Difference Between Common Nouns and Proper Nouns

Main Difference – Common Nouns vs. Proper Nouns

A noun is one of the most important parts of a sentence. Nouns identify people, animals, places, things or ideas. Every noun can be categorized further as common or proper nouns.  The main difference between a common noun and a proper noun is that proper nouns indicate a specific name for an individual, place or an organization while common nouns denote a class of objects rather than an individual name.

What is a Common Noun

Common nouns name people, things, places, or ideas that are specific. Common nouns are everywhere, and we see them everywhere even if we do not realize it. Look at the picture below and identify the common nouns you can observe.

Difference Between Common and Proper Nouns

The common nouns you can see in the picture are book, dog, girl, umbrella, grass, pen, mug, balloon, lamp, birds, letters, sun, table and drops of water.

Note that Sun can be used either as a common noun or a proper noun, depending on the context.

Always keep in mind that you must not start a common noun in capital unless it is at the beginning of the sentence.

What is a Proper Noun

Proper nouns are nouns that refer to specific people, places or things. Names of people, people, organizations, and objects fall into this category of proper nouns. Proper nouns always begin with a capital letter. Here are some examples of proper nouns:

Harry Potter, Volkswagen,  Justin Bieber, Rome, Heidi, Mr. Dias,  Australia, Walmart,  Levis

Remember that proper noun can have more than one word. Ex: The Library of Congress, Golden State Bridge, Norma Jeane Mortenson, Charlie Chaplin, etc.

What is the Difference Between Common Nouns and Proper Nouns

The table below will give you a clear idea of the difference between common nouns and proper nouns.

  Common Nouns

Proper Nouns


Harper Lee, Jane Austen,


France, Japan, India


January, February, March


Audi, Peugeot, Volkswagen

Every proper noun has an equivalent common noun, but this does not mean that every common noun has a proper noun. For example, dust is a common noun, but there is only one kind of dust. This can be elaborated further through some more examples.

Example 1:

Proper Noun: Mary was reading Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Common Noun: That girl was reading a book.

Example 2:

Proper Noun: In Sri Lanka, capital punishment is not legal.

Common Noun: In the country that I live, capital punishment is not legal.

Example 3:

Proper Noun: Jean made Earl Grey.

Common Noun: My friend made my favourite tea.

The Difference that exists between Common nouns and Proper nouns can be summarized as follows.


Common Nouns: Common nouns indicate a class of a person, place or thing.

Proper Nouns: Proper nouns indicate a specific name of a person, place or things.

Capital letter:

Common Nouns: Common nouns only start with a capital letter if it is at the beginning of a sentence. 

Proper Nouns: Proper nouns always start with a capital letter.


Common Nouns: Every common noun does not have a proper noun equivalent.

Proper Nouns: Every proper noun has an equivalent common noun. 

About the Author: admin

Related pages

definition parenchymascientific names of tulsiwhy are electron microscopes better than light microscopesdifference between reciprocating and centrifugal pumprubella and rubeolaconstructive interference wavesdifference between a lemon and a limefunctions of haemoglobinwhat is assonance exampledifferent between lemon and limeexplain the difference between assimilation and accommodationwhat is the difference between a colloid and a solutionatheist typesreflector telescope diagramdifference between figurative and literalwhy zener diode is heavily dopedwhat happens during prophase 2allylic positiondifference between american rottweiler german rottweilersubtraction of vectors graphicallycontactor vs relayprotostomes deuterostomeswhat is a closed syllableenjambment poemthermoset and thermoplasticdefine autosomal chromosomedidactic example sentenceconstructive and destructive interference definitionthe difference between a llama and an alpacafootnotes and endnotes apawhat is the difference between tone and mood in literaturee coli klebsielladefine leukocytosisdifference between anime and cartoonsexamples of activity based costingwhat is the function of microfilamentsdefinition suspension chemistrywhat is the moral lesson of cinderella storydifference between ultrasound and xraywhen was pluto not a planet anymoreexamples of allomorphs in englishflagella cilia5 examples of concrete nounsdifference between electron proton and neutrondifference between chlorophyll and chloroplastdefine bacteriostasischamfered edge mirrorwhat is third person omniscient narrationmercy versus gracedefinition of retardation in physicssardonic defineillicit versus elicitwhat is the difference between ancillary and auxiliarydefinition of unicellular organismconscious mind vs subconscious mindmoral etiquettemsc and ma differenceatmospheric barometric pressurewhat is double entendre meannecessity is the mother of invention moral storywhere is ribose foundessential & non-essential amino acidswhat is conservation of linear momentumwhat is the difference between a burglary and a robberyyogurt vs kefirthe difference between colloids and suspensionsambient barometric pressuredifference between leukocytosis and leukopeniadifference between public servant and civil servantinterpol acronymproperties of ldpe and hdpeunit of permeability of free spacewhat the difference between mitosis and meiosisprecious stones vs semi precious stonesfriendly flirtingvelocity falling objectexamples of finite and nonfinite verbsvanitymeaning