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Proper nouns

Proper nouns

Level: beginner

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

Muhammad Ali Birmingham China Oxford University the United Nations

We use capital letters for festivals:

Christmas Deepavali Easter Ramadan Thanksgiving

We use capital letters for people's titles:

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.

Level: intermediate

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

Recently a Van Gogh was sold for 15 million dollars.
We were listening to Mozart.
I'm reading an Agatha Christie.

Proper nouns



Hello sir,
Sir I want some help to solve that confusions
We know that
If we start a sentence with beginning of Here & There we use inversion when Here/There follow a Noun/Noun Phrase but when they follow a pronoun we can't do that.
Here we go.(No inversion)
Here comes the bus.(Inversion)
There she goes.(No Inversion)
There was a king.(Inversion)
Sir, I want to know the difference of using them.

Hello Kapil Kabir,

I'm afraid I don't quite understand your question. We use pronouns to avoid having to repeat a noun or noun phrase multiple times, but it must refer to something which is already known and identified. Beyond that, I'm not sure what you mean by differences in use.



The LearnEnglish Team

I have a doubt regarding to use of proper noun. we know that we can't use any determiner before Proper Noun.
1. There were two kings.
2. There are two Lucy.
In 1st sentence verb is agree with its subject. Like the 1st, Is the 2nd verb is agree with its subject?
Now the question is that the 2nd sentence is right or wrong.
is this sentence right or wrong ?

Hello Kapil Kabir,

We capitalise words like king when we are using them in place of a name to refer to a particular person and not just to anyone who has that title. Thus we would write:

I will speak to King George for you. [capitalised because it is used with the name and refers to a particular individual]

I will speak to the King for you. [capitalised because it refers to a particular individual even though the name is not used]


A bad king is a disaster for everyone. [not capitalised because it is refers to the position and not to an individual]

Thus, a word like king can be a proper noun but can also be a regular noun.


It is possible to use names as plurals, but they are always capitalised:

In my group I have three Pauls, two Johns, two Marys and six Lucys! Can you believe it?

Your second example is not correct because Lucy should be plural: Lucys.



The LearnEnglish Team


I searched “jean” and “jeans”, i found meaning of both. In part Things With Two Parts, it’s written that jeans don’t have singular form?

Hello MBenham,

When we talk about the item of clothing, 'jeans' is always plural.

In British English, there is no singular form. To talk about the material, we use the word 'denim'.

A search for 'jean' in the Cambridge Dictionary gives no entry:


In other dialects of English, it may be that there is a use of the singular form, but it is certainly not common.



The LearnEnglish Team


Hello. Today, my colleagues have a discussion session about the following two sentences:
1- Half of the staff in my school are/is under the age of 40.
2- All the staff are/is invited to the meeting.
3- Our staff meet, meets to discuss the company’s progress.
Some say that "singular verb" and "plural verb" are both correct. But others argue that only "plural verbs" is correct with the words such as "all", "half", "some", "rest".
Which one is grammatically correct?
Thank you.

Hello Ahmed Imam,
The verb agrees with the noun, so if the noun is countable and plural then a plural verb is used. If the noun is countable singular or uncountable then a singular verb is used.
For example:
Half of the cheese is gone! [cheese=uncountable so a singular verb is needed]
Half of the people are missing! [people=plural so a plural verb is needed]
The complicating factor in your examples is that the noun 'staff' can be used as a singular noun or a plural noun, similar to 'team', 'police', 'government' and so on. Thus, both singular and plural are possible.
The LearnEnglish Team