Updated on: September 20, 2022


Difference Between Noun and Adjective Difference Between Noun and Adjective

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Many people do not fully understand the difference between nouns and adjectives, but it’s quite simple. A noun is simply the name of something, while an adjective defines or describes something. This means that every single word in your vocabulary can be separated into either nouns or adjectives based on their definitions and uses in sentences. The most important distinction between nouns and adjectives, however, has to do with the specific rules that govern each category of word. Read on to learn more about this difference!

It is very important to make a clear difference between nouns and adjectives. Many of us have been heard saying, It was a very nice book, where nice is an adjective meaning it modifies or describes a noun. That is wrong. As you can see in our lesson today, nice here is a noun. Therefore we should say,  It was a very nice book.  In other words, nouns are names of people, places, things, etc., while adjectives are used to describe or modify a noun. For example, She has blue eyes; He has black hair; Her brother is tall; The car is big, etc. You may also use adjectives as pronouns. For example, You look beautiful today; They speak English well; I am happy with my decision. However, there are some common mistakes in using adjectives which we will discuss later on in our lesson. Now let’s start our lesson by discussing different types of nouns.

In general, most nouns can be classified into three categories: Common Nouns Proper Nouns Collective Nouns Common Noun: A common noun refers to any person, place, or thing. For example boy; city; tree; car etc. Proper Noun: A proper noun refers to a specific person, place, or thing and is always capitalized. For example John; New York City; Apple Inc.; Harry Potter etc. Collective Noun: A collective noun refers to any group of persons, animals, or things but not individuals. For example family; team; class etc.

For example, in He is handsome refers to a person whereas the beautiful sunset beautiful describes an event. In other words, we use adjectives to describe nouns. To make it easy for you I have provided some more examples below so that you can understand them better. Hope they will help you out!

Nouns vs Adjectives

Nouns are words that can be used to name any person, place, thing, or idea. For example horses, forests, and computers. This is an important distinction to make because people commonly confuse nouns with adjectives. An adjective describes a noun (like green in green trees or fast in fast cars). In some cases, such as yellow leaves or red apples—the words leaf and apple are both nouns but they act as adjectives when describing yellow or red objects. It’s easy to see here that adjectives describe a noun. But other times it isn't so clear. For instance, what if you said I have a good friend? Good is an adjective but a friend is also a noun. The answer lies in whether or not you could replace good with another adjective like nice. If you could then a friend would be considered an adjective because it's modifying another noun (friend). If you couldn't replace good with another descriptive term then a friend would be considered a noun because it's being used to name something directly (i.e., my friend).

To summarize: You can use adjectives to describe things that are already nouns; however, you cannot use a noun to describe something else unless there's no better way of doing so without using two different words. Confused? That's okay! You're probably just thinking about English grammar too hard. Let's look at a few examples: My dog has brown fur. Fur is an adjective because we could replace it with another color word like black or white. The dog is a noun because we wouldn't be able to change its meaning by replacing it with another kind of animal. My girlfriend likes cats. Girlfriend is a noun but likes is an adjective since we could substitute sweet, lovely, etc. Cats act as both a noun and an adjective since we can refer to them individually (the cat) or collectively (cats). Don't believe me? Here are more examples for you to decide for yourself! Once you've got your ideas down pat, challenge yourself by taking our grammar quiz!

Difference Between Nouns and Adjectives in Tabular form

Table: Nouns vs Adjectives
Noun is the name of a person, place, animal or thing.
Adjective is a word that describes a noun.
Nouns act as subjects or objects in a sentence.
Adjectives act as modifiers.
They can be placed anywhere in a sentence.
Adjectives can be found before or after a noun.
A noun can occur alone in a sentence.
An adjective cannot exist alone.

What are Nouns?

A noun is a person, place, or thing. Each of these elements has three characteristics: gender, number, and case. Gender refers to masculine (male), feminine (female), or neuter (neither). The number refers to singular or plural. The case refers to nominative, genitive, dative, accusative, vocative, locative (or more); when we change those endings of a word it affects meaning in each case. So if you have a cat, that's one cat; if you have two cats, that's two cats. If you have a cat on your lap, that's one cat on your lap; if you have many cats on your lap at once, that's many cats on your lap at once. We can see here how changes in cases affect meaning. You might say I saw a dog or I saw dogs, but you wouldn't say I saw the dog. That doesn't make sense because only one dog is being talked about; therefore, it's either singular or plural depending on whether there is only one dog or multiple dogs. The same applies to other words like man and woman. In English, we use man as a general term for both men and women (mankind), but we don't use a woman for both women and men (womanhood). We can see here how changes in cases affect meaning: mankind vs womanhood. It's important to know which form of a word you should be using so that you're not misunderstood by others. For example, if someone asks you what color dress you want and you answer white, they may think that means any white dress—not necessarily just one white dress. What color do you want? White. But another way to answer would be What color dress do you want? I want a white dress. This way, it's clear that she wants exactly one white dress—not any old white dress but specifically a white dress. And since she said I instead of you, she may be referring to her personal preference rather than asking for help with her friend's wedding gown shopping! It all depends on context!

Types of Nouns

Nouns are classified as either common or proper. A proper noun is a noun that refers to a particular unique entity, such as France, while a common noun can be used to refer to any member of a class, such as a bird. The term common here doesn't refer to something that's commonly used; rather, it means that it's generally considered one entity (which explains why you'd use singular verbs with them). For example, consider these sentences I saw three birds at my feeder today. Here, birds are a common noun because we're talking about more than one bird. Now look at these: I saw an eagle at my feeder today. Here, the eagle is a proper noun because we're talking about just one specific type of bird—an eagle—and not all birds in general.

What are Adjectives?

Adjectives describe or give more information about, nouns. The different types of adjectives are Colors, size, age, material, etc. In a sentence, an adjective can modify a noun by telling us more about it. There are 4 kinds of adjectives: Descriptive (an adjective that describes), Limiting (an adjective that limits or restricts), Demonstrative (an adjective that points out), and Possessive (an adjective that shows ownership). For example, The big blue car is in front of my house. Big is a descriptive adjective that modifies the car while blue is a limiting adjectival because it says how much blue there is on the car. (Blue being one color.) For example, That's some serious wood! Serious is a limiting adjective because it tells us just how serious that piece of wood is. I am feeling lazy today so I am going to take a nap for two hours; Lazy here is also limiting since it tells us just how lazy you feel at present. For example, My ca have beautiful green eyes; Beautiful here tells us just what type of eyes they are-beautiful ones!

Types of Adjectives

Qualifying and non-qualifying adjectives. When most people think of adjectives, they picture words like big or green that describe a noun. These are called descriptive adjectives because they describe someone or something. But there are also two other types of adjectives: qualifying and non-qualifying. Qualifying adjectives modify nouns to give more information about that particular thing; non-qualifying adjectives do not modify nouns but still add important information. For example, I saw an interesting movie is a sentence with one qualifying adjective (interesting) and one non-qualifying adjective (movie). I saw an interesting movie starring Brad Pitt is another sentence with one qualifying adjective (interesting) and one non-qualifying adjective (movie). In both sentences, you know which movie I'm talking about. The first sentence tells you it's interesting, while the second tells you it's starring Brad Pitt.

The Main Difference Between Nouns and Adjectives in Points

  • The main difference between nouns and adjectives is that nouns are used to refer to people, animals, places, or things whereas adjectives are used to give information about a noun.
  • Here is a list of all (or most) nouns in English that start with B. They include words like a bogey, backpack, banjo, blackmail, I,l, and bangle.
  • If you need to remember some words that start with B, you can simply make use of flashcards. Flashcards are very good tools for remembering those first twenty or so vocabulary items after starting a new language.
  • Noun: For example, I ate four bagels at breakfast. Will create extra work for my digestive system later today. Good food comes at a price! Flashcards (your friends) are great sources of studying material! Storing lists in your head is usually a bad idea – write them down instead!
  • It’s much easier to memorize something when it’s written down than when it’s only in your mind. It’s also easier to read something than just listen/hear it, which makes flashcards an even better study tool.
  • When using flashcards, don't just try to read each word once - repeat each word multiple times until you know its meaning by heart before moving on to another card. Try going through 10-20 cards every day (at least 5 days per week).
  • The more often you review a set of flashcards, the better they will stick with you over time. This process will take time and effort but if done correctly it will be worth it! After doing these exercises daily for several weeks, you should have no problem understanding simple sentences in Spanish!
  • Your brain should be able to process these sentences without needing any translation help from a dictionary.


Many people confuse nouns and adjectives. They are often used interchangeably in everyday language but they are different parts of speech. An adjective describes a noun or a pronoun, while a noun names a person, place, thing, or idea. Here is an example: Your eyes are blue – The word blue here is an adjective because it describes your eyes. Here is another example: The big dog barked at me – The word big here is an adjective describing the dog. Your car runs great – The word great here is an adjective describing your car's performance; it does not describe you or how you feel about driving your car!


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"Difference Between Noun and Adjective." Diffzy.com, 2023. Thu. 23 Mar. 2023. <https://www.diffzy.com/article/difference-between-noun-and-adjective-467>.

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