common noun definition

Common Noun

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By Dhruv K. Mangukia

Common Noun

Definition of common noun

Common noun is the common name given to every person, place, animal or thing of the same class or kind.

Explanation of definition

Based on the definition, it can be concluded that common noun are those words which are used to refer to or address people, places, animals or things belonging to a specific group with shared or common characteristics.

Examples of words that are common noun

Words for peopleWords for placesWords for animalsWords for things
police officerchurchchickenbus
Some examples of words used as common noun

Examples of common noun in sentences

Carefully read the sentences written below:

  1. Brad is an actor.
  2. Judy is a judge.
  3. Steve is a lawyer.
  4. Joy is a doctor.
  5. London is a city.
  6. Heathrow is the busiest airport.
  7. Rambo is my pet dog.
  8. A dog is a man’s best friend.
  9. Barbie is my favorite doll.

Exercise 1: Find the proper nouns in the sentences mentioned above.

Explanation of the examples

In the above sentences, the words that are marked in blue are common nouns. Here’s the detailed explanation.

  1. In the first sentence actor is the common noun.
    • Here, although the sentence is talking about brad being an actor, he is not the only actor. There are other people who are also actors. For example, Tom Cruise, Amitabh Bachchan, etc.
  2. For sentence number 2, judge is the common noun.
    • There are many people who work as a judge, just like Judy.
  3. In example number 5, there are many cities in the world including London. Hence, city is a common noun.
  4. For example sentence number 7, a person could be have many other pet dogs including Rambo. Hence Rambo is the common noun.
  5. In sentence number 9, a person could be having many other dolls including Barbie. Hence, a doll is the common noun.

Same is true for all the other sentences. Here, we are not talking about or referring to a specific person, place or a thing.

Please read proper noun if you have any confusion.

Key points to remember about common noun

  • Common noun always refers to a group with similar characteristics or properties.
    • Examples of people: electrician, plumber, pilot, sailor, cricketer, astronaut, etc.
    • Examples of places: bathroom, bedroom, kitchen, etc.
    • Examples of animals: ant, pigeon, sparrow, crow, etc.
    • Examples of things: car, bike, bicycle, etc.
  • Common noun never refers to a specific person, place or a thing. That’s proper noun.
  • Do not capitalize the first letter of a common noun unless the sentence begins with it.
    • For example: That boy is riding a bicycle.
      • Here boy is a common noun and the sentence does not begins with it. In such cases, common nouns should not be capitalized.
    • Example 2: Pen is on the table.
      • Here pen is the common noun. Since the sentence begins with the word pen, the first letter of pen has to be written in capital.
  • Common nouns are capitalized only when they are written as a part of proper noun.
    • For example: Joe Biden is the 46th president of the United States and a fantastic leader.
      • Here, president is the common noun which is not a part of the proper noun.
    • Example 2: President Joe Biden of the United States is a fantastic leader.
      • Here president is capitalized for 2 reasons. Firstly, the sentence begins with the word. Secondly, president here is a part of the proper noun Joe Biden.
    • Example 3: The United States has a fantastic leader in form of President Joe Biden.
      • Here also, president is associated with Joe Biden and hence, in this case it’s a proper noun.

Remember: Grammar is a subject that needs practice. You need to practice more sentences to get a clear understanding of the concepts of grammar.

How to identify a common noun in a sentence?

  • The first thing is that you should be able to identify nouns. If you have any difficulty in that, please click the link and go through the chapter.
  • Once you have identified a noun, you need to ask this question:
    • Does this noun names a specific person, place or a thing?
    • Or does it refers to a group of people, places or things with shared characteristics or properties?
  • After identifying the common noun, confirm it by asking the question “is it a part of proper noun?”
  • Do not get confused if the sentence begins with a common noun. In such cases, first letter is always upper case.

Practice exercise 2

Identify the common nouns in the following sentences.

  1. Every student has a dictionary.
  2. There’s a book for everyone.
  3. Here’s a pen for you.
  4. Bill hates apples.
  5. Joy likes mangoes.
  6. I like reading novels.
  7. My father is an engineer.
  8. My mother is a nurse.
  9. There are many cows in the dairy farm.
  10. There’s a horse in the stable.
  11. He is a very good swimmer.
  12. Rohan is a gardener.
  13. The camel has 2 humps.
  14. Mount Everest is the tallest mountain.
  15. The elephant has big ears.
  16. This is a wooden chair.
  17. Pepsi is my favorite drink.
  18. I met some people at the beach.
  19. I don’t like to see the fountains.
  20. He sat on the table.
  21. The theatre is big.
  22. The auditorium is too small for the crowd.
  23. Monday is one of the days in a week.
  24. There are 52 weeks in a year.
  25. I have a laptop.
  26. Kids are smarter than their parents.
  27. Of all the rivers in India, Ganges is the holiest.
  28. Amazon is the longest river.
  29. My uncle is a doctor.
  30. My aunt is a painter.
  31. My teacher is an astronaut.
  32. My brother is a soldier.
  33. My sister is a diver.
  34. Rahul is a sailor.

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You Tube channel (English): English Grammar

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