Noun can be divided into two groups: concrete and abstract. Concrete nouns refer to people, places, and things that can be experienced using our five senses. Abstract nouns refer to thoughts, ideas, and imaginings that cannot:
CONCRETE ABSTRACT
man manliness
table tabulation
author authorship
Too many obscure abstractions can make a piece of writing difficult to read. See, for example, the sentence in bold type in the following extract:
Such people may be keen to work, but unable to find jobs because none are available in their occupation or in their geographical area, so that retraining or rehousing would be necessary to increase the chances of employment. It could also be that there is a general deficiency of demand for labour throughout the economy, in which case the involuntarily unemployed workers will face fierce competition for the jobs that do become available.
A general deficiency of demand for labour throughout the economy is just a pompous and long-winded way of saying that there aren’t enough jobs to go round. On the other hand there are also many everyday abstract nouns that are simple and direct:
happiness failure truth beauty
It would be perverse to try to avoid abstract nouns such as these, so the use of abstract nouns in writing is a question of judgement.
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