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proper noun

Grammar. a noun that is used to denote a particular person, place, or thing, as Lincoln, Sarah, Pittsburgh, and Carnegie Hall.
Also called proper name.
Compare common noun.
Origin of proper noun
Grammar note
Proper nouns are not normally preceded by an article or other limiting modifier, as any or some. Nor are they usually pluralized. But the language allows for exceptions. Proper nouns may occasionally have a definite article as part of the name, as in the case of some ships, organizations, and hotels, as The Titanic, The Humane Society, and The Plaza. An indefinite article is appropriate when you use a name as an exemplar: She looks like a young Elizabeth Taylor! And there is sometimes a reason for treating a name as if it were a generic: There are four Devons in my class. Proper nouns, usually capitalized in English, are arbitrary, in that a name can be given to someone or something without regard to any descriptive meaning the word or phrase may otherwise have. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for proper nouns
  • Remind students of the difference between common and proper nouns.
  • Use capital letters in first name and other familiar proper nouns.
  • Have students look at other proper nouns in the story and practice pronouncing them.
  • We have more trouble with proper nouns because there's lower redundancy.
  • The first word of a headline and all proper nouns are capitalized.
  • There are many proper nouns for which there is no common noun form.
  • Half of the phrases were proper nouns and the remaining were mostly common noun phrases.
  • Capitalize only the first word and proper nouns in figure captions.
  • When searching by keyword it is not necessary to capitalize proper nouns.
  • When searching by keyword, it is not necessary to capitalize proper nouns.
British Dictionary definitions for proper nouns

proper noun

the name of a person, place, or object, as for example Iceland, Patrick, or Uranus Compare common noun related adjective onomastic
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Difficulty index for proper noun

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