Nouns are words that we use all the time without even thinking about it and they are part of our everyday life that we take for granted. All nouns fall into one of two groups – they are either proper nouns or they are common nouns – and it is essential, especially when reading and writing, to use them correctly.
What Is A Proper Noun?
Proper nouns are names that are specific to something – like a place name or a person’s name – and not just a generic name. Proper nouns always have a capital letter no matter where they are in a sentence, which helps to distinguish them from common nouns.
How to Use Proper Nouns
Proper nouns should be used they are giving a specific name for an item, place, or person and they should always be capitalized no matter where in the sentence they are.
- His name is John.
- She was reading To Kill A Mockingbird.
- They both went to West Park High School.
- The royal family lives in Buckingham Palace.
- I’m going to Australia for the summer.
- Can you come downstairs, Mum?
- Dad has asked you to come downstairs now. (In this sentence “Dad” is the proper noun as it is used in the context of being a person’s name, even though it would be capitalized anyway as it is at the start of the sentence.)
- Tom has a shop called Tom’s Tacos. (In this sentence both “Tom” and “Tom’s Tacos” are proper nouns as they are both giving a specific name.)
- Suzie and John live with their parents in a house on Pine Street.
Common Nouns vs. Proper Nouns
Common nouns are the opposite of proper nouns as they are a general name for something, not a specific one. Common nouns never have capital letters unless they are at the start of a sentence or are in the title. A common noun can be a general name for a group, place, person, item, etc.
All nouns are naming something, but proper nouns are when something is given a specific name, while common nouns are when something is given a generic name.
- She went to school. (“School” is a common noun as it is a generic name for somewhere.)
- She went to West Park High School. (Here, it is a proper noun as it is the name that is specific to the school.)
- Please ask your mum to come downstairs. (The common noun in this sentence is “mum” as it is a generic term.)
- Can you come downstairs, Mum? (In this sentence, “Mum” is a proper noun as it is the specific name for the person being spoken to.)
- Suzie asked her aunt if she could stay with her for the weekend. (In this sentence, “Suzie” is the proper noun as it is her specific name, while aunt is the common noun as it is a generic name.)
- Can I stay with you for the weekend please, Aunt Bess? (Here, “aunt” is the proper noun along with “Bess” as it is a specific name for her.)
Proper Nouns | Infographic