What are Common Nouns – Definition, Examples & List

Let’s learn common nouns!

What are Common Nouns – Definition, Examples & List

Common nouns are described along with definitions, a lot of examples, list, various images, a simple animated video to understand the basics.

Let us explore common nouns!

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
Fig. 1 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, Examples & Meaning  

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.

common nouns examples definition
Fig. 2 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.

Check out our ANIMATED video!

Common Noun Meaning & Examples

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 Nouns

Specific Names


Man, boy Rohan, Somi

If 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, girl Rita, Apu

If 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.

Student Neha, Anu

If 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. 

Doctor Dr. A Dutta

If 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, town Delhi, Bardhaman

If 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.

Country France

I 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. 

Game FIFA World Cup

From 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.

Palace Buckingham

Have 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. 

Month May, June

Roni 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.

Days Friday, Saturday

Days 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. 

River Sindhu, Yamuna

From 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. 

Book The Jungle Book

We 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. 

Movie Titanic

Rohan 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 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.
Animals Horse, cat, cow, tiger, lion, monkey, parrot, bird, fish, etc. 
Birds Parrot, pigeon, sparrow, etc. 
Things book, pen, table, chair, mobile, computer, etc. 
Places Continent, country, state, city, village, shopping mall, bookstore, park, zoo, etc. 
Ideas Love, friendship, dictatorship, respect, etc. 

Common Noun Examples

We will try to understand with a few examples and explanations so that we will have a clear concept of common nouns.


All members have participated in the game but Avik was the champion. 

  • Members incur common names or generic names; hence, members means common noun. 


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.  


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. 


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.  


Titanic is my favorite film.

  • The film means the common name. Hence, the film represents a common noun.  


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.  


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.  


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. 


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. 


Tina has two cats. 

  • Cats represent a general name, so the cat is a common noun.  

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

Further Study


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