Common and Proper Nouns Guide
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Common and Proper Nouns Guide

Students as well as other people often misuse and don't understand common and proper nouns. This article aims to help people to better understand and learn about common and proper noun's use.

 Common and Proper Nouns

When you talk or write about persons, places, or things in general, you use a common noun.

Scientist work hard. They come from many countries

When you talk or write about a particular person, place, or thing, you use  proper noun.

Marie Curie was a scientist. She came from Poland.

Study the chart below. Notice that every proper noun begins with capital letter. When a proper noun is made up of more than one word, only the important words in the noun begin with a capital letter. Do not caoutalie words such as the, of, or for.

Common and Proper Nouns

Common Nouns Proper Nouns Common Nouns Proper Nouns
street North Drive river Hudson River
city Vancouver building White House
state Maryland law Bill of Rights
continent Asia author Emily Dickinson
ocean Arctic Ocean hoiday Fourth of July
mountain Mt. McKinley month November
lake Great Salt Lake day Monday

Guided Practice

Which words are proper nouns and should be capitalized?

Which words are common nouns?

Example: europe (cap.):Europe

  1. august
  2. creek
  3. book
  4. face
  5. italy
  6. student
  7. san diego
  8. game
  9. north carolina
  10. john adams


  • A common noun names any person,place or thing. 
  • A proper noun names a particular person,place, or thing.
  • Begin each important word in a proper noun with a capital letter.

More for Practice!

A. Write each pair of nouns. Capitalize the proper nouns.

Example: stanley-brother Ans: Stanley-brother

  1. united states-country
  2. president-thomas jefferson
  3. statue of liberty-monument
  4. author-louisa may lcott
  5. avenue of the america-avenue
  6. building-empire state building

B. List the common nouns and proper nouns in each of the following sentences.

Example: Naomi reads about some important women. Common: women proper: Naomi

  1. Maria Tallchief is a famous ballerina.
  2. This dancer has performed in New York and Paris.
  3. Tallchief has received the Indian Achievement Award.
  4. Marian Anderson is best known for singing opera.
  5. Anderson was the first black singer to perform with the Metropolitan Opera.
  6. This singer received honors from several countries.
  7. Amelia Earhart flew across the Atlantic Ocean.
  8. This pilot was the first woman to cross the ocean alone.
  9. Her last flight was over the Pacific Ocean.
  10. Marie Currie is the first women to get 2 Nobel Prize Award.
  11. This heroine helped French soldiers defeat England.
  12. Betsy Ross lived in Philadelphia.
  13. George Washington met this excellent seamstress.
  14. The general asked Ross to make the first flag.
  15. Mary Hays became famous in the Revolutionary War.

Additional resources:

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Comments (1)

Good practice for learning how to identify proper nouns in English.