Common Nouns in English With Examples

A Helpful Guide for ESL and Grades 3-6+ To Recognize and Use Common Nouns

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Common nouns are one of the most basic parts of speech in the English language, and the same is true for many other languages as well. However, there are different types of nouns, and they come in forms that you might use in various situations, including instances when you speak or want to write complete sentences. As a resource for teachers and students, our common noun examples guide below will take you through one form of noun structures in English. We call them common nouns. As the name suggests, you might think of them as the most basic form of the noun in English.

Examples of Common Nouns

Here are some common noun examples, all nouns serve to name either a person, place, or thing. Common nouns are never capitalized unless they go at the start of a sentence. Common nouns are not specific; they name general items, objects, people, abstract ideas, emotions, concepts, or professions.

Common Nouns

Common nouns are general. They can name classes of things, people, and places rather than specific things, people, or places.

  1. writer
  2. The U.S. presidents
  3. house
  4. jeans

Proper Nouns

Common nouns can be proper nouns when they name a specific important thing, person, or brand.

  1. Writer J.K. Rowling
  2. President Joe Biden
  3. The White House
  4. Levi Jeans

Common Noun Flashcards

Want more common noun examples? Flip the flashcards.

Proper Noun vs. Common Noun

A proper noun names a proper name or title, and they are always capitalized. For anything more general, you are dealing with an example of a common noun. Common nouns can become proper and be capitalized if they are used to replace a name or as part of a name in a title.

  1. The former president of the United States was President Donald Trump (Proper noun and common noun)
  2. Former U.S. presidents. (Common noun and proper noun)
  3. My grandpa's name is Fred. (Common and proper noun)
  4. Thanks, Auntie! (Proper noun because auntie replaces her name)
  5. My teacher told me we're going to start learning Spanish. (Proper noun and common noun)

Are There Different Types of Common Nouns?

Yes, we can divide nouns into several subcategories for learning purposes. While proper and common are two areas that you might see as the main types of nouns, you can further divide them. Some examples of common nouns that you can put into different groups include countable, uncountable, abstract, concrete, and collective nouns for groups. It is important to note that some nouns in any of these classifications could also serve as nouns that are not common.

To dig a little deeper, consider the words crab and tea. One is countable, but you can't count the other one. However, they are both still common noun examples that you would simply put in their own subcategories. The same is true for words like office or anger. Both of these words express concrete and abstract things, respectively, but they are still an expression of general rather than specific nouns.

What Can the Nouns Do?

A typical common noun can take on various roles within the structure of a sentence. The subject may be the place where you see such a noun the most. For example, The child painted a picture sees the noun child, denoting a general person, acting as the subject. Additionally, picture is also a common noun example in the same sentence, but it takes the form of a direct object. If we follow this sentence with the child showed the parents a finished picture, then we see that the word parents is another example of this type of noun, and it takes the form of an indirect object here.


Examples of common nouns are everywhere in the writing that we see almost every day. Therefore, it shouldn’t take long to start recognizing them automatically, including the different ways you can incorporate them into a sentence. As a final note, remember that all proper nouns should have common equivalents, but the reverse isn’t necessarily true.

Noun-related Topics: