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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


The Four Books of Sentences (Libri Quattuor Sententiarum) is a book of theology written by Peter Lombard in the twelfth century. It is a systematic compilation of theology, written around 1150; it derives its name from the sententiae or authoritative statements on biblical passages that it gathered together.

Origin and Characteristics

The Book of Sentences had its precursor in the glosses (an explanation or interpretation of a biblical text) by the masters who lectured using Saint Jerome's Latin translation of the Bible (the Vulgate). A gloss might concern syntax or grammar, or it might be on some difficult point of doctrine. These glosses, however, were not continuous, rather being placed between the lines or in the margins of the biblical text itself. Lombard went a step further, collecting texts from various sources (such as Scripture, Augustine of Hippo, and other Church Fathers) and compiling them into one coherent whole. In order to accomplish this, the Lombard had to address two tasks: first, that of devising an order for his material, because systematic theology had not yet been constituted as a discipline, and secondly, finding ways to reconcile doctrinal differences among his sources. Peter Abelard's Sic et Non provided crucial inspiration for the latter tasks.

The Lombard arranged his material from the Bible and the Church Fathers in four books, then subdivided this material further into chapters. Probably between 1223 and 1227, Alexander of Hales grouped the many chapters of the four books into a smaller number of "distinctions." In this form, the book was widely adopted as a theological textbook in the high and late Middle Ages (the 13th, 14th, and 15th centuries). A commentary on the Sentences was required of every master of theology, and was part of the examination system. At the end of lectures on the Lombard's work, a student could apply for bachelor status within the theology faculty.

The importance of the Sentences to medieval theology and philosophy lies to a significant extent in the overall framework that they provide to theological and philosophical discussion. All the great scholastic thinkers, such as Aquinas, Ockham, Bonaventura, and Scotus, wrote commentaries on the Sentences. But these works were not exactly commentaries, for the Sentences were really a compilation of sources, and Peter Lombard left many questions open, giving later scholars an opportunity to provide their own answers.

From Yahoo Answers

Question:In each sentence tell me which is the proper nouns and the common nouns. 1.the Agean Seas is located between Greece and Turkey. 2.The capital of the state of Texas is Austin. 3.The mountain range called the Alps is not only located in the country of Switzerland,but also in France,Germany,Austria,and Italy. 4.The largest exhibit of paintings and sketches by Vincent Van Gogh is on display in a museum in Amsterdam. 5.Beethoven,the renowned composer,was born in Bonn,Germany. 6.The subject of vampires is widely explored in books and in movies. 7.President Thomas Jefferson sent expeditions to explore the territory called the Louisiana Purchase. 8.The Trojan War is reputed to have started as the resuly of a beuty contest between the goddesses Minerca,Juno,and Venus. 9.Times Square is in the heart of the theatre district in New York. 10.The arenal Volcano erupts regularly in Costa Rica. 11.A flight on the Concorde will take you from New York to Paris in four hours.

Answers:Stop tryign to cheat and do your homework.

Question:What are the common nouns and proper nouns in these 10 problems? 13. Benjamin Franklin led a useful life. 14. His family lived in Boston. 15. His education came from books. 16. Ben started a newspaper and an almanac. 17. Ben also had a love for science. 18. Ben did many experiments and also invented a stove. 19. Ben organized a library that lent books to people. 20. He started what became the University of Pennsylvania. 21. Franklin was a statesman and lived in England and France. 22. My mom has read many books about this admirable man. I had half of them done, but I don't know if they are right or wrong. I appreciate for all the answers! Thank you! :]

Answers:13. Benjamin Franklin - PN, life - CN 14. family - CN, Boston - PN 15. education - CN, books - CN 16. Ben - PN, newspaper & almanac - CN 17. Ben - PN, love & science - CN 18. Ben - PN, experiments & stove - CN 19. Ben - PN, library & books & people - CN 20. University of Pennsylvania - PN 21. Franklin & England & France - PN, statesman - CN 22. mom & books & man - CN CN - Common Noun (a noun that is not capitalized) PN - Proper Noun (a noun that is capitalized)

Question:giving away 5 points for the best answer. must be correct. please answer by the end of the day. thanks a lot.

Answers:Bob ran to the store Sam brought the dog outside We rode our bikes to Florida Tara wanted a map of Ontario Danny is on his way to New Jersey

Question:I'm just a little confused with this first sentence. you have to fill in the BOLD with whatever noun and then the sentence has to make sense. how do i make sense of this??! The festive ABSTRACT NOUN of the Thanksgiving CONCRETE NOUN filled our CONCRETE NOUN. ??? so far i mean all i can think of is The festive FEELING of Thanksgiving DAY filled our HEARTS. ????

Answers:maybe The festive ambiance of the Thanksgiving feast filled our hearts.

From Youtube

French Slang Nouns :Common nouns used in everyday speech in France that foreigners should be able to understand. You can find these words in a good dictionary, but they are often missing from language learning materials. The words are: bagnole, caisse, bahut, fac, flotte, pige, cl bard, bouquin, bagarre, piaule, borne, fringues, clope, s che, potins, boulot. Standard French equivalents are given after the sample sentences. For more informal French & slang, please visit www.ielanguages.com