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A noun is a word used to name a person, animal, place, thing, or an abstract idea. Nouns are usually the first words which small children learn.[1] The bold words in the following sentence are all nouns:

"Jesus will return to set up His kingdom on Earth."

A proper noun is a name given to a person, place or company or title. "Jesus" is a propper noun, as is the Book of Genesis. Abraham is a proper noun as is the First United Methodist Church. In English, proper nouns are capitalized. A very clear example of proper nouns vs., common nouns is the word "god". God, the Christian Diety by name is a propper noun and is capped. "god" the concept of diety is not a proper noun. Consider this sentence: "The only true god is God".

In English, most, capitalized words are also proper nouns. The most common exception is the word "I" which is a pronoun. That rule varies from language to language; for example, German capitalizes all nouns, while many writing systems have no concept of capitalization.

In many languages like Russian, Hebrew, Greek and Latin nouns have different forms in different cases to show their relationships to other words in the sentence.


  1. The Writing Centre, University of Ottawa