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I can't find an answer to this question that my students and I are debating about. Is crevice an abstract or concrete noun?

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IF it's a crevice in concrete, it must be abstract, since if it were concrete there would be no crevice, right? :) –  JeffSahol Jan 25 '12 at 18:06
Silence is music. –  MετάEd Jan 25 '12 at 23:26
If it is something that you can perceive with your senses, it is concrete. –  kiamlaluno Jan 26 '12 at 11:03
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closed as general reference by Daniel, JSBձոգչ, FumbleFingers, kiamlaluno, Mitch Jan 26 '12 at 14:33

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2 Answers

You're perhaps puzzled because a crevice is an empty space, but it's still a feature of the real world and so it's a concrete noun.

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Thanks for your help; it makes sense to see it as a feature of the real world. –  Maria Jan 25 '12 at 19:06
@Barrie England: Can you give an authority to support that assertion? Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary & Thesaurus has: 'a noun that refers to a thing that does not exist as a material object' which certainly classes 'crevice' as abstract. –  Edwin Ashworth Aug 29 '13 at 22:44
Afraid not. I know of no dictionary or similar work that classifies nouns in this way. Would you say ‘hole’ was an abstract noun? I wouldn’t, and I say that ‘crevice’ isn’t for the same reason. Here’s what Katie Wales says in ‘A Dictionary of Stylisitcs’: ‘Abstract nouns are a subclass of nouns which refer to qualities or states, i.e. they have non-material reference’. Crucially, to my mind, she says ‘they lack the number and article contrast of concrete nouns’. We cannot, to take her examples, say *eagernesses’ or *’a bravery’, but we can say ‘a crevice’ and ‘crevices’. –  Barrie England Aug 30 '13 at 6:02
I think this is beginning to sound like one of many treatments that don't really address underlying concepts, but seek to bodge a semanto-syntactic approach. 'Day' and 'night' are considered abstract nouns (at least here: classiclit.about.com/library/bl-etexts/wmbaskervill/… ) but are indisputably count. 'Shadow', 'winter' and 'lightning' are also classed here as abstract - I'd say the first two may be count or uncount, and all three are more or less perceivable by senses, but intangible. I've found a better working model: –  Edwin Ashworth Aug 30 '13 at 15:12
In the thread at english.stackexchange.com/questions/124470/… , I mention the 'Four orders of entities' Lyons, and Hengeveld, suggest to replace the 'concrete / abstract' classification. I think I'd want, just after 'concrete', a class 'perceived indirectly by the senses - framed by concrete surroundings etc' for holes / pauses / shadows... . I'm still working on 'flame', 'rainbow'.... –  Edwin Ashworth Aug 30 '13 at 15:17
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"Abstract nouns: You cannot see them, hear them, smell them, taste them, or feel them."

My rock-climbing friends find crevices to be wonderfully concrete...

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Half the world is preoccupied with feeling bodily crevices (the other half are women, whose crevices are being explored). –  FumbleFingers Jan 25 '12 at 19:02
@FumbleFingers I was referring to vertical climbing, not horizontal... –  Gnawme Jan 25 '12 at 19:06
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