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Proper and Common Nouns

Grade 4
Nov 18, 2022

They name any person, place, thing, or an idea. Common nouns are capitalized only when they come at the beginning of a sentence. Otherwise they are not capitalized. 

Common Nouns 

  • Common Nouns can be divided into concrete and abstract nouns. 

A quick recap  

  • Concrete nouns: They refer to things, people, places which we can identify with our five senses. 
  • Abstract nouns: We can’t feel them with our senses directly. 

Examples of common nouns 

People: include men, women, children, police officers, criminals, butchers, bakers, neighbours, friends, and foes as well as judges, jury members, executioners, knights, bishops, kings, and queens.  

Locations include: a city, a town, a rural area, neighbourhoods, islands, beaches, a province, a state, the outdoors, and rooms, alleys, and basements.  


Things: a guitar, drums, an orange, an apple, a truck, a knee, an elbow, food, water, the sky, stars, a week, a month, and a year.  

Ideas, feelings, and concepts include joy, sorrow, fear, courage, questions, and solutions. Other notions include government, chaos, hunger, uncertainty, and friendship. 

Concrete Nouns 

Professions or Jobs 

  • The names of jobs are classified as common nouns. 
  • doctor, teacher, chemist, singer, chef, nurse, lawyer etc. 


People are usually referred to as common nouns, unless they are called by their specific name. When people are called by their title, commons nouns are usually used.  

  • My mother is going to work.  
  • My dad is going to the games with my uncle
  • The boy fell as his uncle surprised him. 


Common nouns are used to refer to objects. For example, trousers, car, plate, fence, chair etc. 

  • The boy ate sandwich for lunch. 
  • Donna took Eric’s notebook.  
  • The car ran out of gas within half an hour.  

Animals/ plants 

Unless called by special names, animals, plants, fruits, etc., also fall under common nouns. 

  • Examples 
  • Dog, cheetah, monkey 
  • Rose, banyan tree, orchid 

Abstract nouns – Concepts and Ideas 

To describe more abstract things such as concepts, ideas, and emotions  

  • We should give importance to world peace
  • The mother felt her love for her son. 

When to capitalize Common nouns? 

When common nouns are used in the beginning of a sentence. 

  • Cat is the enemy of the mouse.  
  • Apples are awesome! 

When they are used together with a proper noun, to denote a title. 

  • I wanted to meet Mother Mary. 
  • She was taught by Sister Julia. 
  • I went to see Doctor Drew. (To denote a title) 

Proper Nouns  

They are nouns which identify a specific thing. These could be official names for people, objects or places.  

  • A person’s first or last name.  
  • Diana, Mrs. Smith  
  • Place names  
  • California, Texas, Italy 
  • Brand names  
  • Disney, MacDonalds, Apple, etc. 

Examples of proper nouns

People: Captain Crunch, Emily Dickinson, King Richard the Lionheart, Harriet Tubman, Superman, Miles Davis, and Helen of Troy  

Locations: Main Street, Rocky Mountains, Colorado River, Portugal, Zimbabwe, Peru, Moscow, Cairo, New York City, Europe, Asia, and Australia. Sahara Jupiter, Google, Twitter, Kawasaki Ninjas, PlayStation 5, Star Wars, Band-Aids, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Apollo 13, and the Great Wall of China are examples of desert-related items.  

Ideas and Concepts: Romanticism, Cubism, Industrial Revolution, Dark Ages, Buddhism, Islam, on November 1st. 

Differentiating common vs. proper nouns

Look at the capitalization to identify whether a word is a proper or common noun. In the middle of a statement, is the noun capitalized? Then you probably have a proper noun. If the noun is the first word in the sentence, things get more complicated. If so, consider if the noun is referring to a particular person or thing. If it is, you once again have a proper noun. You are looking at a common noun if it isn’t. All names and titles should be capitalized because they are proper nouns and should be treated as such. 


  1. What are proper nouns? 

Ans) A proper noun identifies a particular individual, place, or thing. 

  1. What are common nouns? 

Ans) A generic type of person, place, or item is named by a common noun. 

  1. Common nouns: Capitalization rules? 

Ans) whenever a sentence’s first word is a common noun or whenever they’re used with a proper noun to signify a title. 

Proper and Common Nouns


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