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We often say that the name of a person, place or thing is called noun. So, in which category, we include "shadow" as a noun. Though it is neither a place nor a thing or person.

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    "Person, place or thing" is a rather limited list that is offered to people when they first start learning a language. Nouns can also be used about abstract concepts, like emotions, and even things that, by definition, don't exist, like 'absence'. Shadow is something that is defined by the absence of light, so it's a not-thing.
    – JavaLatte
    Apr 13, 2016 at 7:52
  • So, what will be the proper definition to cover all these things? Apr 13, 2016 at 8:00
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    Noun: any member of a class of words that typically can ... refer to an entity, quality, state, action, or concept.
    – Glorfindel
    Apr 13, 2016 at 8:12
  • If a "thing" has to be only an object or an item that we can touch or see, how can we tell people to "do the right thing"? Apr 13, 2016 at 9:20
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    Agreed, @Araucaria. But I was a newbie back then and hadn't really got a clear idea about what constituted a useful answer and what was appropriate for a comment.
    – JavaLatte
    Sep 2, 2016 at 20:23

2 Answers 2

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Shadow is an abstract noun. Various definitions of 'shadow' as a noun are given here.

Feelings and intangible things are included in the category of abstract noun. 'Light' is also an abstract noun as we can't touch it.

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  • I'd classify light as a concrete noun, not an abstract noun because we can interact physically with light. (See this more concise definition of an abstract noun).
    – Lawrence
    Sep 3, 2016 at 9:49
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"Person, place or thing" is a rather limited list that is offered to people when they first start learning a language. Some people refer to this list as concrete nouns one definition "something material": another is things that you can experience through your five senses: sight, smell, hearing, taste, and touch. A more up-to-date definition would probably include things that you can measure using the appropriate equipment, for example electricity, magnetism and weight.

There are also nouns for abstract concepts like justice, love and truth: we call these abstract nouns.

We also have nouns for things that, by definition, are nothing, like 'absence' and 'vacuum'.

Shadow is something that is defined by the absence of light, so it's a not-thing. You can see light and you can see a shadow, so it's a concrete noun.

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