Common Nouns vs. Proper Nouns

Nouns - Lesson #2

There are two kinds of nouns – common nouns and proper nouns.

Proper nouns are the names of people, places, companies, organizations, days of the week, months, holidays, buildings, works of art, titles of books or movies, sports teams, etc.

Here is a list of some proper nouns.

JonSallyBarack ObamaGandhi
FranceNew York CityAsiaMars
SaturdayMarchMayBarcelona FC
Cleveland CavaliersMoby Dickthe Mona LisaChanel

The first letter of a proper noun will always be capital (a big letter). So, when you are reading English and you see a capital letter that is not at the beginning of a sentence, then you know it is the name of something.
  • I saw Benjamin.
I might not know who or what "Benjamin" is, but I know that it is the name of something. If you are curious, Benjamin is a man's name.

Here are some example sentences that use proper nouns.
  • Italy is a gorgeous country with wonderful food and traditions.
  • I don't cheer for Chelsea. I cheer for Manchester United.
  • She doesn't like McDonald's, but she likes Burger King.
  • Have you seen the new Nike shoes?
  • Leonardo Da Vinci was one of the smartest men to ever live.
  • The Bible and the Quran are holy books.
  • My favorite holiday is Christmas.
  • The weather in Korea is always perfect in September.
The other kind of noun is a common noun. All nouns that are not a proper noun are common nouns. These nouns describe general items or groups. Here are some examples.


Common nouns can be either singular (one) or plural (more than one). We will cover this more in the next lesson.

We do not use capital letters for common nouns unless they are the first word of a sentence.
  • Tigers are scary.
  • I saw a tiger.
  • Books are better than movies.
  • I read a good book.
Here are some example sentences that use common nouns.
  • I want to eat pizza, chicken, curry, and cake!
  • I read a book last weekend, but I can't remember its name.
  • We went to a famous place in Paris, but I don't remember what it is called.
  • She really wants to go to the beach for our next trip.
  • That TV show is very funny.
Make sure that you understand this basic English grammar well. It is important to know if you want to speak English fluently.