At some point, everyone has the same question: What is a common noun? Here, we'll take a look at common nouns and provide some common noun examples so you can easily recognize common nouns when you see them. Don't worry, this will be painless.
A noun is a word that names a person, animal, place, thing, or idea. All nouns can be further classified as proper or common. Common nouns are words used to name general items rather than specific ones. Go into your living room. What do you see? Lamp, chair, couch, TV, window, painting, pillow, candle - all of these items are named using common nouns.
Common nouns are everywhere, and you use them all the time, even if you don't realize it. Wherever you go, you'll find at least one common noun. Street, closet, bathroom, school, mall, gas station; all of these places are named using common nouns.
People in general are named using common nouns, though their official titles or given names are proper nouns. When we refer to people using common nouns, we use words like teacher, clerk, police officer, preacher, delivery driver, boyfriend, girlfriend, grandma, cousin, and barista.
The takeaway is this: common nouns are general names and unless they are part of a title like Postmaster General or begin a sentence, they're not usually capitalized.
The following common noun examples will help you to recognize common nouns. In the sentences that follow, common noun examples are italicized. Notice that the examples providing proper nouns name specific versions of the same type of person, animal, place, thing, or idea.