Nouns - an important Part of Speech

Nouns are a part of speech, and they are a very common part of speech.  They identify persons, places, or things.  This page tells all about them - all about this important part of speech.

A person:  Jon Smith, Albert Singh, Mary Jane Pryor

A place:  Canada, Mauritius

A thing:  desk, dog, cat, movie, computer

As you see, some of my examples begin with capital letters and others begin with regular letters. 

Why is that?

Types of Nouns

With capital letters.  You need a capital letter if you are writing - the name of a place or the name of a person.  It could be a business that has been registered with a specific name:  Wal-Mart, Best Buy.   It is called "proper."

With regular letters.  You might write “best buy” without capitals if you are not referring to the company.  For example: 

I looked all over town for a computer, and I found the best buy  was at the new store right in my neighbourhood.


I looked all over town for a computer, and I found the best buy  was at the new Best Buy store right in my neighbourhood.

So, this part of speech can be either regular or proper (with capital letters).

As part of a sentence

A subject is what the sentence is about.  If I want to tell you something about my friend, Ralph, then the proper noun, Ralph, is probably the subject of the sentence.

Ralph likes to travel in his spare time. 

(This sentence above is about Ralph, so “Ralph” is the subject of the sentence.  Ralph is a "proper" example of this part of speech.)

Time.   Another example in the sentence above is “time.”  “Time” is not "proper" because it is not the name of anything.  Instead, if is simply a "standard" example, so does not require a capital letter.

However, if I refer to the magazine entitled “Time Magazine,” then I have to use the capital letters because it’s the name of a registered entity, and requires the capitals.  In this case “Time” is used as the "proper" form of this word. 

So, you can see that this part of speech, which identifies a person, place, or thing can be...

  • "proper" in one instance and
  • "common/standard" in another instance

Depending on the way you use this part of speech, the meaning can change:

  • In one instance, you may need the capital letter (proper).
  • In another instance, you may not need the capital letter (standard). 

Be sure to understand the use of each noun you write.



Here are a few examples to test your knowledge. 

Are they correct or not?  If not, why not?

  1. I’m going to drive to Memphis tomorrow in my grand Cherokee.
  2. He’s going to best buy this morning to see what’s on sale.
  3. The Grand Opening Sale is scheduled for Friday.
  4. Which time did you read that article in?
  5. What time does the ferry leave?
  6. We had a grand time at the theatre last weekend.


  1. Incorrect.  The name of the vehicle is Grand Cherokee.  Both words must be capitalized.  The name “Grand Cherokee” is "proper."
  2. Incorrect.  The name of the store is “Best Buy.”  So, you need both capitals here.
  3. Correct.  The name of the sale is “Grand Opening Sale.”  All three words need to be capitalized.
  4. Incorrect.  The magazine “Time” is referred to here, so you need the capital letter.
  5. Correct.  This “time” is just the standard.
  6. Correct.  In this case, “grand” is a simple adjective that tells what a fabulous (grand) time we had.  No capital is required.

LINK - Click this link to find an excellent course in business writing.

LINK - Return from Nouns to Professional Business Writing.

LINK - Return from Nouns to Parts of Speech.