What is a Proper Noun?
Most of the time, when reading stories and novels, you are likely to find words that are capitalized in the middle of a sentence. This is usually done to words that hold different meanings from the rest of the words. These are the words known as Proper nouns in English. In this piece, we are going to touch on the meaning of proper nouns and the differences they have from other nouns. Besides that, we are going to explore many rules for capitalizing proper nouns. After going through this piece, you will know how to capitalize the title so that you avoid the mistakes that are commonly made by other writers. Read on to learn everything you need to know about proper and common nouns.
There are two categories in which nouns can fall. One category is quite broad, while the other one is quite direct. Usually, a proper noun is a direct name for a given person, event, place, or even an object. This implies that the noun is direct and not generic. It would readily be called a common noun.
From the statement above, it is possible to term a noun as either common or proper. There are examples indicated below to help you understand the ideas so that you see the difference between the two types of nouns. While a common noun tends to be a bit broad, a proper noun is more precise.
Common Noun Proper Noun
Boy Gary, Wendell, John
Country United Kingdom, Italy, Philippines
Film Perks of Being a Wallflower, In the Mood for Love
City Arizona, London, Tokyo
Religion Judaism, Islam, Christianity
With the examples listed above, you can easily tell the difference between a proper noun and a common noun. The proper noun has two unique characteristics, and this is the right time to talk about them. If you check above, you will see that a proper noun will always start with a capital letter. However, a common noun will always begin with a small letter as long as it falls at the end or in the middle of a sentence. There are more examples that we need to have a look at. From the list above, the common noun is a boy, while its proper noun is, John, Wendell, and Gary.
The other key characteristic of a proper noun is that it names particular items. This implies that compared to a common noun, a proper noun is more specific. If you say “country,” that would be generic. If we need to be more specific, we will get proper nouns for these countries such as Italy, Mexico, Spain, and many more.
Now let us take a look at the third row and see what it has for us. The word “film” starts with a small letter, and it is even more general. However, the words in the second column above start with capital letters. This is because they are the specific counterparts of the common nouns on the other side.
If you analyze the fourth and fifth examples, you will be able to see more differences between common and proper nouns.
Rules for capitalizing proper Nouns
There are rules to abide by if you are looking to achieve proper grammar. There are rules that must be used for capitals in titles and sentences. Though it might seem easy to use proper nouns, some things must be put into consideration to ensure that you write correctly. There are different rules for title capitalization; we will take a look at all of them.
1. Capitalize First Names
You must always ensure that the first names are capitalized. This makes sense; all names are proper nouns.
Example: Please take Carson, my boss, to the restaurant so that she rests for a while.
Make sure to note that his name was capitalized, but “boss” remains in small letters.
2. Do Not Capitalize All Letters in a Sentence
If you are writing a formal sentence, do not capitalize all letters. You will make your text hard to read by going against this important rule.
3. Capitalizing Names of Films, Books, or Song Titles
If your work entails a description of proper names of song titles, film, or a book, you must not capitalize everything. You need only to capitalize the relevant words.
Example: Me and You and Everyone We Know
When these words are used as titles, they are considered as one. Therefore, you should know what to capitalize in a title so that you adhere to the rules. The words that have a meaning to the story are considered important and must, therefore, be capitalized. Nevertheless, make sure that the article and conjunctions stay in small letters.
4. Capitalization of Family Endearments
There are rules to be followed when writing about families. For instance, if you are trying to use the endearment directly, make sure to use them as proper nouns. On the other hand, you should not capitalize the endearment if you are not using it as a proper noun.
Example: Go find Grandpa his glass of milk
Example: Kindly call your uncle to come tomorrow
Look at the first example, and you will see that the speaker could be directly related to the noun. Therefore, it has been capitalized. The second sentence, “uncle,” is used as an object; therefore, there is no need to capitalize it.
Capitalization of Directions
While writing, make sure that directions are not capitalized unless you are using them as part of a location or place.
Example: Let’s go south and find out if the missing child is there
Example: Have you been to North Carolina?
The Final Thought
Now that you know how to capitalize titles and words in sentences, you can go ahead and write like a pro. Still, if you feel like there is a need to learn more, go ahead and use the free title capitalization tool to improve your grammar and writing style. You should also use many resources to see whether you need to capitalize to in a title and or sentences.