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

MultipleChoice_MTkxMDE

Take your language skills and your career to the next level
Get unlimited access to our self-study courses for only £5.99/month.

Sourav Bhatia 提交于 周四, 11/02/2021 - 11:55

永久连接
what is difference between noun run and gerund running

Hello Sourav Bhatia,

A 'run' is discrete in a way that 'running' is not. For example, many people who run for exercise 'go on a run' several times a week. 'a run' is usually a specific amount of time or a specific route they take.

'running', on the other hand, is the activity of running in general. For example, if we speak about different kinds of exercise someone likes, we'd say 'running'.

Hope this helps.

All the best,

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Samin 提交于 周四, 14/01/2021 - 06:48

永久连接
Hello I want to know this What type of noun is this...a box of chocolates- collective or compound- common noun Separately box is common noun/ collective?

Hi Samin,

It's a collective noun! And box by itself is a common noun.

Best wishes,

Jonathan

The LearnEnglish Team

I also want to know library is it collective noun by itself or a common noun?

knownman 提交于 周四, 15/10/2020 - 10:12

永久连接
Hi, Learn English Team, I wonder why there is no comment section under the Noun Phrases page. I believe there are lots of English learner who have questions on that subject. I wanted to ask a question about a sentence on your page but I haven't done it. Best wishes,

Hi knowman,

I'm not sure why the page didn't have a comments section. I've added one now so you can post your question.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Kapil Kabir 提交于 周一, 11/05/2020 - 07:22

永久连接
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. Why 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.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Kapil Kabir 提交于 周二, 10/03/2020 - 01:53

永久连接
Hello,Sir 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.

 

Peter

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:

https://dictionary.cambridge.org/spellcheck/english/?q=jean

 

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

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Ahmed Imam 提交于 周四, 18/04/2019 - 19:10

永久连接
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. ~ Peter The LearnEnglish Team
Could you help me with the following? - In the sentences like 'Recently a Van Gogh was sold for fifteen million dollars.' / 'We were listening to Mozart.' / 'I’m reading an Agatha Christie.' - are the words 'Van Gogh' / 'Mozart' / 'Agatha Christie.' still considred to be proper nouns?

Hello oyc,

Yes, they are and that is why they are capitalised. The figure of speech here is metonymy, which means describing a thing or concept by the name of something closely associated with that thing or concept. For example, in informal language a pejorative term for 'business people' is 'suits':

Half a dozen suits were waiting for me when I arrived.

 

When the thing referred to is a proper noun, it retains its capitalisation:

Congress has passed the law and now the White House must decide whether to sign it or veto it.

Here, 'the White House' means 'the President'.

 

Silicon Valley is an important part of the world economy.

'Silicon Vally' means 'the tech/computer industry'

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

YSATO201602 提交于 周四, 07/03/2019 - 03:36

永久连接
Dear Teachers I have a question about the word "high street". I found on the internet that this word is widely used as a proper noun beginning with the capital letter like "High Street". But is it also possible to use it as a common noun, too? In other word, are these sentences interchangeable, maintaining the same meaning? 1.) It is wise of the bird to build its nest in a tree on a "busy" street. 2.) It is wise of the bird to build its nest in a tree on a "high" street. (The first one is the example sentence I saw in my English class.) Thank you, Best Regards

Hello Ysato201602

Yes, some streets are named 'High Street', but in British English, the 'high street' also refers to a street or area where the most important or famous shops are located.

Both of your sentences are correct (though we usually say 'the high street') and mean mostly the same thing. The difference is that there are many busy streets in a city, but only one high street.

All the best

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

AminulIslam. 提交于 周三, 13/02/2019 - 07:58

永久连接
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:

Peter

The United Nations

the British Council

Germany

 

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.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

AminulIslam. 提交于 周三, 13/02/2019 - 06:45

永久连接
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:

Cambridge

Oxford

Merriam-Webster

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Ahmed Imam 提交于 周五, 28/12/2018 - 05:36

永久连接
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!

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

MCWSL 提交于 周二, 21/11/2017 - 20:27

永久连接
Hello, 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

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,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

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.

Alice Wang 提交于 周三, 18/10/2017 - 11:06

永久连接
Hello! 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"?

Gone Native La… 提交于 周五, 12/01/2018 - 21:57

Alice Wang 回复

永久连接
Alice, are you still in London? Then it is 'want'. (present tense) Have you left the City and gone back home, then it is 'wanted'.
If she has left the city, then wouldn't she have to use 'went to London' instead of 'came to London'?

Alice Wang 提交于 周三, 18/10/2017 - 10:59

永久连接
Hello! I have a question. When we refer to the past and use a phrase such as "Before I + past tense verb....," is it followed by a verb in the past tense or a verb in the past perfect tense? For example, in the following sentence, should we use "wanted" or "had wanted": "Before I hurt my back, I wanted to learn fencing." I think the past perfect might be best, but I imagine that the simple past adds a sense of finality, which might be a mistake in my thinking. And the following rearrangement does not clarify anything for me, even though it probably should: "I wanted to learn fencing before I hurt my back." Is it "wanted" or "had wanted"? Second question. Is this a legitimate English sentence: "I had wanted to learn fencing before I hurt my back last year."? Thank you.

Hello Alice,

Both the simple past and past perfect are possible here. Most of the time, people use the simpler form (i.e. the past simple) unless they really want to emphasise the fact that the action was before the other one. In this case, this is already very clear (due to the word 'before'), so I'd recommend just using the past simple. The past perfect is not incorrect, though.

I think that answers both of your questions, but if you're unsure about anything, please ask again.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

JamlMakav 提交于 周日, 24/09/2017 - 22:14

永久连接
Hello, I have noticed that we pronounce ''boss' '' with an additional syllable, but we do not, for example, '' boys' ''. Does adding syllables depend on how the language has been used and if not, is there a fixed rule for knowing whether pronounce a word with an extra sound? Thank you in advance.

Hello JamlMakav,

The difference in pronunciation is the result of the final sound in each word. Words which end in sibilant sounds are pronuned with an extra syllable when an -s is added (for whatever reason - a plural form, a third-person present verb form, or a possessive form).

The sibilant sounds are as follows:

[tʃ] - examples: church, watch, itch

[dʒ] - examples: garage, change, rage

[s] - examples:  kiss, slice, Paris

[z] - examples: Charles, please, dogs

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

JamlMakav 提交于 周一, 17/07/2017 - 20:06

永久连接
Hello, ''Francis' birthday'' pronounced ''Francises'' ''Josh' birthday'' ''Butch' birthday'' ''Felix' birthday'' Does the exception of pronouncing names apply only to names ending with an ''s'' (written Francis' but pronounced Francises''? I thought that it applied to all the endings, which have ''sh, ch, and x''. And should ''s'' be with the rest of the names (Josh's or Josh'...)? Thank you.

Hello JamlMakav,

The pronunciation here depends not upon the last letter of the word but upon the last sound. When a word ends in one of several sounds then the plural and possessive are pronounced /ɪz/

These sounds are:

/d/, /ʧ/, /ʃ/, /ʒ/, /s/, /z/, /ʤ/

 

These include, for example, words which end in 'x' as this is generally pronounced /ks/.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Thank you very much, sir, but I don't understand what the ''d'' sound has to do with this. We don't say, for example, ''dad's'' ''dades'' , instead we say ''dads''. Thank you.

Hello JamlMakav,

My apologies. The 's after the /d/ sound is pronounced /z/ not /ɪz/.

 

The full list is:

after /b/, /d/, /v/ the 's is pronounced /z/

after /ʧ/, /ʃ/, /ʒ/, /s/, /z/, /ʤ/ the 's is pronounced /ɪz/

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

MCWSL 提交于 周五, 14/07/2017 - 21:42

永久连接
Hello, Is there a rule for making nouns that refer to a person from a particular city? For example, I have noticed that there are two endings a London(er) and a Californ(ian). I'm asking because there are so many cities out there and it would be rather strange if we didn't have a rule for this. Thank you in advance.

Hello MCWSL,

Good for you! Those two endings are certainly the most common endings for demonyms and it's great you've figured this out. As far as I know, however, there is no rule that will explain every instance of every demonym. Some words are slightly irregular (e.g. 'Mancunian', 'Glaswegian') and others are completely irregular (e.g. 'Scouse'), I'm afraid. There's a list in the Wikipedia that you can refer to and have fun with if you like.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

libero 提交于 周五, 19/05/2017 - 13:55

永久连接
Hi, two child and two adult tickets Is "two child and two adult" a compound adjective? two adult tickets and two child tickets Are "adult ticket" and "child ticket" compound nouns? I do not understand why there 'two child' or 'two adult' are not hyphenated? Many thanks Look forward to hearing from you

Hello libero,

If I've understood the phrase correctly, 'two child and two adult' is not a compound adjective. The way I understand the phrase is 'two child [tickets] and two adult tickets' (the first word 'tickets' is left out via ellipsis).

'adult ticket' and 'child ticket' are indeed compound nouns. Some compound nouns are hyphenated and others are not. It's mostly a question a useage, i.e. I'm afraid there are no consistent rules for explaining why.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

MCWSL 提交于 周六, 10/12/2016 - 12:19

永久连接
Hello, ''I'm interested in applying an application for a/an Computer Science degree'' Should ''Computer Science'' be followed by determiner(if so which?), and should ''Computer Science'' be capitalized? What is the difference between ''what for'' and ''why''? Why did you yell? What did you yell for? Thank you

Hello MCWSL,

'Computer Science degree' is a noun + noun (Computer Science + degree) construction, so the determiner would go before the first noun. In this case, you should probably use 'the' instead of 'a' if you're applying to a specific degree programme. And note that we don't say 'apply an application' - instead you can say 'complete' or 'submit' an application. It's not absolutely necessary to capitalise Computer Science, but I'd say it's better here.

'what for' can be used to mean 'why', as in the example you provided - here it means the same as 'why'. But it can also be used to talk about the purpose of something, e.g. 'What is that hammer for?'

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team