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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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closed as general reference by Daniel, JSBձոգչ, FumbleFingers, kiamlaluno, Mitch Jan 26 '12 at 14:33

This question is too basic; it can be definitively and permanently answered by a single link to a standard internet reference source designed specifically to find that type of information.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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

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

"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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