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Proper Noun vs. Common Noun: Know the Difference

Shumaila Saeed
By Shumaila Saeed || Published on February 22, 2024
Proper nouns name specific, unique entities (e.g., 'Elizabeth', 'New York'), while common nouns refer to general items or classes of things (e.g., 'woman', 'city').
Proper Noun vs. Common Noun

Key Differences

Proper nouns are specific names given to individual entities, making them unique and often capitalized, like 'Amazon River' or 'Shakespeare'. Common nouns, on the other hand, are general names for a class or group of entities, such as 'river' or 'writer', and are usually not capitalized unless they start a sentence.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Feb 22, 2024
A proper noun identifies a one-of-a-kind item, like 'Mount Everest', which refers to a specific mountain. In contrast, a common noun like 'mountain' can refer to any mountain in general, not a specific one.
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Feb 22, 2024
In grammar, proper nouns are always capitalized because they denote specific, identifiable entities, like 'London' or 'Julia'. Common nouns are not typically capitalized (unless starting a sentence) as they represent general items, like 'city' or 'girl'.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Feb 22, 2024
Proper nouns cannot usually be pluralized, as in 'There are many New Yorks', which is incorrect. Common nouns can be plural, like 'dogs', 'cities', or 'cars', to refer to more than one of a general category.
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Shumaila Saeed
Feb 22, 2024
Proper nouns do not take a definite or indefinite article in most cases ('the' or 'a'), as in 'I visited Eiffel Tower'. Common nouns usually require an article or quantifier, like 'a dog', 'the city', or 'some water'.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Feb 22, 2024
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Comparison Chart

Specificity

Names specific, unique entities.
Refers to general classes of items.
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Feb 22, 2024

Capitalization

Always capitalized.
Not capitalized unless at sentence start.
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Feb 22, 2024

Example Usage

'Paris', 'Atlantic Ocean'.
'city', 'ocean'.
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Feb 22, 2024

Pluralization

Generally not pluralized.
Can be pluralized.
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Use with Articles

Usually without articles.
Typically with articles.
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Proper Noun and Common Noun Definitions

Proper Noun

Proper Noun refers to unique entities and is always capitalized.
We visited London last summer.
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Jan 24, 2024

Common Noun

Common Noun can be singular or plural and can be generic.
There are many cars on the road.
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Proper Noun

A Proper Noun identifies individual names of people, cities, or landmarks.
The book was written by Hemingway.
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Shumaila Saeed
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Common Noun

A Common Noun is a general name for a person, place, or thing.
The cat sat on the mat.
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Proper Noun

Proper Noun is used for names of days, months, organizations, and titles.
I have an appointment on Monday.
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Common Noun

A Common Noun is typically not capitalized unless it starts a sentence.
Birds fly south for the winter.
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Proper Noun

A Proper Noun signifies a one-of-a-kind name not shared by common items.
The Titanic sank in 1912.
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Common Noun

Common Noun denotes a general class or category, not specific.
She loves reading books.
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Proper Noun

A Proper Noun is a specific name for a particular person, place, or thing.
I met Sarah at the park.
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Shumaila Saeed
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Common Noun

A Common Noun represents general items, not unique names.
We walked through a forest.
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 24, 2024

Repeatedly Asked Queries

Can Common Nouns be capitalized?

Only if they start a sentence or are part of a title.
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Shumaila Saeed
Feb 22, 2024

What is a Proper Noun?

A name given to a specific individual, place, or organization.
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Shumaila Saeed
Feb 22, 2024

Give an example of a Proper Noun.

"Amazon River" is a Proper Noun.
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Shumaila Saeed
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What is a Common Noun?

A general name for a type or class of objects or people.
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Shumaila Saeed
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Can Proper Nouns be pluralized?

Generally, no, because they refer to specific entities.
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Shumaila Saeed
Feb 22, 2024

Do Proper Nouns use articles?

Usually not, as they are specific names.
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Shumaila Saeed
Feb 22, 2024

Is 'school' a Common Noun?

Yes, unless it's part of a specific name like 'Lincoln High School'.
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Shumaila Saeed
Feb 22, 2024

Give an example of a Common Noun.

"river" is a Common Noun.
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Shumaila Saeed
Feb 22, 2024

Are objects like 'chair' Common Nouns?

Yes, because they denote a class of items.
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Shumaila Saeed
Feb 22, 2024

Are Proper Nouns always capitalized?

Yes, Proper Nouns are always capitalized.
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Shumaila Saeed
Feb 22, 2024

Do Common Nouns require articles?

Yes, like "a car" or "the city".
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Shumaila Saeed
Feb 22, 2024

Why are Proper Nouns capitalized?

To indicate their uniqueness and specific identity.
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Shumaila Saeed
Feb 22, 2024

Can Proper Nouns be used without context?

They usually identify specific entities without needing context.
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Shumaila Saeed
Feb 22, 2024

Can Common Nouns be pluralized?

Yes, like "dogs" or "cars".
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Shumaila Saeed
Feb 22, 2024

Is 'Tuesday' a Proper Noun?

Yes, as it's the specific name of a day.
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Shumaila Saeed
Feb 22, 2024

Is 'mountain' a Common Noun?

Yes, it's a general term for any mountain.
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Shumaila Saeed
Feb 22, 2024

Are product names Proper Nouns?

Yes, like "iPhone" or "Coca-Cola".
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Shumaila Saeed
Feb 22, 2024

Do Common Nouns represent specific things?

No, they represent general categories or types.
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Shumaila Saeed
Feb 22, 2024

Are countries Proper Nouns?

Yes, like "France" or "Brazil".
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Shumaila Saeed
Feb 22, 2024

Can a Proper Noun become a Common Noun?

Rarely, usually in cases of genericization.
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Shumaila Saeed
Feb 22, 2024

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Shumaila Saeed
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Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed, an expert content creator with 6 years of experience, specializes in distilling complex topics into easily digestible comparisons, shining a light on the nuances that both inform and educate readers with clarity and accuracy.

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