Proper and Common Nouns for intermediate learners

Did you know there are two kinds of noun: common nouns and proper nouns. Common nouns refer to general nouns and proper nouns refer to specific nouns.

What is the diffrence between "Proper and Common Nouns"?

What Are Proper and Common Nouns ?

In English nouns can be divided into two categories, one of which refers to general people, places, or things, while the other refers to specific people, places, or things. Take a look at the list below:

  • Common Nouns
  • Proper Nouns

Common Nouns

Common nouns are used to refer to general items or things, such as a cat, dog, chair, desk, computer, pencil, and so on. Pay attention to the following examples:

I saw a black cat in the street yesterday.

As you can see, the highlighted words refer to general things.

Julia wants to sleep on the sofa right now.

Common nouns are only capitalized when they appear at the beginning of the sentence. Look at the following examples:

My mother is feeling better.

Doctors have terrible hand writings.

Proper Nouns

Proper nouns are used to refer to specific people, animals, places, or things, such as names of people, streets, locations, pets, countries, days of the week, and months of the year. Proper nouns are always capitalized, regardless of their position in a sentence. For example:

Angelina Julie is a caring actress.

As you can see, the sentence is referring to a specific celebrity.

Where will you be on Monday?

Warning!

It's important to note that when addressing people by their job titles, proper nouns should be used and capitalized. Consider the following examples:

Good evening, Doctor!

As you can see, the sentence is addressing the person by their job title.

The doctor said that I must rest.

Here, we are talking about a doctor and he/she is not specifically addressed.

Proper Nouns and 'The'

Generally, the definite article 'the' is not used with proper nouns, unless the article is part of the noun itself, or when referring to a specific organization or company. Pay attention to the following examples:

The United States of America is supporting Ukraine in the war.

As you can see, 'the' is always added to 'United States of America'.

The Louvre Museum is open till 6 p.m.

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