Names of people, places and organisations are called proper nouns. We spell proper nouns with a capital letter:

Mohammed Ali; Birmingham; China; Oxford University, the United Nations

We use capital letters for festivals:

Christmas; Deepawali; Easter; Ramadan; Thanksgiving

We use a capital letter for someone’s title:

I was talking to Doctor Wilson recently.
Everything depends on President Obama.

When we give the names of books, films, plays and paintings we use capital letters for the nouns, adjectives and verbs in the name:

I have been reading ‘The Old Man and the Sea’.
Beatrix Potter wrote ‘The Tale of Peter Rabbit’
You can see the Mona Lisa in the Louvre.

Sometimes we use a person’s name to refer to something they have created:

Recently a Van Gogh was sold for fifteen million dollars.
We were listening to Mozart.
I’m reading an Agatha Christie.



Dear sir
Are nail and bread material noun?

And leg, hand arm and face are proper noun?
would you please help me?

Thanks in advance.

Hello AminulIslam.,

Proper nouns are names of people or institutions of some kind. They begin with capital letters. For example:


The United Nations

the British Council



I understand that you have a task from somewhere else which asks you to categorise the items you listed in your previous post but I think this is probably a set of categories created by the authors of the task rather than one widely recognised in linguistic study. I'm afraid we can't help you with the task.



The LearnEnglish Team

Dear sir
I don't know what kind of nouns these words are.

1.Face,arm, hair,nose,mouth,hand,leg, belly.
2.Sweet, sour.
3.Bread, nail etc.
would you please explain the words in details.

Hello AminulIslam.,

You have a mixture of nouns and adjectives there.

You can check the meaning of each item in an online dictionary:






The LearnEnglish Team

Could you please help me? We have an argument about the following:
(The - Zero article) teachers at my school are very clever. Which one is correct and why?
Thank you

Hello Ahmed Imam,

The phrase 'at my school' defines a particular group of teachers, so I think 'the' is likely:

The teachers at my school are very clever.


It would be possible to use no article if you wanted to make a general statement about teachers at your school in order to contrast a particular group of them. For example:

Teachers at my school are generally very clever. However, the ones who arrived this year are not clever at all!



The LearnEnglish Team


Why does English language change foreign words to something else? For example, ''Warszawa'' to ''Warsaw''

I just want to know how I should pronounce and spell foreign words (as they are originally or look for English modification)

Thank you very much

Sometimes rules have to be broken. The rule is: proper names are not translated. Therefore Amsterdam will be Amsterdam and my name will be Marinus in whatever language. But for some languages some words are difficult to pronounce without changes. My name in Spanish? Marino, just because Marinus is too difficult to pronounce for many Spanish speakers.
The same seems to be true for ''Warszawa'' in the English language, the combination of the letters S and Z is almost impossible to pronounce correctly, so it was changed to 'Warsaw'. London, in Dutch is written as 'Londen', but 'Den Haag' becomes 'The Hague', and now we are talking about the Dutch capital..., ok governmental residence. So I am sure no insults were meant here.

Hello MCWSL,

It's a feature of many, if not all, languages that they have their own versions of certain famous place names. Countries, geographical names and cities, for example, are treated as words to be translated. Thus, in English we say 'Warsaw' rather than 'Warszawa', and in Polish they say 'Londyn' rather than 'London'. The reasons why are historical and probably related to mispronunciation of names heard in other languages.

When writing in English we use the English version of a name if one exists. This does not hold for personal names, which we generally do not translate.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team


I have another question that is driving me nuts. In the following statement, do we use the simple past after "because": "I came to study in London because I want to improve my English."? Is it "want" or "wanted"?