A proper noun is a common discussion in every elementary school and high school English grammar textbook. Like many languages, English is a language in which there are nouns that are more important than other ones in a sentence. Some nouns are written with all lowercase letters. However, some of the words in the English language have the first letter of them capitalized. These are considered proper words: and when a noun is capitalized in this, it is called a proper noun. Keep reading to learn more about proper nouns, how to identify proper nouns, and how to use them in a sentence.
A proper noun is usually understood as a noun that is capitalized. In order to be a proper noun, like any other noun, the word must be a person, place, thing, or idea. These nouns, no matter where they are in the sentence, have their first letter capitalized. Notice that when at the beginning of a sentence, it does not matter whether or not the noun is proper: it is capitalized anyway. This is exactly why you have to learn exactly which words are proper nouns by memorization
Typically, the first proper nouns that students can properly understand are the ones we use in everyday life to describe time. These include the seven days of the week (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and so on) and the months of the year (January, February, March, and so on).
Know that countries, states, and cities are also proper nouns. For example, one could write that they live in Boston, Massachusetts, USA. In fact, the name of the street, such as Massachusetts Avenue, is also capitalized because it is a proper noun.
While we are at it, this person’s name should also be capitalized, because it is a proper noun, too. Make sure that “Mr.” is capitalized in front of Joe Smith, too! Names are proper nouns that are capitalized for people, names of companies, and names of specific brand names.
Don’t make the mistake of confusing German and English grammar. In German, all nouns are capitalized, no matter if they are proper or not. In English, capitalization makes a difference in the meaning of the word. Also know that what the English language considers proper is not universal: many languages do not capitalize the days of the week or the months of the year, for example. The rules for English Grammar have to be learned separately from other linguistic rules for other languages.
Here are some examples that feature proper nouns, with the proper noun in parentheses after the sentence.
Remember, however, that just because it is capitalized doesn’t mean it is a proper noun. Look at the following examples to see capitalized words that are not proper nouns. The explanations are in parentheses.
Also, be sure to remember that “I” is always capitalized – it is a proper pronoun.
Some words can be proper nouns sometimes, and other times, not: “park” is not necessarily a proper noun, but “Yellowstone National Park” certainly is, because it is a specific place. For more information about proper nouns, speak to your teacher for definitions, examples, and practice problems.