The Proper Noun
Recognize a proper noun when you find one.
Nouns name people, places, and things. Every noun can further be classified as common or proper. A proper noun has two distinctive features: 1) it will name a specific, one-of-a-kind item, and 2) it will begin with a capital letter no matter where it occurs in a sentence.
Check out the chart below:
Proper Noun Common Noun Herman Melville
Tito's Taco Palace
Declaration of Independence
University of Southern California
Read the following sentences. Notice the specificity of the proper nouns.
Tina offered Antonio one of her mother's homemade oatmeal cookies, but only an Oreo would satisfy his sweet tooth.
Oreo = proper noun; cookies = common noun.
Charlie had wanted an easy instructor for his composition class. Unfortunately, he got Professor Hayden, whose short temper and unreasonable demands made the semester a torture.
Professor Hayden = proper noun; instructor = common noun.
Gloria wanted to try a new restaurant, so Richard took her to Tito's Taco Palace, where no one dips into the hot sauce until the drinks have arrived at the table.
Tito's Taco Palace = proper noun; restaurant = common noun.
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