When Is a Noun a Proper Noun? 13 Facts You Should Know


A noun helps us classify and identify people, places and things. In this article we’re going to look deeper into proper nouns and answer the question “when is a noun a proper noun?”.

A proper noun is the official name given to a certain place, object or person.

Following are thirteen facts about proper nouns along with helpful examples that will aid us with a better understanding of the concept.

1.    Can a noun be a proper noun?

Yes, a noun can be a proper noun.

All proper nouns are nouns, but, not all nouns are proper nouns.

For Example- My pet cat’s name is Bella.

In this case, “Bella” is a proper noun, but the word “pet”, or even “cat”, both are not proper nouns but in fact are common nouns.

2.    What is not proper noun?

Any object, place or person that doesn’t have an official name is not a proper noun.

Such nouns are known as common nouns since they are usually commonly known universal terms.

Certain possessive nouns, determiners, collective nouns and even pronouns are not proper nouns.

For Example- We all went to my friend Riya’s house to see the hive of bees that had collected outside her window.

  • In this case, “we” and “her” are both pronouns.
  • “Riya” is a proper noun.
  • The ‘-s’ attached at the end of the name ‘Riya’, also makes it a possessive noun.
  • The word “my” is a determiner as well as a possessive adjective
  • “Bees” is a common noun.
  • The word “hive” from the term “hive of bees” is a collective noun.
  • The words “house”, “friend” and “window” are common nouns.

3.    Do nouns have to be capitalized?

Not all nouns need to be capitalized.

However, all proper nouns need to be capitalized since those specific names belong to only one particular object, person or place.

For Example- We will be visiting a park named Rose Manor.

  • In this case, the word “park” is a common noun, hence it has not been capitalised.
  • On the other hand, “Rose Manor” is the name give to the park, therefore, both the words in the name have been capitalised.

4.    Is “place” a proper noun?

The word “place” in itself is not a proper noun. It’s a common noun.

However, if a place has an official name, then that name is a proper noun.

For Example- Mumbai is a pretty expensive place to live in.

In this case, “Mumbai” is a proper noun, but “place”, as mentioned above, is a common noun.

5.    Is “person” a proper noun?

The word “person” in itself is not a proper noun. It’s a common noun.

However, if a person has an official name, then that name is a proper noun.

For Example- Anthony is the most fun person I know.

In this case, “Anthony” is a proper noun, but “person”, as mentioned above, is a common noun.

6.    Is “object” a proper noun?

The word “object” in itself is not a proper noun. It’s a common noun.

However, if an object has an official name, then that name is a proper noun.

For Example- This painting is called the Mona Lisa.

In this case, the name “Mona Lisa” is a proper noun. But the word “painting” as mentioned above is a common noun.

7.    Is “I” a proper noun?

The word “I” in itself is not a proper noun. It’s a pronoun.

However, the person referring to themselves as “I”, their name would be considered a proper noun.

For Example- My name is Anna. I am twenty years old.

In this case, “Anna” is a proper noun, but “I”, as mentioned above, is a pronoun.

8.    Is “you” a proper noun?

The word “you” in itself is not a proper noun. It’s a pronoun.

However, the person being referred to as “you”, their name would be considered a proper noun.

For Example- Hey, Harry! Would you like a piece of cake?

In this case, “Harry” is a proper noun, but “you”, as mentioned above, is a pronoun.

9.    Is “my” a proper noun?

The word “my” in itself is not a proper noun. It’s a determiner or could also be considered as a possessive adjective.

The word “my” determines possession of something.

For Example- I am Tina and this is my presentation.

In this case, “Tina” is the proper noun, and the word “my” determines Tina’s possession of her presentation.

10. Is “me” a proper noun?

The word “me” in itself is not a proper noun. It’s a pronoun.

However, the person referring to themselves as “me”, their name would be considered a proper noun.

For Example- Hello, my name is Tony. Could you get me a glass of water?

In this case, “Tony” is a proper noun, but “me”, as mentioned above, is a pronoun.

11. Is “we” a proper noun?

The word “we” in itself is not a proper noun. It’s a pronoun.

However, the names of the people in the group being referred to as “we” would be considered proper nouns.

For Example- Our names are Leah, Mark and Dave. We would like to enroll for this class.

In this case, “Leah”, “Mark” and “Dave” are proper nouns, but “we”, as mentioned above, is a pronoun.

12. Is “she” a proper noun?

The word “she” in itself is not a proper noun. It’s a pronoun.

However, the person being referred to as “she”, their name would be considered a proper noun.

For Example- Mina just left. She had some work.

In this case, “Mina” is a proper noun, but “she”, as mentioned above, is a pronoun.

13. Is “country” a proper noun?

The word “country” in itself is not a proper noun. It’s a common noun.

However, if a place has an official name, then that name is a proper noun.

For Example- Spain is my favorite country to visit for a holiday.

In this case, “Spain” is a proper noun, but “country”, as mentioned above, is a common noun.

Hence, one can see that the topic of proper nouns follows a very certain and specific set of rules with almost zero to few exceptions.

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