Abstract Nouns

Abstract nouns can be used in different ways. Here are some helpful tips.


Abstract nouns may be formed from adjectives by adding the suffix -ness: happy/ happiness, sad/sadness, kind/kindness, cheerful/cheerfulness.

However, a large group of adjectives have distinct nouns that do not require a formation with -ness or any other suffix. A common stylistic fault is to add the -ness ending to adjectives that already have corresponding noun forms. For example, the adjective humble has the corresponding noun humility, but many English speakers don’t seem to be aware of it and write “humbleness” instead. Click here to learn more.