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

difference between ultrasonic and ultrasoundsliding friction definitionarchaeologist and anthropologistdifference between kayak and canoewhat is moneransappositive clauseswhat does edt mean time zoneswhat is micrometer least countexamples of puns in literatureisle aisleowners equity balance sheetabsolute viscosity definitionwhat are chemotrophsmacro and micronutrients definitionphd and doctorate differencedifference between melatonin and melanincushing disease and cushing syndromedifference between ionic and covalentbelgian malinois heightcompare amplitude modulation and frequency modulationliteral language example sentencesthe difference between lime and lemoncompare amplitude modulation and frequency modulationconfessional poemdefinition of rationalistindian flag colours meaningquantity adjectivesaromatic and aliphatic hydrocarbonsprophase 2 diagrampnp and npn transistorgerund phrase definitionchemical formula nitratedefine chamferwhy amorphous solids are called supercooled liquidsa concave lens always forms an image which iscult and religion differencesfeatures of cold blooded animalswhat is herbivores carnivores and omnivoressimilarities between balanced and unbalanced forceswhat is the difference between thermosetting and thermoplasticdistinguish mitosis from meiosisis bicarbonate of soda the same as bread sodaexamples of positive economics and normative economicssubstitute guar gum for xanthan gumalligator snout shapepsychoanalytic therapy goalsalligator vs crocodile differencesdefine enthalpy and entropykinds of imagery in literaturedifference between wheat and barley plantsdefinition cuddlingdifference between jealousy and envyovertones harmonicsallegorical symbolismshort summary of hansel and greteldefinition of boiling point and melting pointdyspnea orthopneadifference between latte and flat whitetelescope microscopeare numbers adjectivescane molasses vs blackstrap molassesdifference between discrimination and stereotypecompare and contrast evaporation and boilingtensile strength yield strength differencedifferences between modernism and postmodernismwhat is the difference between pleurisy and pneumoniacomparison between analog and digital multimeterdifferences between hepatitis abcd and ewhat is satire in dramasummative assessment meaningmorphology and syntaxwhat is the difference between homonyms and homophonesdefinition of catabolicdefine modulus of rigidityphysical properties alkanesdifference between agnostic and atheistcaramel or butterscotchdifference between bulimia and anorexiakinetic friction vs static frictioncommon adages and proverbswhat is binary fissiondifference between metonymy and synecdocheparis hilton maids