Common Nouns and Proper Nouns

Contributor: Samantha Penna. Lesson ID: 11874

Do you know words have names? Some include verbs, adjectives, and nouns. Nouns are used to name things, and there are different kinds of nouns. It is easy to learn about them, so get ready to color!



English / Language Arts
learning style
Kinesthetic, Visual
personality style
Grade Level
Primary (K-2)
Lesson Type
Quick Query

Lesson Plan - Get It!

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What do people, sand, and beach toys have in common? "Sea" if you can guess, then read on!

The sand on the beach, the plants in the sand, the family, and the sand toys are all common nouns.

Common nouns include people, places, and things.

Look at the boy on the left side with the blue shirt. Pretend his name is Max. If you call him by the name "Max," you are using a proper noun. This may seem tricky at first, but don't worry! This lesson will help you figure out the difference between common nouns and proper nouns!

  • Common nouns are people, places, and things. For example, "boy," "tomato," "house," and "table" are all common nouns.
  • Proper nouns are used to name specific people, places and things. For example, "Robert," "Mac Computers," "The Empire State Building," and "Disney World" are all proper nouns.

To begin to understand, you will focus on people. There are many ways to describe people. Some examples of common nouns involving people are: "girl," "boy," "parent," "police officer," "cashier," and "teacher."

girl painting

Take a look at the sentence below. The common noun is bolded in the sentence:

The girl likes to paint.

The word "girl" is a common noun.

Proper nouns can be used to name people. Ask your parent or teacher to read you the list below. What is different? Tell your parent or teacher:

  • The girl's name is Susie.
  • The boy's name is Robert.
  • My parents are Phil and Lilian.
  • Mark is a police officer.
  • Rhonda is a cashier.
  • His teacher is Miss James.

All of the bolded words in the sentences above are proper nouns. The names of people are proper nouns. Can you find the proper noun in the sentence below? Tell your parent or teacher:

Kate likes to paint.

Kate is the proper noun in the sentence. Kate names a person and is capitalized.


Common nouns can also refer to places. Common nouns that involve places include: "school," "store," and "park."

These are all common nouns that are used to refer to places. Can you find the common noun in the picture below? Tell your parent or teacher your answer:

We like to play on the playground.

The word "playground" is a common noun because it is a place. The common noun "playground" doesn't tell you which playground they will be playing at. Replacing "playground" with a proper noun will tell you the name of a specific playground. When you use a proper noun to name a place, the name of the place should be capitalized:

  • Danville Elementary School
  • Target
  • Lakeview Park

All the common nouns from the first list are now proper nouns. They have names that are capitalized. Look at how the sentence below changes. Instead of just saying "playground," the name of the playground is written with capital letters. Jacksonville Playground is the name of a specific place:

We like to play at Jacksonville Playground.


Think about all the things you see in your learning space. Right now you probably see a computer, a desk, and pencils. All of these things are common nouns. Can you find the common noun in the sentence below?

The computer is black.

"Computer" is a common noun. Your computer has a name. Do you know what it is? See if you can find your computer's name. The name of your computer is a proper noun. Can you find the proper noun in the sentence below?

The Dell computer is black.

"Dell Computer" is a proper noun. It is the name of the computer.

In the Got It? section, you will explore common nouns and proper nouns in a fun way by playing a game!

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