Master The Classification of Noun- Common Noun And Proper Noun [Part-1]

Before we learn about Common Noun and Proper Noun, we must know about the Classification of Noun and before we know about the Different Kinds of Noun that are there in English Grammar, we should have a clear concept about what Noun is.

My previous blog post, A General Introduction on  Parts of Speech will help you to get introduced to the eight parts of speech of English Grammar including nouns. So, if you have not already gone through that, my request to you is to go through that post first and then come back here and if you already know, you can continue.

Classification of Noun

So, a Noun is a naming word. The word which simply suggests a name is called a noun. No matter, if it is the name of a person, a thing, a place, an animal, a quality, an idea, an institution, or an action; so long it suggests a name, it is a noun. Now, this can be classified into different kinds or types and they are-

  • Five Different Kinds of Nouns: Nouns can be primarily classified into five types and they are- 1) Common Noun 2) Proper Noun 3) Material Noun 4) Collective Noun and 5) Abstract Noun.
  • Based on Countability: According to this, we can divide nouns into two sections and they are- 1) Countable Nouns and 2) Uncountable Nouns.

Now if you classify nouns based on countability, you will see that among the five nouns mentioned above, two will fall into the category of countable nouns, two uncountable nouns, and one both countable and uncountable (depending on the context)

Countable Nouns: Common Noun, Proper Noun

Uncountable Nouns: Material Noun, Abstract Noun

Both Countable and Uncountable: Collective Noun (Depending on how it is used in a sentence)

  • Compound Noun: Lastly, there is another kind of noun which is known as Compound Noun.
classification of noun, different kinds of noun
Different Kinds of Nouns

Part-I: Common Noun And Proper Noun

For the convenience of my audience so that everyone can grasp things completely with proper understanding, I have divided the whole article on the Classification of Noun into a few parts and today we will learn about Part-I which deals with Common Noun and Proper Noun.

Saying this I would like to inform you that this blog post requires your close attention and if you are in a hurry, please bookmark this post in your browser so that you can read this with ease.

Common Noun

Definition Of Common Noun

As the name indicates, the noun which suggests a common name or a name in general but not a specific one is called a common noun. It suggests the names of the persons or the things or the places of the same class or kind.

Examples of Common Nouns with Explanations

i) Example-Person: Boy, Girl, Man, Woman, Father, Mother, Teacher, Student etc.

Explanation: Let’s begin with the example  ‘Boy to understand it properly with a proper explanation. So, What is it?  As the word ‘Boy’ suggests a name, it is a noun. Yes, it falls into the category of a person or a human being and surely not an inanimate object.

Now focus on the word. When I tell you ‘a boy’, do you really know which boy, in particular, I am referring to you? Simply you don’t because I have not revealed his name before you.

He can be Rohit, or Saikat, or John, or Jones or any other boy in this universe. So, here the name is a general name, rather a class name but surely not a specific name. So, ‘A Boy‘ is an example of a Class Noun or Common Noun.

ii) Example-Thing: Book, Newspaper, Mountain, Hill, Sea, River etc.

Explanation: When I say a book, I am not referring to any specific book which you can catch by its title or name.

It can be a book on personal finance such as ‘Rich Dad, Poor Dad’ by Robert T. Kiyosaki or a book on personality development such as ‘Attitude Is Everything’ by Jeff Keller, or a popular book of collected stories such as ‘Dubliners’ by James Joyce or a fabulous novel by Charles Dickens like ‘Hard Times’  or a book of ‘Selected Poems’ written by John Keats or a tragic drama like ‘Macbeth’ by William Shakespeare or some religious books like ‘The Ramayana’ or ‘The Mahabharata’ or ‘The Bible’.

In short, it can be anything that can be a book but not a specific book.  So, a book is an example of a Common Noun.

iii) Example-Place: Country, Village, Town, Office, School, College etc.

Explanation: Take the example ‘Country’ here to explain. So, when I say country, am I referring to any specific country? Obviously not. It can be our motherland India or a neighboring country like Bangladesh or Nepal or Srilanka or it can be any country from Europe like Russia or Germany or the United Kingdom or any country that exists in this world.

The point is that the word ‘Country‘ itself refers to any country but not a specific country and hence this is an example of a Common Noun.

iv) Example- Animal: Cow, Dog, Cat, Deer, Bear, Tiger, Lion, Horse etc.

Explanation: Now take an example from point four where the mentioned category is animal. Let’s take Dog in this case. So, when I say a dog, a simple question arises in our mind and that is – which dog? Is this your pet dog- Charley or the pet dog of your neighbor- Bella or your friend’s pet dog- Bullu or that famous dog in the Indian Army- Cadoc or it simply refers to the street dog- Bhulu of your area?

Yes! The questions are many but no specific answer as it refers to any dog but no dog in particular. So, here ‘dog’ is an example of what? Yes. Common Noun.

v) Example-Bird: Parrot, Cuckoo, Crow, Lark, Peacock etc.

Explanation: The list may go on and on as everything that we see around us, at least 80% of them are common nouns. What? You don’t believe my words? Okay, why don’t you look around and make a list and tell me in the comment section what you found out?

However, let’s end with the example of ‘Parrot’. Well, a parrot is a bird and we all know that. But when I say a parrot it refers to any parrot not just your pet parrot Polly (Suppose you have a parrot and you have given her a name which is Polly). It can be the pet parrot of your cousin sister or your friend or that parrot that you have seen at the park.

It can be any parrot as the word ‘parrot‘ refers to a general type of bird that is commonly found in various parts of the world and that is why it is an example of a Common Noun.


If I would say Rohit in place of a boy or the Ramayana in place of a book or India in place of a country or Cadoc, that famous and fierce four-legged warrior from the Indian Army or Polly, the name of your pet parrot, then what kind of noun would these become?

Yes, these names are specific and not common or general and these names do not refer to a class but rather a specific individual.

Here, Proper Noun comes into the picture.

Common Noun
Common Noun or Class Noun

Proper Noun

Definition of Proper Noun

The noun which suggests the name of a person or a thing or a place in particular or specific and not a common name, is called a Proper Noun.

Examples of Proper Nouns with Explanations

i) Example:

  • Boy (Common Noun)
  • Rohit, Rahul, Som, John, Mitchel etc. (Proper Noun)

Explanation: When I say Rohit, I am referring to a particular boy whose name is Rohit and not any other boy.

ii) Example:

  • Girl (Common Noun)
  • Ritu, Nandini, Debi, Afsona, Jane etc. (Proper Noun)

Explanation: When I say Ritu, I am referring to a particular girl whose name is Ritu and not any other girl.

iii) Example:

  • Book (Common Noun)
  • The Geeta, The Koran, The Bible, The Ramayana, The Mahabharata etc. (Proper Noun)

Explanation: When I say The Geeta, I simply mean The Geeta and not any other book.

iv) Example:

  • Newspaper (Common Noun)
  • The Telegraph, The Statesman, The Bartaman Patrika, USA Today, The New York Times etc. (Proper Noun)

Explanation: When I say The Telegraph, the newspaper that I am referring to is only The Telegraph and not any other newspaper.

v) Example:

  • Country (Common Noun)
  • India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, England etc. (Proper Noun

Explanation: When I say India, the country I am referring to is only my motherland India and not any other country.

vi) Example:

  • Capital (Common Noun)
  • New Delhi, Dhaka, Thimphu, Kathmandu, London etc. (Proper Noun

Explanation: In a similar trend, when I say New Delhi, I am mentioning the capital of our country.

vii) Example:

  • School (Common Noun)
  • David Hare School, Hindu School, Delhi Public School, Bombay Scottish School, St. John’s High School etc. (Proper Noun)

Explanation: Again, when I say David Hare School, I am referring to a specific school.

viii) Example:

  • College (Common Noun)
  • Medinipur Day College, Contai P.K College, Acharya J.C. Bose College, Acharya Prafulla Chandra College etc. (Proper Noun

Explanation: When I say Medinipur Day College, I am referring to this college only and not any other college.

ix) Example:

  • University (Common Noun)
  • Vidyasagar University, Burdwan University, Calcutta University etc. (Proper Noun)

Explanation: Similarly, when I say Vidyasagr University, I specifically mean this university only.

So, what do we get from the above explanations? The names mentioned above are not in general but rather particular. They refer to unique individuals or places or things which carry specific names. So, these are examples of Proper Nouns.

I hope you have properly understood Common Nouns and Proper Nouns. But, if still you are confused a little bit, I bet the following side-by-side comparisons between the two will remove your confusion completely.

proper noun
Proper Noun With Examples

Difference Between Common Noun And Proper Noun (A Detailed Comparison)

Below are the five key differences drawn to clear confusion. So, please give your full attention and go through the lines

i) Specificity: A common noun refers to a general category or class of people, places, or things, while a proper noun refers to a specific, unique individual or entity.

Example: ‘Day’ is a common noun, while ‘Monday’ is a proper noun.

ii) Capitalization: Proper nouns are always capitalized, while common nouns are not.

Example:Kolkata’ is a proper noun and therefore capitalized, while ‘city’ is a common noun and not capitalized.

iii) Plurality: Common nouns can be singular or plural, while proper nouns are generally singular.

Example: ‘Book’ is a common noun that can refer to one book or many books, whereas ‘Attitude Is Everything’ is a proper noun that refers to a singular book.

iv) Usage: As Common nouns are widely used to refer to someone or something in general (i.e everyday objects, concepts, people etc.) and are quite opposite to the proper nouns that are used to refer to specific or unique entities, Common nouns are used much more frequently in everyday life while proper nouns are not.

Example: In a typical conversation, we are more likely to use common nouns like “car,” “book,” and “person” than proper nouns like “Toyota,” “The Psychology of Money,” or “Morgan Housel.”

v) Importance: Proper nouns are usually more important and significant than common nouns. Proper nouns are used to refer to specific people, places, or things that are unique or well-known, while common nouns are more general and less specific.

Comparison- Common Noun and Proper Noun
Comparison- Common Noun and Proper Noun

Certain Things To Keep in Mind: Common Nouns And Proper Nouns

  • To indicate a singular number, a common noun always takes an article before it. Example- A man, A woman, A boy, A girl etc.
  • The first letter of a proper noun is always a capital letter whereas the first letter of a common noun is generally a small letter. Common Noun Example:- A book, A student, Proper Noun Example:- Rabindranath Tagore, Virat Kohli, etc.
  • Common Nouns can be in plural form but a proper noun is always singular in number. Common Noun Example: Book (singular)- Books (plural), Proper Noun Example: Ram, Rahim, etc.

YouTube: Common Noun And Proper Noun (Bengali)

If you are one from Bengali Medium, then the following video from my YouTube Channel on Common Noun And Proper Noun is going to help you a lot. So, please visit once and don’t hesitate to subscribe if you find it worthy to subscribe.

Wrapping Up

I hope, you have enjoyed this article and you have learned something new.

Now, show me your presence in the comment section if you have liked this blog post. Please, don’t hesitate to share this post with your friends and family as ‘sharing is caring’. If you want to get such blog posts in the near future, you may follow this blog.

Thank you all. Stay cool and stay happy. See you next time.

FAQ: Common Noun And Proper Noun

Below are some frequently asked questions that people ask over the internet. Go through them and see if you already know the answers or not.

FAQ 1: How do you know if a noun is common or proper?

Ans: One way to tell if a noun is common or proper is to see if it is capitalized. Proper nouns are usually capitalized, whereas common nouns are not.

FAQ 2: Can proper nouns be pluralized?

Ans: Proper nouns, like common nouns, can be pluralized. For example, “The Taylors” refers to a family with the proper noun “Taylor” as their surname.

FAQ 3: Is there any exemption to the proper noun capitalization rule?

Ans: Yes, there are exceptions to the capitalization rule for proper nouns, such as when a brand utilizes lowercase letters on purpose (e.g., iPhone, adidas) or when specialized style guides or languages have their own capitalization rules or requirements.

FAQ 4: Is it possible for a word to be both a common noun and a proper noun?

Ans: Depending on how it is used in a sentence, a word can function as both a common noun and a proper noun in some circumstances. For example, “apple” can be a proper noun (relating to the firm Apple Inc.) or a common noun (referring to a fruit).

FAQ 5: What are the most used common nouns in English language?

Ans: Firstly, I want to say that determining the most used common nouns in is not an easy job. However, according to the language experts, “time,” “person,” and “day” are among the most used common nouns in  English language.

About Captain Som

Avatar of Captain SomHi! This is Captain Som, a Teacher by profession and a Blogger by passion. I run this blog "Lighthouse Edulight".

I also own a Youtube Channel named "Lighthouse Edulearn", one of the best platforms to learn English for the students from Bengali Medium.

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