Do you get confused about the difference between a common noun and a proper noun? Would practice help you become a master?

Read on to learn about the difference between common and proper nouns, how they are used, and when to use them.

You are watching: Virginia and england are what type of noun

When you feel like you’ve got it, test yourself with a quiz and practice with our high-quality, standards-aligned questions here.


The Basics of Common and Proper Nouns3 Tips for Understanding Common vs. Proper NounsApplying the Basics: Common and Proper Noun Review & PracticeSummary on Common and Proper Nouns

The Basics of Common and Proper Nouns

*

What is a common noun?

A common noun is the general, non-specific term for a person, place, thing, or idea. Usually, common nouns are not capitalized unless they begin a sentence.

For example, as you work on your homework, think about the things you are using. You might be using a computer, a textbook, or a pencil. All of these are generic items that we encounter on a regular basis and are common nouns.

What is a proper noun?

A proper noun is a specific, unique person, place, thing, or idea. Unlike common nouns, proper nouns are almost always capitalized. This is true whether they begin a sentence or not.

Let’s consider the same example from above, but instead, now we will be more specific about the resources necessary to complete your homework.

As you work, you may be using a Pearson Algebra 1 textbook, a Google Chromebook, and a Ticonderoga pencil. You are better able to visualize this scenario if proper nouns are provided since they are more specific and unique.

What is the relationship between common and proper nouns?

Common and proper nouns are closely related. The most straightforward way of understanding the relationship between common and proper nouns is to think about proper nouns as specific examples of common nouns.

For example, the word building is a common noun. Examples of buildings include The White House, The Art Institute of Chicago, and Memorial Hall at Harvard University.

These examples are all proper nouns since they are specific, unique examples of the common noun building. Generally, we can more vividly picture or understand a text when the author uses examples of proper nouns since there is less room for interpretation.

How do you use common and proper nouns?

Common and proper nouns can be used in relation to each other or separately. Typically, authors use common nouns when they are describing something broad or ambiguous.

Proper nouns are used to describe a person, place, thing, or idea that is specific and concrete. Common and proper nouns are often used together in sentences.

Take the following sentence as an example: The doctor worked long hours at Memorial Hospital to help contain the spread of the common cold.

In this sentence, we see examples of common nouns, such as doctor, hours, and common cold. Additionally, the sentence has an example of a proper noun– Memorial Hospital.

If the sentence were not to name the hospital specifically, then it would have remained a common noun (hospital).


Return to the top

3 Tips for Understanding Common vs. Proper Nouns

Here are some important tips to help you determine the difference between common and proper nouns:

*

Tip #1: If it’s a noun and it’s capitalized, then it’s probably a proper noun.

Remember, proper nouns are specific people, places, things, or ideas. Since they represent a concrete or specific person, place, thing, or idea, they are capitalized.For example, book is a generic common noun.The Scarlet Letter is a specific book and, as a result, is a proper noun.There is an exception to this rule, however– if a common noun begins a sentence, then it should be capitalized since the first word of every sentence should be capitalized.For example, Lampshades come in many different colors, varieties, and shapes. Even though lampshades is capitalized in this sentence, it is not a specific brand or size of lampshade.Lampshade is capitalized because it begins the sentence, not because it is a proper noun.

Tip #2: Make sure it’s a noun.

Do not rely solely on the capitalization of words to determine whether or not the word (or words) in question is a common or proper noun.There are other examples of words that can be capitalized in a sentence, such as proper adjectives. Before you classify a word as a common or proper noun, ask yourself whether or not the word or phrase in question is a person, place, thing, or idea. If it’s not, then it is not a noun.For example, consider the following sentence: It can be difficult for young people to read complicated, Shakespearian language. At first glance, you may quickly classify Shakespearian as a proper noun. Upon further inspection, however, Shakespearian merely describes the common noun language.Therefore, in this instance, Shakespearian is NOT a proper noun even though it is capitalized. Instead, it is a proper adjective.

Tip #3: When writing, ask yourself, “what message am I trying to communicate?”

If you are using common and proper nouns in your own writing, it is important to consider what it is that you want the reader to take away from your writing.If you are trying to paint a clear, vivid picture for the reader, then it is important to use more proper nouns.However, if you are attempting to create a more general, vague scene, then using more common nouns is appropriate.

Remember, if you are trying to figure out whether a word is a common or proper noun, ask yourself if the word in question is a noun and whether or not it’s capitalized.

If you are writing, ask yourself what message you are trying to communicate before using common or proper nouns.


Return to the top

Applying the Basics: Common and Proper Noun Review & Practice

Now that you understand what common and proper nouns are, let’s review how and when to use them, and how to tell them apart! Remember, every proper noun has a common noun counterpart, but not every common noun has a related proper noun.

The Ultimate List of Common and Proper Nouns

Refer to the graphic below for an extensive list of example common and proper nouns:

*

This list, obviously, does not include all common and proper nouns and is meant to be used as a guide while identifying other nouns.

Common Noun Exercises & Review

Now that you know the difference between common and proper nouns, test your ability to accurately identify common nouns.

*

Select the common noun(s) in the sentences below. Remember, these are generic items that we encounter on a regular basis. They are not capitalized unless they begin a sentence.

1. You’ve probably used Google Earth to look at the roof of your own house.

In this sentence, roof and house are both common nouns because they are not specific names or titles. They are just general, making them common nouns.

2. In New York City, for example, subways chug along 500 miles of underground track.

In this sentence, example, subways, miles, and track are common nouns because they are not specific names or titles. They are just general, making them common nouns.

3. Some people argue that the government should control what goes on underground, and private companies should not be able to profit from the land beneath your house.

In this sentence, people, government, underground, companies, land, and house are all common nouns because they are not specific names or titles. They are just general, making them common nouns.

4. How would you feel about a public road going under your porch?

In this sentence, road and porch are common nouns because they are not specific names or titles. They are just general, making them common nouns.

5. The way we answer these questions will help determine how our society grows and changes in the future.

In this sentence, way, questions, society, and future are all common nouns because they are not specific names or titles. They are just general, making them common nouns.

Pro tip: When evaluating whether a noun is common, ask yourself, “Is it general, and is it in lower case?”


Return to the top

Proper Noun Exercises & Review

Complete the quick exercise below to assess your mastery of proper nouns.

*

Select the proper noun(s) in the sentences below. Remember, a proper noun is a specific, unique person, place, thing, or idea. Unlike common nouns, proper nouns are almost always capitalized. This is true whether they begin a sentence or not.

1. In 1890, long before your great-grandparents were born, the U.S. Congress established Yosemite National Park.

In this sentence, U.S Congress and Yosemite National Park are proper nouns because they are specific names or titles. When a noun is specific like this, it is proper and must be capitalized.

2. Before becoming a national park, the Yosemite area was home to the Ahwahneechee and Miwok people for many generations.

In this sentence, Yosemite, Ahwahneechee, and Miwok are proper nouns because they are specific names or titles. When a noun is specific like this, it is proper and must be capitalized.

3. Disney’s “Pocahontas” has a similar happy tone, but the actual life of Pocahontas was more interesting than what we saw on screen.

In this sentence, Disney’s and Pocahontas are proper nouns because they are specific names or titles. When a noun is specific like this, it is proper and must be capitalized.

4. Pocahontas was born around 1595 in modern-day Virginia.

In this sentence, Pocahontas and Virginia are proper nouns because they are specific names or titles. When a noun is specific like this, it is proper and must be capitalized.

5. Heralded as an example of the possibilities in the “New World”, Pocahontas and John Rolfe traveled to England with their son in 1616.

In this sentence, New World, Pocahontas, John Rolfe, and England are all proper nouns because they are specific names or titles. When a noun is specific like this, it is proper and must be capitalized.

Pro tip: When evaluating whether a noun is proper, ask yourself, “Is it specific, and is it capitalized?”

For additional practice, check out Common and Proper Nouns content on smashville247.net.


Return to the top

Try for Yourself: Common and Proper Nouns Quiz

*

Feeling confident in your understanding of common and proper nouns?

Take this short six-question quiz to see what you’ve learned:


1. Is a common noun general or specific?

Answer: GeneralCorrect Explanation: That’s right! A common noun is the general, non-specific term for a person, place, thing, or idea. Usually, common nouns are not capitalized unless they begin a sentence.Incorrect Explanation: Sorry, that’s not right! Remember, a common noun is the general, non-specific term for a person, place, thing, or idea. Usually, common nouns are not capitalized unless they begin a sentence.

2. Is a proper noun general or specific?

Answer: SpecificCorrect Explanation: That’s right! A proper noun is a specific, unique person, place, thing, or idea. Unlike common nouns, proper nouns are almost always capitalized.Incorrect Explanation: Sorry, that’s not right! Remember, a proper noun is a specific, unique person, place, thing, or idea. Unlike common nouns, proper nouns are almost always capitalized.

3. In this sentence, are the underlined words common or proper nouns?

Adolescent brains are constantly rewiring and retraining to prune skills that are not being used to make room for the skills being used often.

Answer: CommonCorrect Explanation: That’s right! A common noun is the general, non-specific term for a person, place, thing, or idea. Usually, common nouns are not capitalized unless they begin a sentence. Brains, skills, room, and skills are not capitalized in this example.Incorrect Explanation: Sorry, that’s not right! Remember, a common noun is the general, non-specific term for a person, place, thing, or idea. Usually, common nouns are not capitalized unless they begin a sentence.

4. In this sentence, are the underlined words common or proper nouns?

We enter our REM stage within the first 90 minutes of sleep and repeat this cycle several timesthroughout the night.

Answer: CommonCorrect Explanation: That’s right! A common noun is the general, non-specific term for a person, place, thing, or idea. Usually, common nouns are not capitalized unless they begin a sentence. In this example, stage, sleep, repeat, times, and night are all general common nouns.Incorrect Explanation: Sorry, that’s not right! Remember, a common noun is the general, non-specific term for a person, place, thing, or idea. Usually, common nouns are not capitalized unless they begin a sentence.

5. In this sentence, are the underlined words common or proper nouns?

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, plastic litter is of the greatest concern as it has the most widespread and harmful impacts on animal populations.

Answer: ProperCorrect Explanation: That’s right! A proper noun is a specific, unique person, place, thing, or idea. Unlike common nouns, proper nouns are almost always capitalized. In this example, the Environmental Protection Agency refers to a specific government entity.Incorrect Explanation: Sorry, that’s not right! Remember, a proper noun is a specific, unique person, place, thing, or idea. Unlike common nouns, proper nouns are almost always capitalized.

6. In this sentence, are the underlined words common or proper nouns?

What does NASA’s space program cost each of the 328 million people that currently live in the USA?

Answer: ProperCorrect Explanation: That’s right! A proper noun is a specific, unique person, place, thing, or idea. Unlike common nouns, proper nouns are almost always capitalized. In this example, NASA and USA refer to a specific organization and nation.Incorrect Explanation: Sorry, that’s not right! Remember, a proper noun is a specific, unique person, place, thing, or idea. Unlike common nouns, proper nouns are almost always capitalized.

For additional practice with common and proper nouns, check out our completely free practice on smashville247.net: Common and Proper Nouns.


Return to the top

Teacher’s Corner

While it’s true that common and proper nouns are a foundational grammar skill, the Common Core English Language Progressive Skills Chart shows that even elementary-level skills “require continued attention in higher grades as they are applied to increasingly sophisticated writing and speaking.”

For specific standards addressing common and proper nouns, check out the Common Core State Standards site!

smashville247.net’s common and proper nouns practice can be used for much more than homework! Our assessments can be used as pre-and post-tests to measure student progress. Our pre-made quizzes can be used as bell-ringers, exit tickets, and more!

In addition to our pre-made assessments, you can also use our assignments feature to create your own quizzes and assessments.

Summary on Common and Proper Nouns

Common nouns are general, non-specific people, places, things, or ideas.

Proper nouns are specific, concrete people, places, things, and ideas.

In writing, proper nouns generally provide the reader with a more clear, tangible image of what the author describes.

Common and proper nouns can be used in tandem with one another or separately. Be sure to check out our free grammar course for more common and proper noun practice.

You can also access over 3,400 free, high-quality questions that address nearly every grammatical concept.

See more: Dragon Ball Z: Why Did Super Buu Become Kid Buu Turn Into Kid Buu?: Dbz

Need help preparing for your Grammar exam?

*

smashville247.net has hundreds of grammar practice questions with detailed explanations to help you master concepts.