Proper Nouns

What Are Proper Nouns? (with Examples)

homeglossaryProper Nouns
A proper noun is the name given to something to make it more specific (e.g., Johnathan, Ollie, London, Monday). Proper nouns are written with capital letters regardless of where they appear in a sentence.

Proper nouns contrast with common nouns, which are the words for something (e.g., boy, dog, city, day). Common nouns are written with a capital letter only when they start a sentence.

Remember, everything we can see or discuss is represented by a word that names it. That word is called a noun.

All nouns can be categorized into one of two groups: common nouns and proper nouns.

This page is about proper nouns, but it is worth learning about common nouns and proper nouns at the same time.

A More Formal Definition of Proper Noun and Common Noun

A proper noun is used for a specific person, place, or thing. A common noun is used for a class of person, place, or thing.

Examples of Proper Nouns and Common Nouns

Here are some examples of proper nouns and common nouns:
Proper NounCommon Noun
Ford Mondeocar
Lake Superiorlake
The Pacific Oceanocean
General McChrystalsoldier
Cost Cuttersupermarket
Gold Blendcoffee

Examples of Proper Nouns in Sentences

Below are some examples of proper nouns (shaded) and common nouns in the same sentence.
  • Those idiots have been annoying Jason.
  • (Jason is a proper noun. It's the name of a specific boy. The word idiots is a common noun.)
  • I need to visit an old castle. Can we visit Warwick Castle?
  • (Warwick Castle is a proper noun. It's the name of a specific castle. The word castle is a common noun.)
  • All water tastes the same. There's a reason why Evian is "naive" backwards.
  • (Evian is a proper noun. It's the name of some specific water. The word water is a common noun.)


Don't Capitalize a Word Because It's "Important"

Remember, a proper noun is written with a capital letter because it is a name or a title. Do not give a word a capital letter just because it is an important word in your sentence.
  • As a valued Client, you have been selected for a special Gift.

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