NOUNS – Common and Proper Nouns

Common Nouns

1) A noun is a word used to identify any of a class of people, places, or things (common noun), or to name a particular one of these (proper noun).

Example: You can buy ​coffee ​at ​Starbucks.

2) A common noun is a noun denoting a class of objects or a concept as opposed to a particular individual.

Example: There was a ​sofa, ​two ​chairs ​, and a ​wardrobe ​in the ​room.

Note that common nouns are ​general ​names. Thus, they are not capitalized unless they begin a sentence or are part of a title.


  • Capitals ​of the countries are usually very large cities.
  • London is the ​ capital ​ of Great Britain.

Most of the time, we add ​-s ​to singular nouns to indicate plurality.

Examples: flower – flowers, dog – dogs

If the singular noun ends in ​-s, -ss, -sh, -ch, -x, -z, -o, add ​-es ​to make it plural.

Examples: bus – buses, watch – watches, box – boxes, potato – potatoes

If the singular noun ends in ​-y, change ​-y ​into ​-i ​and add ​-es ​to make it plural.

Examples: baby – babies

If the singular noun ends in ​-f ​or ​-fe, ​-f ​is often changed into ​-ve ​before adding ​-s ​to make it plural.

Examples: life – lives, wolf – wolves ​(but: belief – beliefs, chef – chefs)

Some nouns do not follow any of the rules explained earlier. They are irregular. Here are the
most common irregular nouns.




Guided Exercise

Short Story Dialogue

– I’m going grocery shopping in a bit. Could I get you anything?
– I think we’re running out of milk. You should buy that. And I don’t mind some cookies or candies.
– OK, I’ll put it on my list. Anything else?
– You can look up in the fridge and just buy whatever you feel like we need. Oh, and
don’t forget to grab the newspaper on your way back home. I’d really appreciate that!
– Roger! (=OK!/Understood!)

✍️ Exercise – Common nouns

Proper Nouns

1) A noun is a word used to identify any of a class of people, places, or things (common noun), or to name a particular one of these (proper noun).

Example: You can buy ​coffee ​at ​Starbucks.

2) A proper noun is a noun that refers to a unique entity, such as (names, names of cities, planets, corporations, etc.) as distinguished from a common noun, which usually refers to a class of entities.

Example: London is the ​ capital ​ of Great Britain.

Note that proper nouns are unique names. Thus, they are capitalized.

Example: Olivia wants to travel around Europe next year.

We should also capitalize:
a) festivals.
Example: Christmas and Thanksgiving are my two favourite holidays!

b) people’s titles.
Example: Everything depends on President Trump and his decisions.

c) the names of books, films, plays, paintings. We use capital letters for the nouns, adjectives, and verbs in the titles.

Example: I’ve just finished reading ‘The Old Man and the Sea’.

Sometimes we use a person’s name to refer to something they have created.


  • We were listening to Mozart the other day.
  • I’m reading an Iris Murdoch now

When you use a word denoting a family member (e.g. mom, dad, uncle), capitalize it only if the word is being used exactly as you would use a name, i.e. if you were addressing the person directly. If the word is not being used as a name, it is not capitalized.


  • Please ask Dad if he can buy wine on his way home.
  • Is your dad coming over for dinner?


  • Asia is one of the continents of the world. (proper noun)
  • I don’t really like Asian food. (proper adjective)

Guided Exercise

Short Story Dialogue

Emma, what did you get for Christmas?
– My mom and dad got me a Polaroid! I was beyond happy!
– Wow! That’s such a cool gift!
– Yeah, I know! And what did you get?
– My parents bought me a trip to New York for 5 days. I’ve never been to the East
Coast so I’m looking forward to it. I’ll go there in summer though.
– That’s amazing! Don’t forget to take photos!

✍️ Exercise – Proper nouns