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What are Nouns?

This time we’ll discuss nouns. Nouns can be common or proper. A common noun is a person, place, or thing. A noun also includes a quality, an idea, or an action. A proper noun is a specific person, place, or thing.

  1. A church sits at the curve of the road. We have three common nouns in that sentence—church, curve, and road.
  2. Love Memorial Church sits on the curve of Rains Mill Road. Notice the changes in this sentence. Church has become specific by being named. When it is specific, it’s capitalized. The same thing happens to road. Curve is still common and doesn’t take a capital letter.

Nouns are typically used in a sentence as the subject, the object of a verb, or the object of a preposition. In the first sentence, church is the subject. Curve and road are objects of the prepositions at and of.

  1. We ate the chocolate mousse before dinner. In this sentence, mousse is the object of ate.

An important thing to remember is to capitalize proper nouns.

  1. I took a math class. Math or class isn’t capitalized because it’s not specific.
  2. Breanna almost failed Calculus III in high school. Calculus is capitalized because it’s the specific name of a class.

Exceptions to capitalizing courses are language classes. Always capitalize language classes like English, Chinese, and Arabic.

Nouns are pretty easy to understand, but they’re also very important in a sentence. Having a handle on what nouns do will help you understand more complex grammar points later.

Happy writing!





About Hope Toler Dougherty-Grammar and Grace

Hope Toler Dougherty holds a Master’s degree in English and taught at East Carolina University as well as York Technical College. A member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Romance Writers of America, and Sisters in Crime, she lives with her husband, Kevin, in North Carolina and chats with their two daughters and twin sons through ooVoo.

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