Proper Noun

Proper nouns are names of unique things, places, or persons. This means that they indicate towards something or someone specific or particular, which is one of its kind. They help us to separate out an individual from the group.

Proper nouns always begin with a capital letter irrespective of their position in a sentence. Also, they are usually preceded by the article ‘the’ because we know that ‘the’ is a definite article.  (reason discussed in detail in chapter Article)

Examples:

  • Virat Kohli is the captain of the Indian cricket team. (here, Virat Kohli and India are names that point to a unique person and place, respectively.)
  • Mount Everest is the world’s highest mountain. (here, Mount Everest refers to a unique mountain. Whenever we hear the name Mount Everest we only think about a particular mountain.)
  • She lives in London. (here, London is the name of a place and, there is only one place with this name.)
  • Kashmiri apples are very famous. (here, Kashmiri is the name of a unique type of apples that are found at a particular place.)

So, all the exclusive things are proper nouns—all your classmates, family members, cities, countries, etc. You might have two classmates or family members with the same name, but they are two different and unique people. Hence, they are proper nouns.

Some more Examples of Proper Nouns:

  • Person: Ram, Michel, Gandhi, Lata, Lilly.
  • Place: Asia, Paris, Delhi, Mars, North Pole, Amazon forest.
  • Animal: African lion, Rossy the cat, Jacky, the dog.
  • Thing: Parker pen, Natraj pencil, Samsung T.V., Usha fan.

Proper Noun in itself is a complete topic that requires deep learning. It is important to know all perspectives of proper nouns to use them correctly in a sentence—this important for ESL and exams point of view.

Ø How Proper Nouns are different from Common Nouns→

Common nouns are general names. They never point towards anything specific rather; they put a person or thing in a particular group. They never begin with a capital letter unless they come at the beginning of a sentence.

COMMON NOUN PROPER NOUN
Mountains
Mount Everest, Mount Fuji, Mount Olympus
Students
Sam, Christine, Max.
Countries
India, Brazil, Nepal, USA
Books
The Alchemist, War & Peace, Cherry Tree
Cities
Paris, London, Mumbai, Sydney
Banks
HSBC, Citibank, HDFC
Planets
Mars, Earth, Jupiter, Venus

Ø When Proper Nouns act as Common Nouns

Sometimes a proper noun is used as a common noun. This happens when a proper noun is considered a reference or an ideal example of some attribute.

Examples:

  • Rohan is considered the Sachin Tendulkar of our team. (here, Rohan is a proper noun. And Sachin Tendulkar is a reference common noun with whom the characteristics of Rohan are compared.)
  • Today it feels like Sunday. (here, characteristics of the present day are compared to Sunday. Thus, Sunday is a common noun here.)
  • Despite being old, this car is as good as a Mercedes. (here, an old car is said to have characteristics like a Mercedes.)

Ø Capitalization of Proper Nouns→

  • Always capitalize the titles used as suffix before names. Titles are suffix like Mrs., Ms., Jr., Sr., Prince, Princess, the Great, Dr., Sir, Madame, etc.

Examples:

  • Someone broke into Mrs. Mehra’s house last night.
  • He is assistant to Sir John
  • We are waiting for a call from Dr. Lee.
  • Capitalize designations when they are used as titles before names or when they are used instead of names. Designations are words like President, Manager, Marketing Assistant, Chief, Commander, Finance Manager, etc.

Examples:

  • The President of the Exposition gave her this opportunity. (here, the words President is used in place of a name, and thus it is capitalized.)
  • President Roosevelt was the 32nd president of the USA. (here, first, the word President is used as a title and so capitalized. Second, it is used as a common noun and it is a general term.)
  • Some people think the Manager spends too much time traveling. (here, the words Manager is used in place of a name, and thus it is capitalized.)
  • She proved to be the most efficient assistant manager in our department. (here, the words assistant manager is a common noun.)
  • Words denoting relations are capitalized when used as titles before names or used instead of a name. But they are not capitalized when used after a possessive pronoun or possessive case of a noun or when they do not point towards a specific person.

Examples:

  • She called Mom a few minutes ago.
  • They are celebrating Aunt Judy’s birthday.
  • Missionaries of Charity was founded by Mother Teresa.
  • We will convince Father to come with us on the trip.

  • Can you help my brother with his project?
  • Sarah’s father is a cop.
  • Joel’s sister completed her graduation last summer.
  • Days of the weeks, Months of the year and Festivals are proper nouns and are always capitalized. But seasons are common nouns and are never capitalized.

Examples:

  • I go to temple every Monday.
  • She was born on 16th July
  • We will get a leave of five days for Christmas.
  • The cuckoo comes in April and stays till the month of May.
  • They are planning to move to their ancestor land this Spring. (INCORRECT)
  • They are planning to move to their ancestor land this spring. (CORRECT)

Ø Article ‘The’ is never used before the name of a person. It can be used before surnames→

Article ‘the’ is never used before names. But it can be used before surnames to refer to a family as a group.

Examples:

  • I will meet the Mathew today. (INCORRECT)
  • I will meet Mathew today. (CORRECT)

  • This is a famous line quoted by the Mahatma Gandhi. (INCORRECT)
  • This is a famous line quoted by Mahatma Gandhi. (CORRECT)

  • I have invited the Millers for dinner.
  • He lives with the Simpsons.
#KEY-NOTES:

  • Proper Nouns are UNIQUE and Exclusive.
  • That is, there exists only one such thing in a given group.
  • Proper Noun always begins with a Capital letter.
  • Titles and Designations are always capitalized.
  • Days, Months, and Festivals are capitalized but not seasons.
  • Article ‘the’ is never used before names of person but can be used before surnames to refer to a family as a whole.

#SUMMARY:
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