What are proper nouns and common nouns?
Proper nouns are the names of special people, places, or things. Common nouns are the names of general people, places, or things.
Compare these sentences.
Ex: Tomorrow, I’m going to the park. = common noun
Ex: Tomorrow, I’m going to Central Park. = proper noun
Ex: I met a friend at a coffee shop yesterday. = common nouns
Ex: I met Carl at Starbucks yesterday. = proper nouns
The first letter of a proper noun is capitalized.
Ex: park, city, musician, movie = common nouns
Ex: Central Park, New York, Freddy Mercury, Ghostbusters = proper nouns
Some special examples to look out for.
1. Some companies and products use special capitalization.
Ex: I bought an iPhone recently. = the “i” is always small.
Ex: Coca-Cola is really sweet. = both “C”s are capitalized
Ex: Let’s go to IKEA tomorrow. = IKEA is all caps.
Ex: Do you use LinkedIn? = The “L” and “I” are both captilized.
(There are lots of examples like this, so when in doubt, Google it.)
2. Words like “mom” and “dad” are capitalized when you are talking to the person. They are not capitalized when you are talking about the person.
Ex: Hey, Dad! Let’s get tacos!
Ex: My dad loves tacos.
3. Capitalize days and months but not seasons. This is a common mistake for many people, myself included. (This is a very silly rule.)
Ex: On Saturday, we are going to have a party.
Ex: My birthday is in January.
Ex: I’m not a fan of winter.
4. Capitalize key words in titles
Ex: Sub: Accounting Meeting Request = email subject
Ex: Company Relocates to New City = news title – only key words are capitalized
5. Capitalize abbreviations
Ex: Let’s watch some television.
Ex: Let’s watch some TV.
For more on abbreviations, see my post here.
Like what you see? Did I leave anything out? Let’s talk about it.