What are compound nouns, common nouns and proper nouns?

I always thought I had a fairly good grasp of grammar and punctuation. I have a degree and write constantly, but it was only when I thought it would be a good idea to give myself a refresher's course on the subject, that I realised there was a lot of work to do!

I was taught at primary school, many, many moons ago, that a noun was word used to describe an object. Which although true is a very simplistic view.

There are many types of nouns........

Today I will be talking about, compound nouns, common nouns and proper nouns. There's also such a thing as pro-nouns, but that's another story for another day.

So, a noun is defined as a word or a set of words used to denote a person, place, thing or idea.


A compound noun, is simply a noun that consists of more than one word to describe a noun. E.G. Shoe shop, Car seat. Try to remember back to your chemistry classes at school where a compound is defined as a mixture, and then a compound noun is a mixture of words!

Now on to common nouns and proper nouns.

A common noun is used to refer to a general class of people, places, things and ideas. To differentiate them from a simple noun they refer to a group, rather than a person, place, thing and idea. They do not need a capital letter.

Proper nouns, on the other hand do need a capital letter. They refer to something more specific such a person or  a place. Names are nouns and always begin with a capital letter, as do countries. E.g. Frodo, Middle Earth.


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