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A common noun is the generic name for a person, place, or thing in a class or group. It is used to name general items rather than specific ones. Let us learn more about common noun through this article.
What is Common Noun?
A noun is a word that names a person, animal, place, thing, or idea. All nouns are further classified as a proper or common noun. Common nouns refer to terms that are used to name people, places, animals, birds, , objects, ideas etc. Most of the things we see around us fall under this type of noun.
How can we differentiate between a common noun and a proper noun?
A common noun is a general way of classifying something, and a proper noun is a specific way of classifying something. For example, think of a cat named Tom. Here cat is a common noun whereas Tom comes under proper noun.
Common nouns are not usually capitalized, unless they begin a sentence, whereas proper nouns are normally capitalized. This is the easiest way to distinguish between a proper and common noun. These nouns are only capitalized at the start of a sentence
Usage of Common Nouns
Common nouns are used to denote a general class of objects or a concept. They can be concrete (perceptible to the senses), abstract (involving general ideas or qualities), or collective (referring to a group or collection). These nouns are used when describing something broad or ambiguous.
Let us consider the following examples:
A girl is crossing the street – Here girl is a common noun because it doesn’t speak about anything specific.
Sara is crossing the street – Here Sara is a proper noun because her name has been specifically mentioned.
Common nouns can occupy almost any role of a noun in a sentence: subject, direct object, indirect object, objective complement, predicate nominative, object of a preposition, or appositive.
Examples of Common Nouns
Let us have a look at some examples of common nouns belonging to various categories:
Common nouns referring to animals and birds
Common nouns referring to human beings
Common nouns referring to places
Common nouns referring to things
Common nouns referring to ideas
Identifying Common Nouns
The following steps will help identify common nouns in a sentence.
- Find the nouns in the sentence. Do not get confused between noun and adjective.
- Is the noun capitalized? It is a proper noun (unless it begins a sentence or is part of a title).
- Does the noun refer to any one of a number of similar items? It is a common noun.
- Does the noun begin with a lowercase letter? It is a common noun.
Now that we have learnt about common nouns, let us test our knowledge about it. Try to find the common noun in the following sentences:
- I love the coffee shop next to the park.
- I met Steve yesterday at the bus stop.
- My cat Tom is extremely playful.
- State laws are passed by the legislature.
- Lampshades come in many different colors and shapes.
- They say that diamonds are a girl’s best friend.
- A girl rang the doorbell this afternoon.
- George Washington was the first president of the United States.
- My mother is an actress.
- I walk to school daily.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is the difference between proper noun and common noun?
Proper nouns are used to denote something specific whereas common nouns denote any noun in general.
Are all capitalized nouns considered as proper nouns?
No, if a sentence begins with a common noun then it will be capitalized since the first word of every sentence should be capitalized.
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