Proper Noun

What is a Proper Noun?

A proper noun is the naming word that distinctively names an individual member of a class to single it out from others of the same class.

Proper nouns typically begin with a capital letter; they include personal names, names of places, formal titles, etc., as are shown in the chart below:

Proper NamesClassification
Alice, John, Perterson, MikelPersonal names
Canada, Oslo, Sahara, White Hart LanePlace-names
Sergeant, Reverend, Sir, KnightFormal titles
the Bible, Great Expectations, Bill of RightsLiterary, Artistic or equivalent titles
Dr., Mr., Mrs., Dcn. Formal forms of address
English, Mandarin, Spanish, PolishLanguage
Vanguard News, Red Cross, Roman Catholic ChurchInstitutions, and Organizations
Superbowl, Easter, Christmas, Eyo festivalFestivals, and Events
March, WednesdayMonths and Days

The word “proper” is derived from the word “property” and has the meaning of “one’s own.” In contrast to common nounsOpens in new window, proper nouns are rarely encountered as plurals. Although there are occasion in which they may be used as such.

For Example:
  • Thanksgivings of the past.
  • A gift for both Alices.

In principle, proper nouns are not introduced by an indefinite article such as a or the. However, there are exceptions:

  • That musical player is a Sony.
  • This was not the Paris of her dreams.

One More Thing to Know

Proper adjectives are formed from proper nouns. Proper adjectives usually begin with a capital letter.

Proper NounProper Adjective
Important Hint  

Note that some proper nouns, especially place-names, may sometimes be taken concrete nouns, while others, such as days of the week, are considered abstract nouns.

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