Common and Proper Nouns

Contributor: Melissa LaRusso. Lesson ID: 10315

Explore the difference between common and proper nouns with hands-on word sorts, reading, and writing activities. Become proficient in identifying and using common and proper nouns!



English / Language Arts
learning style
Auditory, Kinesthetic, Visual
personality style
Grade Level
Intermediate (3-5)
Lesson Type
Quick Query

Lesson Plan - Get It!


Read the following words:

dog, Disney World, nurse, Dr. Blue, blanket, pillow, mom, Joe

  • How can you group these words?
  • Try grouping them into a group with capital letters and a group without capital letters. What would that indicate about the words?

While there are many ways to place the words above in groups, one way you might have grouped them is by which ones contained capital letters and which ones didn't.

Nouns can be grouped as common nouns and proper nouns.

A common noun is any person, place, thing, or idea.

Examples: dog, cat, boy, desk, pencil

A proper noun is a specific person, place, thing, animal, or idea. A proper noun begins with a capital letter.

Examples: Buster, Spot, Charlie, Great Adventure

All proper nouns have a common noun equivalent.

Example: California is a proper noun, and state is the common noun equivalent.

Not all common nouns have a proper noun equivalent. 

Example: Dust does not have a proper noun equivalent.

The video Noun Town from Grammaropolis (below) shows some more examples for common and proper nouns.

Before watching the video, take a piece of paper and fold it in half. Label one side "Common" and the other side "Proper." See how many nouns you can write down from the video.

If the video is too fast, you can pause or replay it to check whether you wrote the nouns in the correct column.

When you have finished watching and writing down nouns, head over to the Got It? section.

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