If you ask anybody to name the most interesting and easiest chapter in English grammar, people, without wondering for a fraction of a second, will suggest it should be Nouns. I believe you won’t be an exception. 

Still, it’s a bit confusing to many when it comes to understanding the difference between Common Nouns and Proper Nouns. Even after understanding them well in part, learners often get in a muddle when they are told to differentiate one from the other. 

This is because, at times, they seem to be similar even when they’re not. This is the catch.

But you don’t need to sweat it. My job here is to make things easier and simpler for you. I’ll also boil down the long story to just a couple of paragraphs that contain only the most relevant and useful information about Common Nouns and Proper Nouns for you. Just hang around with me for 5 minutes. I’ll be quick and won’t take much of your time. 

So, let’s directly come to the point. Let’s first define both the nouns. Moving forward, we’ll try to dig deep into other related things like common and proper noun examples, how we identify them, how we differentiate them, where and how we use them, etc.

What Are the Common Nouns and the Common Noun Examples? 

The name which refers to the whole class or species of a person, animal, object, or place (but not any particular person, animal, object, or place), is called the Common Noun

In other words, the Common Noun is the name of a class or group of people, things, or places that are of the same kind. It never specifies an object or entity. It only talks about its whole class, type, species, etc.

We can make it even simpler as the Common Noun is the name of people, things, places, etc that are common or generic.

Examples are:

Boy, girl, man, woman, etc. are examples of common nouns. This is because they are referring to the whole class or species, not any specific person. 

Same way, if you say a state, country, city, building, etc., you refer to a place (state, country, city, building, etc.) in general, not in particular. Right? 

Here’s a tip: All common nouns would be referring to multiple different people, things, animals, or places in general. Additionally, they are never capitalized unless they appear at the very beginning of a sentence or unless they are names of an official title or position like Attorney General, Managing Director, etc.

What Are the Proper Nouns and the Proper Noun Examples? 

The names of any particular person, animal, object, or place are called the Proper Nouns. To easily recognize, Proper Nouns are always written with a capital letter in the beginning.

Furthermore, it identifies a single entity and is used to indicate that entity. 

Examples are:

Aryan, Emily, Donald, Elizabeth, etc. – (names of a particular boy, girl, man, woman, etc)

Columbia, America, London, Delhi, White House, etc. – (names of specific places, cities, building, etc)

Tuffy, Simba, Missy, Bella – (names of some specific animals like a dog, lion, cat, and cow)

Samsung, iPhone, Dell, HP, HCL, etc. – (names of specific objects like electronic devices or gadgets) 

Here’s a tip: For your best understanding, all proper nouns have two distinct features in themselves. First, they name specific things (one-of-a-kind items). Second, they begin with a capital letter no matter where they are placed in a sentence.

How Can We Draw a Distinction Between the Common Nouns and the Proper Nouns?

When we talk of these two main nouns, we can tell the difference between the two by saying that a Common Noun is a general way of classifying things but a Proper Noun is a specific way of classifying things. 

Let’s simplify this. If you say you have a dog, the dog here is a Common Noun. And if you further name your dog as Tuffy, then the name Tuffy becomes a Proper Noun. 

How do we identify them separately? 

When you just speak or write a dog, lion, cat, cow, etc., they refer to a class or species of an animal, but once you assign a particular name to any of them like Tuffy, Simba, Missy, Bella respectively, it becomes a proper noun.

The final takeaway: If we carry our conversation to its logical conclusion, the difference between these two nouns hinges upon their specificity or particularity (the quality of being individual or unique). The simplest example would be that people, in general, are said to be Common Nouns, whereas their official positions or titles in specific circumstances or their assigned names are Proper Nouns.

I hope I have made things clear and you can now better explain the difference between the Common Nouns and the Proper Nouns. 

Good job!

There are many more things that relate to the topic. But to keep it simple and easy-to-understand, I have tried to keep it concise. Though, if I have missed including any more needful things, please do mention in the comment section. That will encourage me to make things even better per your need and liking.

And keep enjoying further readings on the topic NOUN & ITS TYPES…

Thanks a ton!  

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