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Home > Language > Grammar > Proper Noun and Common Noun Compared

Difference Between Proper Noun and Common Noun

Proper Noun vs Common Noun
 

As a student of English language, people have to contend with the concepts of proper noun and common noun that are very confusing because of their similarities. Noun is a part of speech, and both common and proper nouns make up this part of speech. Noun, in fact, allows people to place a lot of words in a single category as it lumps together all places, things, persons and ideas. Let us differentiate between proper and common nouns, to make things easier for the students of English language.

What is a Proper Noun?

Proper noun is the name of place, person or thing that is unique and distinct as opposed to many of that kind. So London or New York may be cities, but they are unique and thus labeled as proper nouns. Thus, a planet may be a common noun, but when we talk about Uranus or Mars, we write in capitalized form and call them proper nouns. If we are talking about a girl, we are making use of noun for the girl, but as soon as we refer to Britney Spears, Britney Spears becomes a proper noun as she is a unique entity. Thus, an ocean is a noun as there are many oceans in the world, but when we talk about Pacific Ocean, we know we are dealing with a proper noun and not a common noun. As there are many zoos in the world, a zoo is a common noun but as soon as we refer to the Central Park Zoo, we know it is a proper noun as there is only one Central Park Zoo in the world. It means that all the words in a proper noun are written in capitalized form.

What is a Common noun?

Common nouns are the most basic categories of nouns where people, places and things are labeled as common nouns. Common nouns are written without writing the first letter of the word in capital form. So a man is a common noun but Vladimir Putin is a proper noun even though he happens to be a man. This means that common nouns are generic in nature and lump together a class of things. So all mountains are common nouns, but Mount Everest is a proper noun as it points to a specific mountain. If I have a dog as a pet, it remains a common noun but as soon as I refer to it with its name that is Bruno, I am making use of a proper noun for the more generic common noun of dog. Common nouns never start with a capital letter unless they occur at the start of a sentence.

What is the difference between a Proper Noun and Common Noun?

• Nouns are classified into common and proper nouns.

• Common nouns are generic and club together a category of things or places such as dog, city, mountain, ocean etc.

• Common nouns are never started with a capital letter unless they occur at the start of a sentence.

• Proper nouns are specific in nature and tell us about a unique person, place, or thing. Thus, a mountain is a common noun but Mount Everest becomes a proper noun.

• All words in a proper noun are started with capital letters.

• Even though, a rose is a type of flower which is a common noun, it remains a common noun as there are millions of roses around the world.


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