What are Common Nouns? Common Noun Definition, Examples, and List

common nouns examples definition list

Common nouns are described along with definitions, a lot of examples, lists, various images, and a simple animated video to help you understand the basics. It is generally accepted that nouns fall into two types: common nouns and proper nouns. Common nouns refer to common terms that are used to name common people, places, animals, birds, insects, reptiles, ideas, objects and so on, as opposed to proper nouns, which are words that refer to specific people, places, countries, brands, months, days, and important historical events.  

Nouns have a common name and are the generic names of people, places, or things. The case for a common noun is different from that for proper nouns because it is not capitalized unless it begins a sentence or appears in a title. Usually, everyday words are concrete if they can be felt by the senses, abstract if there are general ideas or qualities involved, or collective if they refer to a group. Let us explore common nouns!

What are Common Nouns? Definition, Examples

What are Common Nouns?

Let’s learn about common nouns. A common noun is the basic pillar of a noun in English grammar. We have got a basic idea about nouns. We understand that noun means the name of a person, place, things, ideas, etc. It is further categorized into five subcategories. Common nouns are one of them. From the words,

  • ‘Common’, we understand, it means ‘general’ or ‘not specific’.
  • It implies a general person, or place, or animals, or things, etc.
common nouns
Common nouns

I am listening to a story

I am listening Sindabad’s story

Now, let’s observe the above examples. Sindbad’s story means a specific name, so it is not a common noun, but if we talk about a story, that is not specific. We don’t know which story is all about? It doesn’t specify the name of the story. So, it is a common name. Hence, it is a Common Noun.

Common Noun Definition

A common noun is simply the generic name of any class or group of people or animals or birds or places or things or ideas. These are not capitalized but if it is placed at the beginning of a sentence, then it will be capitalized.

An item that is common is defined as one that may be followed by limiting modifiers, such as a, some, every, or my, and that designates at least one of a class of beings or things. According to the Cambridge Dictionary, a common noun refers to something that is the name of a whole lot of similar things, such as “table”, “book”, or some other similar thing, rather than one specific person, place, or thing.

common nouns examples definition
Common nouns examples definition

Common Noun Examples

  • People
  • Boy
  • Girl
  • City
  • Country
  • Game
  • Palace
  • Building
  • Hotels
  • River
  • Continent and many more.

Sentence Example of Common Noun

  • Boys are swimming in the pond.
  • Girls are cycling together.
  • I love my city
  • People should help their country to grow.
  • Olympic a prestigious game
  • There are so many palaces built during the British Era.
  • There are so many rivers in our country.

Common Noun Rules

  • Normally common noun starts with a small letter unless it is used at the beginning of a sentence. For example, ‘boy’ is a common noun but if we start a sentence, we write, ‘Boy is playing’. Here, we write Boy instead of a boy.
  • In many books, magazines, common nouns are capitalized based on the stylish design as well as better looks. For example: The Snowy Day, India Today, etc.
  • If a common noun occurs in the title of a movie, song, album, etc, then it usually gets a capital letter. For example: movie – ‘Beauty and the Beast’, song – ‘Fire Flies’, etc.
  • Many shops or hodding, common nouns are capitalized to have a nice design.
  • A common noun can be countable nouns, uncountable nouns, collective nouns, concrete nouns, abstract nouns.

Check out our ANIMATED video!

Common Noun Examples with Meaning  

When generic, we use a common noun.  But if the same generic name specifies a specific name, then it will be changed into a proper noun. Let us try to understand common nouns with explanations.

Common NounsSpecific NamesExplanation
Man, boyRohan, SomiIf we say, Rohan or Somi, we can understand the person, but if we say, man or boy, we cannot understand the person. Hence, man or boy means common nouns.  
Woman, girlRita, ApuIf we say, Rita or Apu, we can understand them but, but if we say woman or girl, we will not be able to understand them.   Hence, women or girls means common nouns.
StudentNeha, AnuIf we say, student, it implies a generic name or common name. We cannot specify any student with taking their name. Hence, student means a common noun. 
DoctorDr. A DuttaIf we say doctor, we don’t understand which doctor we are talking about! So, the doctor is a common name and it is a common noun. 
City, townDelhi, BardhamanIf someone says, I am going to a city or a town, you can not understand which city or town is talking about.  Hence, city or town, etc. refers to a common noun.
CountryFranceI have visited a country last year. Do you understand which country I am talking about? No! As the country is a general name and it is a common noun. 
GameFIFA World CupFrom the word ‘game’, nobody can understand which game is talking about. The game cannot specify whether it is football or cricket or basketball!  Hence, the game refers to a common noun.
PalaceBuckinghamHave you visited the palace? – Do you understand which palace I am talking about. No, because the palace is a common name and it is a common noun. 
MonthMay, JuneRoni told his friend that he has visited the Taj Mahal in a month. Have you get an idea about the name of the month. No, as the month is a generic name, it may be January, February…Dec. So, any month which is not specified refers to a common noun.
DaysFriday, SaturdayDays implies a generic name. If we specify like Friday or Saturday, it will be easily understood which particular day we talking about. Hence, days means common non. 
RiverSindhu, YamunaFrom the general name river, we can not understand which river we are talking about.  So, the river is a common name and it is a common noun. 
BookThe Jungle BookWe all love reading books. If you say to your friend that you are reading an interesting book, your friend cannot get the clue which book you are reading! Hence, book means a common name and it is a common noun. 
MovieTitanicRohan said to his friend that he has watched a movie.  Do you understand which movie is he talking about? No, as the movie is a general name, it is a common noun. 
Common Noun Meaning and Examples

Common Noun List

There are plenty of common nouns, we are using every day. However, a simple common noun list is stated below for better understanding:

People Grandfather, grandmother, father, mother, woman, man, boy, girl, teacher, tutor, professor, student, teenager, child, toddler, policeman, minister, engineer, doctor, etc.
AnimalsHorse, cat, cow, tiger, lion, monkey, parrot, bird, fish, etc. 
BirdsParrot, pigeon, sparrow, etc. 
Thingsbook, pen, table, chair, mobile, computer, etc. 
PlacesContinent, country, state, city, village, shopping mall, bookstore, park, zoo, etc. 
IdeasLove, friendship, dictatorship, respect, etc. 
Common Noun List

Common Noun Examples

Example#1: All members have participated in the game but Avik was the champion. Members incur common names or generic names; hence, members means common noun.

Example#2: Minu has two computers, one is Dell & the other one is HP. Computer means the general name or common name; hence, the computer is a common noun

Example#3: Sonu Sood is my real hero. Hero means a general name. We can not specify any specific person by the term ‘hero’. Hence, the hero refers to a common noun.

Example#4: I live in Delhi, a big city. From the word city, we can understand which city is talking about. It is basically a common name. Hence, the city refers to a common noun.

Example#5: Titanic is my favorite film. The film means the common name. Hence, the film represents a common noun.

Example#6: Muna has a nice car and it is Toyota Rav4. A car means the general name or common name, it may be any car; hence, the car is a common noun.

Example#7: The Nile is the longest river. River means the generic name or common name. If we say the river Nile, it can be easily understood which river we are talking about. But if we say only the river, it cannot be understood. Hence, the river represents a common noun.

Example#8: Rehana has a nice camera. What do you think, a camera is a proper noun or common noun? The camera is a general or common name and it is a common noun.

Example#9: Victoria Memorial is a nice palace. Palace means not only Victoria memorial, there are so many palaces are in the world. Hence, the palace is a generic name unless it is specified with the name. Hence, the palace represents a common noun.

Example#10: Tina has two cats. Cats represent a general name, so the cat is a common noun.

Define Modifying Common Noun

There are many ways to make common nouns specific or particular by adding other parts of speech. Using adjectives you can describe what kind, which kind, how many, and how much there is of a noun.

  1. The boy in my class.
  2. The village by the lake.
  3. The cat near the Beach.

Common nouns can be described with prepositional phrases that describe which one or what kind. Adding reductive clauses to common nouns can make them more particular or specific. Nouns that refer to specific people, places, or things are called proper nouns. A proper noun can be a name for a person, a place an organization, or an object. Capital letters are the norm for proper nouns. 

How to Identify Common Nouns or Proper Nouns?

There are two types of nouns: common and proper. Proper nouns are names that describe particular things. They do not describe particular things in Common Noun. Common nouns refer to generic things as you must know by now. A proper noun is a way to refer to something specific. In contrast to common nouns, proper nouns are always capitalized, regardless of where they appear.

While every proper noun has an equivalent common noun, this does not mean that every common noun has a proper noun. The common noun dust is also a proper noun, when is written as this type of dust is one of only one kind.

FAQs for Common Nouns

What is an example of a common noun?

From the definition as well as various examples of common nouns, it is clear that this noun means generic name only other than any specific name.
Boy, for example, is a generic name, and from this name ‘boy’, we cannot identify a specific boy. However, if you talk about Rehan, the name of that boy, then it will not be a common noun. It will be a proper noun. Hence, it is clear that ‘boy’ is an example of a common noun.

Why Common Noun is lowercased?

Most people will capitalize common nouns unnecessarily when they spell them. We instinctively want to emphasize the significance of some words, such as nations, by capitalizing on them. Yet even this lofty title is a common noun if it doesn’t name something or someone specific; in this instance, a specific nation.
You must resist the temptation to capitalize the nation’s name in the penultimate example simply because the U.S. name is mentioned at the beginning of the sentence. The U.S. is referred to here as the nation; However, Texas is the state within the U.S. Therefore, Texas is a common noun & written as lowercased when you used as an example.
This is the incorrect capitalization of the common compound noun board of directors in business writing. However, you are idolized by your favorite football teams & put it’s name on the proverbial pedestal, but it is not capitalized due to it being a proper noun.


So finally, we have learned common nouns, one of the most used types of noun. Further Study

What is an Adjective?

How to learn English

Parts of Speech

Spoken English

Common errors in English

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