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Common Noun

At some point, everyone has the same question: What is a common noun? Here, we’ll take a look at common nouns and provide some common noun examples so you can easily recognize common nouns when you see them. Don’t worry, this will be painless.

What is a Common Noun

A noun is a word that names a person, animal, place, thing, or idea. All nouns can be further classified as proper or common. Common nouns are words used to name general items rather than specific ones. Go into your living room. What do you see? Lamp, chair, couch, TV, window, painting, pillow, candle – all of these items are named using common nouns.

Common nouns are everywhere, and you use them all the time, even if you don’t realize it. Wherever you go, you’ll find at least one common noun. Street, closet, bathroom, school, mall, gas station; all of these places are named using common nouns.

People in general are named using common nouns, though their official titles or given names are proper nouns. When we refer to people using common nouns, we use words like teacher, clerk, police officer, preacher, delivery driver, boyfriend, girlfriend, grandma, cousin, and barista.

The takeaway is this: common nouns are general names and unless they are part of a title like Postmaster General or begin a sentence, they’re not usually capitalized.

Common Noun Examples

The following common noun examples will help you to recognize common nouns. In the sentences that follow, common noun examples are italicized. Notice that the examples providing proper nouns name specific versions of the same type of person, animal, place, thing, or idea.

  1. Common Noun: You broke my favorite mug.Proper Noun: I can’t believe you broke my Snoopy mug.
  2. Common Noun: I really want a new pair of jeans.Proper Noun: I really want to buy a new pair of Levis.
  3. Common Noun: I wish I could remember the name of that painter.Proper Noun: I really love art by Van Gogh.
  4. Common Noun: They’re all waiting for us at the restaurant.Proper Noun: Everyone else is at Bill’s Burgers.
  5. Common Noun: I really want to live in a big city someday.Proper Noun: Of all the places I’ve lived, Denver was best.
  6. Common Noun: Let’s go to watch a live game at the stadium.Proper Noun: Let’s try to get good seats at Wrigley Field.

Common Noun Exercises

Choose the common noun or the phrase containing the common noun to fill in each blank.

  1. I’d really like some ____________ after lunch.
    1. Entenmann’s chocolate cake
    2. Vanilla pudding with coconut
    3. Marie Callender’s peach pie
    4. Breyer’s ice cream
  2. I received ______________ from my grandmother today.
    1. A copy of War and Peace
    2. A photo of Abraham Lincoln
    3. A handmade sweater
    4. A pack of Trident gum
  3. Please call ____________.
    1. Jennifer
    2. The police
    3. Aunt Sally
    4. Smith’s department store
  4. _______________ brought our drinks promptly.
    1. Simon
    2. Rinaldi
    3. The waiter
    4. A flight attendant named Sarah
  5. I heard that ________________ is going to San Francisco in May.
    1. My cousin
    2. Bernard
    3. Wilson
    4. The whole Nuggets baseball team

Answer Key:

  1. B – I’d really like some vanilla pudding with coconut after lunch.
  2. C – I received a handmade sweater from my grandmother today.
  3. B – Please call the police.
  4. C – The waiter brought our drinks promptly.
  5. A – I heard that my cousin is going to San Francisco in May.


Common Noun Exercises

Identify the common noun in each sentence:

  1. Sarah finally got her degree
    A – Sarah, B –her, C – degree
  2. Jennifer and her brother are going to Disneyland next month.
    A – Jennifer, B – brother, C – Disneyland
  3. I told Donald that I prefer vegetarian food.
    A – told, B – Donald, C – food
  4. Harry went to the park with his friend Keisha.
    A – Harry, B – park, C – Keisha
  5. Answer Key: 1: C, 2: B, 3: C, 4: B

Is the highlighted noun a common noun or a proper noun?

  1. Karen loves to eat at the restaurant on the corner.
  2. I went to the dentist for a root canal.
  3. We’re going to have fish for dinner.
  4. His favorite car is a Porsche.
  5. Answer Key: 1: Proper noun, 2: Common noun, 3: Common noun, 4: Proper noun

    Identify the common noun in each sentence:

    1. This calendar covers January through December.
      A – calendar, B – January, C – December
    2. Jethro named his boat the Karen II.
      A – Jethro, B – boat, C – Karen II
    3. North America and Asia are continents.
      A – North America, B – Asia, C – continents
    4. This book was co-written by doctors Smith and Klein.
      A – book, B – Smith, C – Klein
    5. Nick and Terry got into a fight with Dennis.
      A – Nick and Terry, B – fight, C – Dennis

    Answer Key: 1: A, 2: B, 3: C, 4: A, 5: B

    Fill in the blank with the common noun that fits best:

    1. I’m going to see the _____________ about my tooth.
      A – Dr. Ling, B – dentist, C – cardiologist
    2. The ________________ sank during the storm.
      A – Karen II, B – bridge, C – sailboat
    3. Of all animals, _____________ are my favorite.
      A – dog, B – dogs, C – pretzels 4
    4. The ___________ were named Nick and Jerry.
      A – kitchen, B – library, C – spa
    5. The __________________ is full of books, including classics by everyone from Shakespeare to Tolkien.
      A – Nick and Terry, B – fight, C – Dennis

    Answer Key: 1: B, 2: C, 3: B, 4: A, 5: B

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