Lesson 16 - Abstract Nouns


In this lesson you'll learn about abstract nouns. Abstract nouns are nouns that name concepts, ideas, and qualities. In English abstract nouns are often created by adding a letter or group of letters, called a suffix, to the end of a word.

In this lesson you'll also learn some English words and phrases related to hotels and other accommodations.

Reading English

Chapter 3 Seattle

Ana and Alejandro have taken the train to Seattle where they will be visiting for the next few days.

"Here is our hotel," Alejandro says.

They walk into the lobby of the hotel and head to the reception desk.

"Hello," says the young man behind the desk.

"Hi," Says Ana. "We'd like to check in."

"Do you have a reservation?"

"Yes. For two nights," Alejandro replies.

"Whose name is the reservation under?"

"Alejandro Pérez."

"The man behind the desk looks at the computer, then says, "Ok. A room with two beds, for two nights. Is that correct?"

"Yes, that's right," Ana replies.

"Here is your key card. Your room number is 315. Checkout is at 11:00 AM. The elevators are over there on your left."

"Thank you very much," Ana says.

"Enjoy your stay."

Ana and Alejandro walk over to the elevators. They go into an open one and take it up to, the third floor. They walk down the hall until they get to their room. Alejandro uses the key card and opens the door.

They walk into the room and put down their luggage. Ana goes over to the window, opens the curtains, and looks out at the city. "Let's go explore," she says.

"Ok," Alejandro says, "Let's find a café and get a coffee and something to eat. I'm hungry!"

They walk out of the hotel and begin to explore the city.

English Vocabulary

reception desk
front desk
room service
check in
check out
Are there rooms available?
For how many nights?
For two nights.
How much does it cost per night?
Do you have a reservation?
I have a reservation.
We have a reservation.
What time is checkout?
Downtown Seattle



Write a conversation or short story about checking into a hotel.



A suffix is a letter or group of letters that is added to the end of a word to create a new word. There are many suffixes in English. This lesson concentrates on suffixes that are used to create abstract nouns.

Abstract Nouns

Abstract nouns are nouns that name concepts, ideas, and qualities. Many abstract nouns are created by adding suffixes to verbs and adjectives. Common suffixes include ing, ness, hood, ship, sion, tion, ity, and ment.

The suffix ing

The suffix ing is added to a verb to indicate the concept of doing the action or the result of an action. The suffix ing is also added to a verb to create the present participle that is used in forming the present and past continuous tenses.


Verb Example
swim Swimming is good exercise.
read Reading helps you learn.
clear We walked into a small clearing.
open There's a small opening into the attic.
follow The band has a large following.

The suffix ness

The suffix ness is added to an adjective to create an abstract noun that means the state of. For example the noun sadness means the state of being sad. If the adjective ends in the letter y, the y is changed to an i before adding the suffix ness.


Adjective Noun Example
happy happiness Happiness is a state of mind.
heavy heaviness The heaviness of the box was unexpected.
soft softness The softness of her voice was very soothing.
cold coldness The coldness of the water was a shock.
thick thickness The thickness of the walls helps keep out the noise.

The suffixes sion, ion, and ation

The suffixes sion and ion are added to verbs to describe a state, condition, action, or process. These words have been borrowed into English from French, so will be very familiar to speakers of French, Spanish, and Portuguese. In some cases, only the noun and not the verb form have been borrowed into English.

Verb Noun Example
celebrate celebration There's going to be a big celebration tomorrow night.
educate education Andy wants to have a good education.
cancel cancellation The cancellation of my flight caused me a lot of problems.
authorize authorization Do you have authorization to be in this room.
memorize memorization When learning a language, there is a lot of memorization involved.
imagine imagination You have quite and imagination.
interrupt interruption I can't work with all these interruptions.
act action What actions have they taken to fix the problem?
collide collision If you don't drive carefully, you'll cause a collision.
explode explosion There was an explosion at the factory.

The suffix hood

The suffix hood is added to another noun to indicate a state or condition.


Noun Definition
motherhood The state of being a mother.
fatherhood The state of being a father.
childhood The state of being a child. The period of time that a person is a child.
adulthood The state of being an adult. The period of time that a person is an adult.
neighborhood An area of a town or city. The houses, stores, parks around where a person lives.

The suffix ity

The suffix ity is added to adjectives to create abstract nouns that mean the condition or quality of the adjective. The plural form of ity is ities.

Adjective Noun Example
real reality Reality can be hard to accept sometimes.
active activity I try different activities to make sure I stay active.
opportune opportunity They find many opportunities to help people.
complex complexity There is a lot of complexity in your ideas.
mature maturity Her actions show a lot of maturity.

The suffix th

The suffix th is added to adjectives to create abstract nouns that mean the condition or quality of the adjective. Note that the vowel sound of some adjectives is changed when th is added.

Adjective Noun Example
warm warmth The warmth of the fire feels nice.
deep depth The depth of the lake is unknown.
long length What is the length of the box.


Here is an online quiz to help you learn the English vocabulary introduced in this lesson.