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Nouns vs. Verbs: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Published on February 23, 2024
Nouns are words that name people, places, things, or ideas, while verbs are words that describe actions, states, or occurrences.

Key Differences

Nouns serve as the names of people, places, things, or ideas. They act as subjects or objects in sentences. Verbs, in contrast, describe actions, states, or occurrences and form the heart of the predicate in a sentence.
Nouns come in various types, including proper nouns, common nouns, concrete nouns, and abstract nouns. Verbs also have types, such as action verbs, linking verbs, and auxiliary verbs, each serving a different function in the sentence.
Nouns can be singular or plural and can possess other nouns, shown through possessive forms. Verbs change form to indicate tense, mood, and voice, and must agree in number and person with the subject of the sentence.
Nouns are key in identifying the subjects and objects of actions and states, giving sentences a clear focus. Verbs convey the action or state of being, providing dynamic quality and movement to the sentence.
Nouns are often modified by adjectives, which describe them, and can be complemented by phrases providing additional information. Verbs are modified by adverbs and can be complemented by objects or predicate adjectives/nouns, completing their meaning.

Comparison Chart


Name people, places, things, ideas
Describe actions, states, occurrences


Proper, common, concrete, abstract
Action, linking, auxiliary

Grammatical Rules

Singular/plural, possessive forms
Tense, mood, voice, subject-verb agreement

Role in Sentence

Subject or object
Form the predicate


Modified by adjectives
Modified by adverbs

Nouns and Verbs Definitions


Nouns can exist in singular or plural forms.
The books are on the table.


Verbs can indicate states of being.
He is a teacher.


Nouns are words that identify people, places, or things.
The dog barked loudly.


Verbs are words that express actions.
She runs every morning.


Nouns can possess other nouns.
Sarah's cat is adorable.


Verbs can be linking, connecting subject to complement.
She seems happy.


Nouns can represent abstract concepts or ideas.
Love knows no boundaries.


Verbs change form to express tense.
They danced all night.


Nouns can be proper, naming specific entities.
London is a bustling city.


Verbs require agreement with their subjects.
The cat drinks milk.


The part of speech that is used to name a person, place, thing, quality, or action and can function as the subject or object of a verb, the object of a preposition, or an appositive.


The part of speech that expresses existence, action, or occurrence in most languages.


Any of the words belonging to this part of speech, such as neighbor, window, happiness, or negotiation.


Any of the words belonging to this part of speech, as be, run, or conceive.


Plural of noun


A phrase or other construction used as a verb.


Infl of noun


Plural of verb


Infl of verb


Can a word be both a noun and a verb?

Yes, some words can function as both nouns and verbs, depending on usage.

What is a verb?

A verb is a word that describes an action, state, or occurrence.

What are examples of verbs?

Examples include 'run', 'is', 'laugh', 'think'.

How do possessive nouns work?

Possessive nouns show ownership, typically by adding an apostrophe and 's'.

What are examples of nouns?

Examples include 'dog', 'city', 'happiness', 'car'.

What is a collective noun?

A collective noun names a group of people or things, like 'team'.

What is a noun?

A noun is a word that names a person, place, thing, or idea.

How do nouns change form?

Nouns change form to show plurality, possession, and sometimes gender.

How do verbs change form?

Verbs change form to indicate tense, mood, and agreement with the subject.

Are proper nouns capitalized?

Yes, proper nouns are always capitalized.

Are action verbs always physical actions?

No, action verbs can also describe mental actions, like 'think'.

How is a verb used in a sentence?

A verb is typically used as the predicate, showing the action or state of the subject.

What is a noun phrase?

A noun phrase consists of a noun and its modifiers, providing more information.

Do verbs show time?

Yes, verbs change form to show past, present, and future time.

How is a noun used in a sentence?

Nouns can be subjects, objects, or complements in a sentence.

What is an abstract noun?

An abstract noun represents an idea, quality, or state, like 'freedom'.

What are modal verbs?

Modal verbs, like 'can' or 'must', express necessity, ability, or possibility.

Do all sentences need a verb?

Yes, a verb is essential in a sentence to express the action or state.

What is a linking verb?

A linking verb connects the subject to a subject complement.

Can verbs be irregular?

Yes, irregular verbs do not follow standard rules of tense changes.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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