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Proper noun

A proper noun or proper name is a noun representing unique entities (such as London,Jupiter,John Hunter, orToyota), as distinguished from a 'common noun which describe a class of entities (such as city, planet, person or car). Proper nouns are not normally preceded by an article or other limiting modifier (such as any or some), and are used to denote a particular person, place, or object without regard to any descriptive meaning the word or phrase may have (for example, a town called "Newtown" may be, but does not necessarily have to be, a new [recently built] town).


In English and most other languages that use the Latin alphabet, proper nouns are usually capitalized. Languages differ in whether most elements of multiword proper nouns are capitalized (e.g., American English House of Representatives) or only the initial element (e.g., Slovenian Državni zbor 'National Assembly'). In German, nouns of all types are capitalized. In past centuries, orthographic practices in English, including noun capitalization, varied widely, with less standardization than today. Documents from the 18th century show some writers capitalizing all nouns and others capitalizing certain nouns based on varying ideas of their importance in the discussion. For example, the end (but not the beginning) of the Declaration of Independence (1776) and all of the Constitution (1787) show nearly all nouns capitalized, the Bill of Rights (1789) capitalizes a few common nouns but not most of them, and the Thirteenth Constitutional Amendment (1865) only capitalizes proper nouns. Today English orthography has been standardized to the point that capitalizing common nouns is considered formally incorrect outside of sentence-initial or title case contexts. Although informal writing often dismisses formal orthographic standards (by mutual consent of the communicators), an epistemological stance of orthographic "right and wrong" governs formal writing.

Today the meaning of proper noun capitalization is uniqueness within an implicit context, that is, it provides a name to an instance of a general type when the instance is unique within an implicit context. Most often the implicit context is "the whole world" or "the universe"; thus London, Jupiter, John Hunter, and Toyota are effortlessly understood as being cosmically unique; they derive their proper-noun status (and thus their capitalization) from that fact, and those properties are unequivocal (no one could argue with them). But in instances where a context shift is possible, and the context shift causes a shift from uniqueness to nonuniqueness, the capitalization or lowercasing decision may become a matter of perspective, as discussed below (see especially the examples under "Specific designators"). Sometimes the same word can function as both a common noun and a proper noun, depending on context. Two variants of this principle can be distinguished, although the distinction is blurred by real-world use of the labels to refer to instances of both types. They have no universally agreed names (that is, no standardized metalanguage), but the names "capitonym" and "specific designator" have some currency.

Specific designators

There are many words that are generally common nouns but that can easily "serve temporary proper noun duty" (or "contextual proper noun duty"). Some examples are agency, avenue, boulevard, box, building, bureau, case, chapter, city, class, college, day, edition, floor, grade, group, hospital, level, office, page, paragraph, part, phase, road, school, stage, step, street, type, university, week. The temporary proper noun duty occurs when the common noun is paired with a number or other word to create a name for a specific instance of an abstraction (that is, a specific case of a general type). It is then referred to as a "specific designator". For example:

  • Mary lives on the third floor of the main building. (common noun senses throughout)
  • Mary lives on Floor 3 of the Main Building. (same information content but recast cognitively as proper names. There is no etic difference except the cognitive one of the specificity that the capitalization imbues. It establishes an implicit sense that "within our commonly understood context [the building complex that we are standing in], the main building being referenced is the only main building. It is a unique object [as far as our context is concerned].)
  • My bookmark takes me to the main page of the English Wikipedia.
  • What is the proper name of that page?
  • It is the Main Page.
  • Sanjay lives on the beach road. [the road that runs along the beach]
  • Sanjay lives on Beach Road. [the specific road that is named with the capitalized proper name "Beach Road". It is a unique instance of a road in the world, although its proper name is unique only within our province. Our neighboring province also has a road named Beach Road.]
  • In 1947, the U.S. established the Central Intelligence Agency.
  • In 1947, the U.S. established a central intelligence agency to coordinate its various foreign intelligence efforts. It was named the Central Intelligence Agency.
  • India has a ministry of home affairs. It is called the Ministry of Home Affairs. (Within the context of India, it is the only ministry of home affairs, so you can name it by capitalizing the common noun. Within the context of planet Earth, it is a unique organization, but capitalizing the common noun is not a viable way to arrive at a unique proper name for it, because other countries also may use that same name for their unique organization. Another way to say the same idea is that within India's namespace, the naming convention provides sufficient uniqueness of the identifier, but with

From Yahoo Answers

Question:What is the proper noun that is a THING in the sentences below? 1. The boy sometimes told stories to Papa Grande in English. 2. The young boy called his parents Mama and Papa. 3. The boy's grandfather told stories to him and his brother , Enrique, in Spanish. 4. The boy grew up to become a famous Mexican American. 5. A beautiful library in Riverside, California, is named for him.

Answers:1. Pape Grande(nickname.. pet name?), English(language) 2. Mama, Papa (names in a way) 3. Enrique(name), Spanish(language) 4. Mexican American(background) 5. Riverside, California(state or stg..)

Question:what is a proper noun? 10 POINTS? What is the proper noun that is a THING in the sentences below? 1. The boy sometimes told stories to Papa Grande in English. 2. The young boy called his parents Mama and Papa. 3. The boy's grandfather told stories to him and his brother , Enrique, in Spanish. 4. The boy grew up to become a famous Mexican American. 5. A beautiful library in Riverside, California, is named for him.

Answers:Proper nouns are names of things that are capitalized. Thus, Papa Grande, English, Mama, Papa, Enrique, Spanish, Mexican American, and Riverside, California are all proper nouns.

Question:the song ideas shouldn't be made alrighty.

Answers:I'm too lazy to look through more than what im listening to now so most of them will probably be from Talib Kweli's Reflection Eternal. These songs all have Common nouns and if I remember correctly have proper nouns somewhere in them. Expansion Outro Eternalist The Blast All the Lonely People by Talib Kweli Theives In the Night by Black Star Big Brother Can't tell me nothing by Kanye West The People Chi City by Common Rock City by Royce Da 5'9

Question:It is like the word "heaven or Heaven in verse 1:8. Please state your view and reason for having such a view. I say this because in Revelations 21:1 the statement is made "and the sea will be no more". This sea is singular and not a proper noun and such is in the same translated Bibles that present "Seas" as a proper noun in Genesis 1:10.

Answers:Again, as with heaven, during the act of naming the word "Seas" is a proper noun, and so (according to the rules of English grammar) must be capitalized. Again, you will see, as in the case of Heaven and Man and Woman, that the 1611 King James Version predates this requirement of English grammar. The plural form is simple: God was not naming a single sea but all the seas, and he was naming them "Seas". Jim, http://www.bible-reviews.com

From Youtube

Proper nouns :This is only for a school project i had to do thats all!!!

Sorting Common and Proper Nouns :Segment Three of Herman's Chow-Down Nouns