What are Exact Nouns? - Definition & Examples

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

Coming up next: Irregular Plural Nouns Activities

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:04 Exact Nouns
  • 0:36 Range in Specificity
  • 1:01 Example 1
  • 1:51 Example 2
  • 2:49 Importance in Writing
  • 3:18 Lesson Summary
Save Save Save

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Log in or Sign up

Speed Speed Audio mode

Recommended Lessons and Courses for You

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Summer Stewart

Summer has taught creative writing and sciences at the college level. She holds an MFA in Creative writing and a B.A.S. in English and Nutrition

Writing becomes more powerful when precise and informative language is used. Exact nouns turn a generic sentence into a clear and unique sentence that conveys specific meaning. In this lesson, we'll learn about exact nouns through a variety of examples.

Exact Nouns

An exact noun is a noun that is specific rather than generic. For example, the words 'dog,' 'cat,' and 'bird' are common nouns that can refer to any of those creatures. On the other hand, the words 'beagle,' 'tabby,' and 'raven' are exact nouns because they refer to a specific type of those particular common nouns. Exact nouns are preferred in writing because they're more precise. In this lesson, we'll learn about exact nouns by exploring a couple of examples and talk about why they're important.

Range in Specificity

Exact nouns range in specificity, as you can see in the following examples. An exact noun can be a more specific version of a common noun, or it can be a proper noun. However, it's important to know that while all proper nouns can be replaced by common nouns, not all common nouns have a proper noun available. In that case, there's usually a more specific noun available for use.

Example 1

Let's take a look at a passage with common nouns:

The girls went to the place to buy some stuff. After they got the stuff, they walked down the street and ate some food at a restaurant. Once they were done eating, they went to play a game.

Now let's see how this same passage reads with exact nouns:

The girls went to the toy store to buy some sidewalk chalk. After they bought the chalk, they walked down First Avenue and ate some nachos at Taco Bell. Once they were done eating, they went to play hopscotch.

Do you see how much better the passage with the exact nouns is in comparison to the preceding passage? The second passage paints a picture for the reader, showing us where the girls went, what they bought, what they ate, and what game they played. By using exact nouns, a sense of purpose surfaces from the passage.

Example 2

Let's look at another example with common nouns:

Two boys drove to the city to meet with friends. They met them in front of a store. Afterwards, they walked to the park and looked at the sights. In the evening, they went to dinner at a restaurant and ate some food. Once they left the restaurant, they spent the night at a hotel.

Now let's see how this same passage reads with exact nouns:

To unlock this lesson you must be a Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use

Become a member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account