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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




It's not really possible to make a question without knowing what answer you expect. For example, would the answer to the question be 'the 17th' or 'India' or something else?

Best wishes,

The LearnEnglish Team

I think doctor is a common noun but Doctor is a title and is always follow by a proper noun. For example: Is here any doctor to have a look on my daughter? I'm with Doctor Kelly yet. We're going to start the surgery.
So I think it's the same for an engineer and Engineer Robson.
Besides engineering is the same as mathematics, I think it's just a subject as well and do not need to be spell with capital letter.

I didn't understand why engineering isn't written with capital letters.
It is a noun which names specific subject so it is a proper noun, isn't it?
Please explain and help?
Thanks for awesome explanation btw:)

I think, as well as in Doctor, if they were saying Engineer Robinson, they would have use a capital letter because it's a title to be an engineer. So there is a little difference between the noun and the title which must be in capital letter.
For futhermore examples: I need to see the doctor / I need to see Doctor Roberts. I'm looking for an architect to design my new home / I'm lookink for Architect Williams, where is his office?
Do you see what I mean? That's what I think!!!

Hi yasmeenahmed87,

Academic subjects such as engineering are not capitalised unless they are part of the title of a book, course or other proper noun. As far as I'm aware, the only exception to this rule about not capitalising academic subjects is in the case of languages, since the names of languages are always capitalised.

So you can say, for example, that you study engineering and French using textbooks called Basic Engineering and Elementary French in Engineering 101 and French 101 courses at university.

By the way, if you're curious about this topic, you can find lots of useful pages on the internet by searching for 'capitalisation rules'.

Best wishes,
The LearnEnglish Team

Hi ClaraFilip,

Thanks for your kind words.

To answer your question, the word "two" is a quantifier, and is therefore written with a capital letter as well. In general, the words that are not written in capital letters in book titles are "little" words such as articles (the, a), conjunctions (and, but, etc.) and prepositions (of, from, etc.).

Please let us know if you have any other questions.

Best wishes,

The LearnEnglish Team

It was a very useful tip!

Regarding the second question in the test 'She studied engineering at Imperial College' - please can you explain why 'engineering' is not a Proper Noun in this context?  Are academic/specific subjects like history and engineering always common nouns?  Thank you for your help!

But in spite of that problem you guys are great instead of using much time on facebook now we use time useful for the exprolation of new things !!!! You are so super