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Proper Nouns & Common Nouns

Oh, goody! It's time to learn about proper nouns and common nouns.

You probably already know what a noun is, but I'm still going to give you a little refresher! Nouns are words that name people, places, things, or ideas, and there are many different types of nouns. In this lesson, we'll go over two types.


Proper Nouns

Proper nouns name SPECIFIC people, places, things, or ideas. www.GrammarRevolution.com/proper-nouns.html

These name specific people, places, things, or ideas.

Britney, Paris, Rover, Nike

Since these nouns are naming specific things, they always begin with a capital letter.

Sometimes, they contain two or more important words.

Britney Spears, Central Park Zoo, Pacific Ocean

If this is the case, both important words are capitalized, and the whole thing is still considered to be one noun even though it's made up of more than one word. How about that?


Common Nouns

Common nouns name NON-SPECIFIC people, places, things, or ideas. www.GrammarRevolution.com/proper-nouns.html

Common nouns are your run-of-the-mill, generic nouns. They name people, places, things or ideas that are not specific.

woman, city, dog, shoe

Since these nouns aren't naming anything specific, they don't need to start with a capital letter unless they begin a sentence.

Psst! If you need a refresher on nouns, see the nouns page.


Their Relationship

Every proper noun has a common noun equivalent, but not every common noun has a proper equivalent.

For example, dust is only a common noun. There is no specific kind of dust, so it's just common.

Look! It's A Proper Noun & Common Noun Chart! www.GrammarRevolution.com/proper-nouns.html

What Can They Do?

Both of these kinds of nouns can perform many jobs in sentences. Below, you'll find five noun jobs. (All of the nouns in these example sentences are common.) 

These examples also include sentence diagrams. Sentence diagrams are pictures of sentences that basically make the grammar in the sentence visual. That sounds kind of strange, but it's true. Figuring out a sentence's diagrams is like solving a puzzle. Diagrams are a great way to learn grammar!

1. Subject The students happily studied grammar.

Sentence Diagram of Subject Noun www.GrammarRevolution.com/proper-nouns.html

2. Direct Object The students happily studied grammar.

Sentence Diagram of Direct Object Noun www.GrammarRevolution.com/proper-nouns.html

3. Indirect Object They taught their friends grammar.

Sentence Diagram of Indirect Object Noun www.GrammarRevolution.com/proper-nouns.html

4. Object of the Preposition Their friends smiled with glee.

Sentence Diagram of Object of the Preposition Noun www.GrammarRevolution.com/proper-nouns.html

5. Predicate Nominative They were grammar champions!

Sentence Diagram of Predicate Noun www.GrammarRevolution.com/proper-nouns.html

I hope that was helpful. You can always learn more about nouns on our what is a noun page.


8 Handy Grammar Graphics gives you a fun and visual way to get started with grammar and sentence diagramming. Yay!

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