How Is A Noun A Common Noun: 7 Facts You Should Know


In this article with the aid of many noun and common noun examples and various important facts, we are going to find the answer for the question, ‘how is a noun a common noun?’

A noun is one of the parts of speech in English grammar that is used to name a person, animal, place or a thing. Out of the various kinds of noun, common noun is one of the most important kinds. A common noun in brief can be called as an unspecific noun or a noun which is not particular.

Given below are a few sentences which have common nouns in them.

  • 1. The park which is near my house is quite small but it is very well maintained.
  • 2. Many students have still not collected their books.
  • 3. Vihan has a dog and a cat with him.
  • 4. Who wrote this letter to the manager?
  • 5. Coimbatore is one of the biggest cities in our state, Tamil Nadu.
  • 6. We have bought a new table and a chair for my sister’s study room.

All italicized words in the above sentences belong to the part of speech ‘noun’ as they are used for the purpose of naming. All the italicized nouns belong to the kind ‘common noun’. We will see below, why and how they are common nouns.

Can a noun be common?

The answer to this question is surely a yes. A noun definitely can be common.

Example: My sister is studying in the school which is near the shopping mall.

‘Sister’, ‘school’ and ‘shopping mall’ are the nouns utilized in the above sentence. Well, all the three nouns are common as they do not tell us the particular name of the sister (person), the school (place) and the shopping mall (place).

Example: The file has been submitted to the client by the team leader.

‘File’, ‘client’ and ‘team leader’ are the nouns utilized in the above sentence and all the three nouns are common nouns. ‘File’ names an unspecific thing, ‘client’ refers to a person, but does not tell the particular name of the client, and ‘team leader’ is the common name given to the position and it does not tell the specific name of the person who is in the position of the team leader.

Hence, a noun can obviously be common.

When is a noun common?

A noun is common when it is not specific or particular. A noun is common when it gives a common name (same name) to each and every person or thing belonging to the same class.  

Example: Ruhi was hiding behind the mango tree when we were playing.

‘Ruhi’ and ‘mango tree’ are the nouns in this sentence and they are not common nouns as they are specific. Yes, ‘Ruhi’ and ‘mango tree’ are proper nouns as ‘Ruhi’ tells the name of a particular girl and ‘mango tree’ tells us the name of a specific tree. Hence, they are not common nouns.

Example: The girl was standing behind the tree when we were playing.

The nouns used in this sentence are ‘girl’ and ‘tree’.  Unlike the previous example, these nouns are common nouns as they do not specifically tell us the name of the girl and the name of the tree. ‘Girl’ is a common name given to any person belonging to the female gender and ‘tree’ is a common name given to any tree. Hence, they are common nouns.

Thus, a noun is common when it does not specify the name of any particular person, animal, place or an object.

how is a noun a common
How Is A Noun A Common Noun Examples

How to use common noun?

Common nouns must be used to denote or name non-specific entities. Common nouns also must not start with capital letters, as only proper nouns start with a capital letter as they refer to a specific person, place or thing. But however, there are certain cases, where proper nouns can be utilized as common nouns.

Example: All the students are asked to submit the notebooks on the table.

The nouns in this sentence are ‘students’, ‘notebooks’ and ‘table’. All the three nouns are common nouns and so they do not begin with a common letter. ‘Students’ refer to many people and hence it is unspecific. ‘Notebooks’ and ‘table’ too refer to common unspecific objects and hence they are regarded as common nouns.

Example: Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Sachin Tendulkar are my all time favorite cricketers.

The common noun used in this sentence is ‘cricketers’ as it refers to non-specific people who play cricket and it also does not start with a capital letter. While ‘Mahendra Singh Dhoni’ and ‘Sachin Tendulkar’ in this sentence are the proper nouns as they refer to specific cricketers (names of cricketers).

Example: Nihal is the Mahendra Singh Dhoni of our class.

In this sentence, ‘Mahendra Singh Dhoni’ is used as a common noun. Though ‘Mahendra Singh Dhoni’ tells the specific name of a cricketer, here in this sentence it is used to indicate to us that Nihal is the best cricketer (Mahendra Singh Dhoni) of our class. Hence, here it is functioning as a common noun and not as proper noun.

Thus common nouns must be used in order to refer to common things and they should start with a small letter such as boy, girl, park, school, table, cat, television etc..

When to use common noun?

Common nouns are used when we have to refer to a class of person, thing, animal or a place.

Example: The flowers in the garden are very colorful and beautiful.

‘Flowers’ and ‘garden’ are the common nouns utilized in this sentence. ‘Flowers’ is a common noun as it does not tell us the name of any particular flower (like rose, sunflower, lotus etc..) but it refers to the class of flowers (thing) on the whole. ‘Garden’ is again a common noun here as it just refers to a common place where flowers are grown and does not tell us the specific name of the particular garden.

Example: The shops in this city are less expensive when compared to ours.

‘Shops’ and ‘city’ are the common nouns in this sentence. ‘Shops’ is a common noun because it does not tell us the name of any specific shop but it refers to all the shops is common and general (place). ‘City’ is again a common noun here as it does not tell us any particular city’s name (like Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai etc..)but refers to an unspecific city (place).

Common nouns are utilized when you need to name a common or a general person, thing, place, animal and so on.

Where to use common noun?

Common noun is used when you have to name an unspecific person, thing, place or an animal. When the common name of a class of person, place or thing has to be denoted, then common nouns are used at these places.

Example: She will be arriving at the airport very soon.

‘Airport’ is a common noun as it is the general or the common name given to a place where flights land and take off. Since the particular name of the airport is not mentioned in the above sentence, ‘airport’ is a common noun.

Example: She is an amazing dancer who has won trophies in various competitions.

‘Dancer’ and ‘competitions’ are the common nouns in this sentence. ‘Dancer’ tells us the general name of a class of people who dance and not the particular name of the person and similarly ‘competitions’ also does not tell the specific names of the competitions that person has won trophies in.

Thus common nouns are utilized at places where you have to name a class of people, or objects etc.

Why to use common noun?

If there are no common names we cannot give the generic names to the class of people, places, things or animals. Common nouns are very necessary if we do not know the specific name of a person, place, thing, or an animal, otherwise we would never be able to name them.

Example: The kid hid the key under the bed in my room.

‘Kid’, ‘key’, ‘bed’ and ‘room’ are the common names utilized in this sentence. ‘Kid’ here is a common noun as it does not tell the name of the kid. ‘Key’ is the generic name given to an object. ‘Bed’ also refers to an unspecific object. ‘Room’ is yet another common noun in the above sentence as it does not give any particular name of the room (place).

Example: My children have never been to this city before.

The common nouns used in the above sentence are ‘children’ and ‘city’. ‘Children’ is the name given to a class of people who belong to a young age. ‘City’ is the common name given to a place as it does not tell us the specific name of the city such as Chennai, Delhi, Bangalore etc…

Conclusion

Thus from this article we understood that a noun can be a common noun when they are unspecific. Common nouns are used to denote or name people, places, animals, things, or objects that are not particular but are general and common. From the examples we also got to know common nouns can be either singular or plural based on the grammatical number of the person, place or object.

Sowndharya Jagadeeswaran

Hi... I am Sowndharya Jagadeeswaran, a university rank holder in M.A. English Literature. I have also done my master's in Business Administration. Inquisitive as I am, my interest in action-oriented research helped me publish research papers in reputed journals. Now, as a career, I am an instructor where I teach young and adorable students the intricate technicalities of Public Speaking and Creative Writing. I also enjoy writing articles on topics I specialize and research in. You can connect with me through LinkedIn.-https://www.linkedin.com/in/sowndharya-j-972378233

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