Proper Noun and Common Noun – Rules and Examples

Proper Noun and Common Noun

Proper Noun – a noun that denotes a particular thing; usually capitalized.

Just as nouns are naming words, proper nouns name specific people, places, things or ideas. The key here is the word specific. Proper nouns are also titles.

Because Father said so. “Father” is a proper noun because you are referring to dad by his title. However, in this sentence, “father” is a regular noun because it refers to the act of dadness instead of a specific dad by title: He is a father of three.

I live in Sacramento. “Sacramento” is a specific city. If the sentence was: I live in the city. “City” wouldn’t be capitalized because it is too vague. It is a common noun. Common noun is the general name of a place, person or thing.

I live in the West. “West” is the specific area. Drive west doesn’t count. This one is a bit confusing but when you think about it even large geographic indicators are specific on a global scale.

Proper nouns name specific people (Bob Jones), continents (North America), countries (United States of America), parishes (I can’t find an example of this… the closest thing I can think of would be the Lutherans but that’s a denomination, not a parish), geographic regions (Hunter’s Canyon, East), Days of the week (Monday), Months (June), Holidays (President’s Day), and festivals (Dia De Los Muertos).

Seasons (winter) are not proper nouns – go figure!

To detect a proper noun looks for capitalization in the middle of the sentence. Then look for words that name a specific noun or are a title for someone or something. If a noun isn’t proper it is common and should be lowercase and nonspecific in what it names