At some point, everyone has the same question: What is a common noun? Here, we’ll take a look at common nouns and provide some common noun examples so you can easily recognize common nouns when you see them. Don’t worry, this will be painless.
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What is a Common Noun
Anounis a word that names a person, animal, place, thing, or idea. All nouns can be further classified asa properor common noun. Common nouns are words used to name general items rather than specific ones. Go into your living room. What do you see? A lamp, chair, couch, TV, window, painting, pillow, candle – all of these items are named using common nouns.
Common nouns are everywhere, and you use them all the time, even if you don’t realize it. Wherever you go, you’ll find at least one common noun. Street, closet, bathroom, school, mall, gas station, living room; all of these placesare things, and thus they are common nouns.
What is the difference between common and proper nouns?
When we look at the two main types of noun – proper and common – we can differentiate between the two by saying that a common noun is a general way of classifying something, and a proper noun is a specific way of classifying something, So, for example, the word dog is a common noun; but if your dog was called Fido, the word Fido is a proper noun:
- Dog = common noun
- Dog’s name (Fido, in this case) = proper noun
More examples of the difference between common and proper nouns:
- My favorite newspaper (common noun) is the Washington Post (proper noun).
- Her husband (common noun) is called Frank (proper noun).
- The award-winning Babe Ruth (proper noun) is the greatest baseball player (common noun) in history.
You may have noticed from the examples that common nouns are not usually capitalized, unless they begin a sentence, whereas proper nouns are normally capitalized. You will also notice that both types of nouns can be more than a single word.
When to use common nouns?
We use common nouns to denote a class of objects or a concept. Consider the word star, as in the stars we see in the sky. Star is used as a common noun, used to denote the class of objects that we view in the night sky, i.e. the luminescent bodies that are spread across the universe, twinkling overhead. The Sun, however, is a proper noun, used to describe the specific star that is at the center of our solar system.
So, anything that is a thing can be generally classified as a common noun:
Professions: lawyer, doctor, teacher, nurse, politician, football player.
People: People in general are named using common nouns, though their official titles in certain cases or given names are proper nouns. When we refer to people using common nouns, we use words like teacher, clerk, police officer, preacher, delivery driver, boyfriend, girlfriend, grandma, cousin, andbarista.
For example, when talking about your mother, mother is a common noun.
- My mother is an actress.
- Barbara’s mother was the best cook in the city.
But when speaking to your mother, or using mother as her name, mother is used as a proper noun.
- “Mother, can you bake your brownies for the party?”
- I asked Mother Thompson to join us at dinner.
Objects: car, newspaper, boat, potato chip, shoe, house, table, sword.
However, common nouns can also be more abstract concepts, not things but ideas, emotions and experiences, for example:
Abstract ideas: Culture, love, democracy, time, hatred, peace, war, empathy, anger, laughter.
How to recognize a common noun?
Considering what we have laid out above, it should be pretty easy to recognize a common noun. However, there are some cases when it can be tricky. Consider these sentences:
- Queen Elizabeth II welcomed President Donald Trump to Buckingham Palace.
- Donald Trump visited many queens and palaces during his tenure as the president of the United States.
In the first sentence, Queen Elizabeth II, President Trump and Buckingham Palace are proper nouns. They are specific titles for a specific person. In the second sentence, queens, palaces and president are common nouns. Queens and palaces refer to queens and palaces in general, and president refers to the job title and not the specific person.
We mentioned earlier that job titles and general titles fall under the category of common nouns – attorney, actor, comedian, truck driver, sergeant, officer, secretary. However, if these become specific titles referring to a specific person, they sometimes become proper nouns as in the examples above. Normally, this means the words are capitalized when placed directly in front of that person’s name:
- Attorney General William Barr was appointed by President
But look how we can use the same words with common nouns:
- Each US president must appoint an attorney general while in office.
So, you can recognize the common noun by the fact it is not capitalized. But remember that common nouns can also be identified because they are referring to non-specific things or classifications.
The takeaway is this: common nouns are general names and unless they are part of a title like Postmaster General or begin a sentence, they’re not usually capitalized.
Common Noun Examples
The following common noun examples will help you to recognize common nouns. In the sentences that follow, common noun examples are italicized. Notice that the examples providing proper nouns name specific versions of the same type of person, animal, place, thing, or idea.
- Common Noun: You broke myfavoritemug. Proper Noun: I can’t believe you broke mySnoopymug.
- Common Noun: I really want a new pair ofjeans. Proper Noun: I really want to buy a new pair ofLevis.
- Common Noun: I wish I could remember the name of thatpainter. Proper Noun: I really love art byVan Gogh.
- Common Noun: They’re all waiting for us at therestaurant. Proper Noun: Everyone else is atBill’s Burgers.
- Common Noun: I really want to live in thecity Proper Noun: Of all the places I’ve lived,Denverwas best.
- Common Noun: Let’s go to watch a live game at thestadium. Proper Noun: Let’s try to get good seats atWrigley Field
A common noun is the general, non-specific term for a person, place, thing, or idea. Usually, common nouns are not capitalized unless they begin a sentence. In this example, stage, sleep, repeat, times, and night are all general common nouns.What is a common noun and examples? ›
: a noun that names a class of persons or things or any individual of a class and that may occur with a limiting modifier (as a, the, some, or every) The words "child," "city," and "day" are common nouns.What is common noun answers? ›
A common noun is the generic name for a person, place, or thing in a class or group. Unlike proper nouns, a common noun is not capitalized unless it either begins a sentence or appears in a title.What's the definition of a common noun? ›
A noun is a word that names a person, animal, place, thing, or idea. All nouns can be further classified as a proper or common noun. Common nouns are words used to name general items rather than specific ones.What is a common noun write 10 examples? ›
Each is a common noun because they name a thing, place, or person: People: mother, father, baby, child, toddler, teenager, grandmother, student, teacher, minister, businessperson, salesclerk, woman, man. Animals: lion, tiger, bear, dog, cat, alligator, cricket, bird, wolf.What is common nouns and proper nouns? ›
Proper nouns refer to a specific person, place, or thing and are always capitalized. Common nouns refer to a general concept or thing and are only capitalized at the beginning of a sentence.What are 100 common nouns? ›
- Alex is a wonderful player.
- Sydney Sixers is the team he plays for.
- He was not born in this country.
- Sydney is the city he lives in.
- He is a man of dream.
- He plays cricket with intensity.
- Michael Clarke is his mentor.
- He has a house across the river.
What is a common noun? Ans. Common nouns are names of any person, place, animal or thing. Example :- mother, tiger, city, table, etc.What are 20 common nouns? ›
RETEACHING: A common noun. names any person, place, or thing. A proper noun names a specific person, place, or thing and begins with a capital letter. COMMON AND.What are common nouns for grade 1? ›
A common noun names a type of person, animal, place, or thing. A common noun starts with a lowercase letter, unless it is the first word in a sentence. A proper noun is a special name for one person, animal, place, or thing. A proper noun always starts with a capital letter.What is a common noun Grade 2? ›
Definition: Common nouns name any person, place, thing, or idea. They are not capitalized unless they come at the beginning of a sentence. Proper nouns are the names of specific people, places, things, or ideas. Proper nouns should always be capitalized.Are children common nouns? ›
The noun 'children' is a common noun, not a proper noun. As a result, it would not be capitalized in a sentence.What are the most common nouns? ›
The list of top 25 nouns: time, person, year, way, day, thing, man, world, life, hand, part, child, eye, woman, place, work, week, case, point, government, company, number, group, problem, fact.What is proper noun Give 5 example? ›
|Common Noun||Proper Noun|
|I ordered a new computer online.||I ordered the laptop from Amazon.|
|We're going to play baseball in the park.||We're going to play baseball in Prospect Park.|
|We're going shopping in the city.||Atlanta is one of my favorite places to visit.|
Every noun can be classified as either common or proper. A common noun is the generic name for one item in a class or group. A proper noun, on the other hand, names a noun precisely.How do you teach common nouns and proper nouns? ›
Common and Proper Nouns for Kids - YouTubeWhat is noun give 15 examples? ›
Here are some examples: person: man, woman, teacher, John, Mary. place: home, office, town, countryside, America. thing: table, car, banana, money, music, love, dog, monkey.Is school a common noun? ›
The word 'school' can be either a common or proper noun, depending upon its usage.
|Proper Nouns||Common Nouns|
Common nouns are the general or generic name of person, place, animal and things. Example: tree, man, mountain, box etc. Common noun is only capitalized if it is part of a title or it is used in the beginning of sentence. Proper nouns are the specific or particular name of person, place, animal and things.How do you teach common and proper nouns to second graders? ›
Flipbooks. One way to help students understand common and proper nouns is to brainstorm and sort examples of each. Let the class work together to brainstorm a list of nouns. Then students can sort them into common nouns and proper nouns.