Proper noun: examples, practice set, and identification

We all know what a noun is in English. It is the name of something or someone. In the lesson, we learn what a proper noun is, and how to use and identify it.

proper noun explanation

What is a proper noun?

A proper noun is a specific name given to a noun: person, thing, place, subject, concept, or any other thing. A proper noun is given to someone or something in order to identify that noun uniquely.

Every noun in the English language can be categorized as a proper noun or a common noun. Here are some examples of common nouns (unspecific names):

  • Man
  • Movie
  • Actor
  • Singer
  • City
  • Country
  • Subject
  • Laptop

A common noun is a common/unspecific name given to a class of someone or something. A common noun creates a class or category. All the nouns above are common names. These names don’t refer to a specific entity. On the other hand, a proper noun refers to a specific entity: person, thing, place, subject, etc.

Let’s look at both common and proper nouns side by side to understand them better.

Common nounProper noun
ActorTom Cruise
SingerJustin Bieber
LaptopApple MacBook Pro
Proper and common nouns

Examples of common and proper nouns

  • I need a person to talk to Mona.
    (Person is a common man. It creates a broad class. Every human being comes in this category. We don’t know the specific person (name of the person) who needs to talk to Mona.)
  • I need Ashish to talk to her.
    (Ashish is a specific name of a person.)

  • They were watching a movie.
    (There are many movies, that too in many languages. We don’t know which exact movie they were watching.)
  • They were watching Jumanji.
    (Jumanji is a specific name of a movie.)

  • It is difficult to learn a new language.
    (There are many languages in the world. We don’t know which language the writer is talking about.)
  • It is difficult to learn Chinese.
    (Chinese is a specific name of a language.)

A list of proper nouns


  • People = Jon, Alex, Samson
  • Dancers = Michael Jackson, Bob Fosse
  • Singers = Charlie Puth, Chris Brown
  • Fighters = Conor McGregor, Jon Jones
  • Actors = Akshay Kumar, Dwayne Johnson

And many more categories of people.


  • Mobile phones = OnePlus 8T, iPhone 12 Pro
  • Laptops = Dell G3 3500, HP Omen
  • Cars = Audi A4, Hyundai i20, Mahindra Thar
  • Bikes = Royal Enfield Bullet 350, Yamaha MT 15
  • Holy Scriptures = Geeta, Quran, Bible

And many more categories of people.


  • Cities = Mumbai, New York, Pune
  • Countries = India, Singapore
  • Stadiums = Firoz Shah Stadium, Green Park Stadium
  • Hospitals = Max Hospital, Apollo Hospital
  • Schools/Universities = Harvard University, Yale University, DAV School…
  • Airports = Manau International Airport, Kolkata Airport…
  • Parks = Jim Corbett National Park, Hemis National Park…
  • Companies = Apple, Samsung, Tesla, Asian Paints…
  • Institutions/universities = Banaras Hindu University, Harvard University, Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta…
  • Monuments = the Taj Mahal, the Red fort, the Eiffel Tower…
  • Hotels = the Plaza Hotel, The Beverly Hills Hotel, The Brando…


  • Days = Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday…
  • Months = January, February, March, April…
  • Festivals = Christmas, Diwali, New Year, Halloween…
  • Historical days = Independence Day, Republic Day, Children’s Day…
  • Historical events = World War II, Cold War, Civil War, French Revolution…


Language = English, Hindi, Arabic, Spanish, French, Chinese…

Names of categories that look like proper nouns but are common nouns

  • Sport = cricket, football, hockey, tennis
  • Feeling/emotion = love, hate, anger, calmness, wrath
  • Quality = honesty, bravery, courage, compassion
  • Concept = individualism, poverty, religion, freedom, democracy
  • Season = winter, summer, autumn, spring…
  • Subject = history, economics, marketing, mathematics, accounting…

Why do we need proper nouns?

Why were you given a name by your parents? Think about it. 

What would happen if they didn’t give you a name? What would happen if people around you didn’t have a name given to them? How would life be?

It would be absolutely impossible to communicate if people and things around us weren’t given a name to them. 

In a nutshell, we just can’t function without proper names. Without people and objects not having unique names, we can’t communicate, travel, shop, teach or do other things. Proper names are the differentiator. They make objects stand out alone and be able to be identified uniquely.

Ashish: I want you to go to Delhi next week, visit The Nudge Foundation, and meet Akshay. 
You: Okay, sir. I’ll leave on Monday.

Imagine this conversation without the proper nouns. Would you be able to do what you’re told to do without having these proper nouns in the sentences? It’s impossible.

Ashish: I want you to go to a city next week. Visit an NGO and meet a person.

Would you, now, be able to do what you’re told to do? Would you be able to go to the right city, visit the right company, and meet the right person? Not without knowing their names. So, this is why we need proper nouns in English.

Now, we will understand the importance of proper nouns with some conversations.

Ron: Where are you, Joanna?
Joanna: I am in Delhi.
Ron: Great. I’m here too. Meet me in a park.

Where would Joanna go? Don’t you think it’s unclear which exact park she needs to be at? Ron didn’t refer to a specific name of a park. If you were Joanna here, where would you go? You wouldn’t know, right? You need the proper name of the park where Ron wants to meet you. So, a proper noun saves the day here. Let’s recreate the conversation.

Ron: Where are you, Joanna?
Joanna: I am in Delhi.
Ron: Great. I’m here too. Meet me at Lodi Garden.

Lodi Garden is a specific name of a place (park/garden). It helps us identify the place uniquely.

Ashish: I am taking you to a city. Pack your bag.
Son: Great. I’ll just pack my bag and get ready.

We don’t know which city Ashish is taking his son to. We would never know where he is going. The specific name of the city is a proper name.

Ashish: I am taking you to Chicago. Pack your bag.
Son: Great. I’ll just pack my bag and get ready.

Chicago is a specific name of a city. It is a proper name. It points out at the ball you are referring to out of a bag full of many bags.

Mangesh: Ashish seems to be dating someone.
Rohit: Yes, he is seeing an actress.

Would you, as Mangesh, ever know who he is dating? There must be thousands of actresses or maybe more. We don’t even know which country or city she belongs to.

Mangesh: Ashish seems to be dating someone.
Rohit: Yes, he is seeing Priyanka Chopra.

Priyanka Chopra is a specific name of an actress.

Allen: I am watching a movie tonight.
Jimmy: Oh great. Can I join you?
Allen: Absolutely.

Movie is a common name. It does not specify anything. We don’t know anything about it.

Allen: I am watching Aquaman tonight.
Jimmy: Oh great. Can I join you?
Allen: Absolutely.

Examples of proper nouns

  1. I love Tina.
  2. Have you been to Pune?
  3. If you are not happy working for Dell, you can come to Delhi and work with me and Rahul.
  4. The Power of Subconscious Mind is a book you should definitely read.
  5. Jon Jones works for UFC.
  6. I will see you at Lodhi Park.
  7. Most people in India know how to speak English.
  8. I saw Audi A6 on fire near the Lal Quila.
  9. I bought it from Amazon.
  10. Let’s meet on Sunday.

Important points to note:

1. Proper nouns are always capitalized: the first letter of a proper noun has to be a capital letter no matter where it comes from in a sentence.

2. Proper nouns take us to the exact object that is being talked about. They don’t create a class or category.

3. Names of seasons are not proper nouns. Don’t capitalize them.

4. We don’t use ‘the‘ before a name of a company unless it is a part of the name.

5. Don’t use ‘the’ before the name of a county unless the name has words such as republic, state/s, or kingdom in it.

  • The United States of America
  • The Philippines
  • The Republic of China
  • The Netherlands
  • The United Arab Emirates
  • The French Republic

6. Names of animals, birds, fruits, and vegetables are not proper nouns because they have further categories in them.

  • I want an Apple. ❌
  • I want an apple. ✅

There are different types of apples, meaning it creates a class. So, we need to use it like a common noun. The same is with the names of animals, birds, and vegetables.

Now, we know everything about proper nouns. Feel free to share your question, doubt, or feedback in the comment section, and also, share the post with the people that need it.

For one-on-one classes, contact me at [email protected].


What is a proper noun for kids?

A proper noun is a name given to a person, place, or thing. Examples: Jon, India, Instagram, Earth, MacBook, etc. The first letter of a proper noun is always capitalized.

Is teacher a proper noun?

No, ‘teacher’ is a common noun. It doesn’t refer to any specific person; it creates a class. We don’t know who exactly it refers to.

Is school a proper noun?

No, school is not a proper noun; it is a common noun. It can be any school anywhere. It refers to a place of education.

Is mom a proper noun?

Mom is usually a common noun; the same is with the word ‘dad’. But when they are used in place of the name of your mother and father and don’t have any determiner before them, we consider them proper and capitalize their first letter.
Jon: Is your mom coming?
Ashish: I just talked to Mom. She’s with Dad right now. They’ll be here in some time.

Is birthday a proper noun?

No, it is a common noun. It doesn’t refer to any specific day. 

Is Orange a proper noun?

Yes, orange is a proper noun. It is a name given to a color.

Is doctor a proper noun?

No, doctor is not a proper noun. It is a common noun that creates a class. But when it is used as a part of someone’s name and shows the designation, we capitalize its first letter. Ex- I know Doctor Aman Malhotra. He is a great doctor.

Is Christmas a proper noun?

Yes, it is a specific name of a festival.

Is winter a proper noun?

Names of seasons are not considered proper nouns. Winter is a common noun.

Is Diwali a proper noun?

Yes, Diwali is a proper noun. It is a specific name of a festival.

Is KFC a proper noun?

Yes, KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken) is a name of a company.

Sharing Is Caring:

Ashish found his first love—the English language—a few years back. Since then, he has been immersed in the language, breaking down the language and teaching it to passionate English learners. He has a flair for listening to the English language (podcasts, sitcoms, stories), observing the nuances, and making it easy for English learners. He is known for breaking down complex English topics and making them easy to be understood.

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