Common noun definition: A common noun is any person, place or thing. A common noun refers to any thing or concept that is not particular or specific.
What is a Common Noun?
What are common nouns? A common noun is any noun that does not name anything specific. Therefore, a common noun is any person, place, or thing but not the particular names of those people, places, or things. Common nouns are not capitalized (unless they begin a sentence).
Examples of Common Nouns:
These examples are common nouns because they name a person, place, and thing, respectively, but they do not give a specific name to those entities.
Common nouns may be specific or plural.
Examples of Plural Common Nouns:
Common Nouns and Proper Nouns
There are a few key differences between common and proper nouns. A common noun does not give a specific name to an entity whereas a proper noun specifically names an entity. Proper nouns are always capitalized.
Common Noun Examples / Proper Noun Examples:
Modifying Common Nouns
Common nouns can be modified with other parts of speech to make them more specific or particular.
Adjectives modify common nouns to describe what kind, which one, how many, and how much.
Examples of adjectives modifying common nouns:
- smart girl
- populated city
- friendly dog
In these examples each adjective modifies the common nouns to make them more specific. Which girl? The smart girl. What kind of city? A populated city? What kind of dog? The friendly dog.
Prepositional phrases can modify common nouns to describe which one or what kind.
Examples of prepositional phrases modifying common nouns:
- the girl in my class
- the city by the lake
- the dog near the bench
In these examples each prepositional phrase modifies the common nouns to make them more specific. Which girl? The girl in my class. Which city? The city by the lake. Which dog? The dog near the bench.
Relative clauses can modify common nouns to make them more specific or particular.
- The girl who is in my class
- The city that is by the lake
- The dog that is near the bench
In these examples each relative clause modifies the common nouns to make them more specific. Which girl? The girl who is in my class. Which city? The city that is by the lake. Which dog? The dog that is near the bench.
Common Nouns List
Here is a list of different categories of common nouns.
An abstract noun is an idea, quality, state, or condition that is not concrete.
A collective noun refers to an entire group or class composed of individual members.
A compound noun is a noun that consists of more than one noun.
A concrete noun is a noun that is identifiable through touch, taste, sight, hearing, or smell.
A countable noun is noun that refers to something that can be physically counted.
A non-countable noun is noun that refers to something that cannot be physically counted.
A gender-specific noun is noun that refers to something that is specifically masculine or feminine.
A verbal noun is noun that originates from a verb.
Exercises With Common Nouns
Identify the common nouns in the following sentences.
- The dad read the book to his daughter.
- The children decorated their table for the holiday.
- The parade starts on our street.
- My mom made spaghetti for dinner.
- The bread smelled wonderful.
- I need to collect the prize for my science project.
Summary: What are Common Nouns?
Define common noun: A common noun,
- is any person, place, or thing
- is not specific unless modified with other parts of speech
- is not capitalized unless it starts a sentence
- can be concrete or abstract
See answers below.
- dad, book, daughter
- children, table, holiday
- parade, street
- mom, spaghetti, dinner
- prize, project