Difference between proper and common names

In a colloquial conversation we continually use proper names and common names, many times without realizing it. However, it is highly recommended to know how to differentiate them, since, among other things, they will help us maintain a good literature because capital letters are often not used when they should and vice versa.

Therefore, it is the intention of this article to clarify the doubts that may arise between proper and common names, for this, we will define them briefly and then we will show the most outstanding differences between them.

proper names

Names that are given to people, animals or things, in order to differentiate them from others, are called proper names. These names or so-called proper nouns specify these subjects so that they are unique and thus differentiate them from others.

Proper nouns, according to grammatical rules, should be written in capital letters, regardless of their position within a text or sentence. In the same way, a proper name could then be used to distinguish an institution, a person or character, a region, a brand, a vehicle and so on innumerable things.

To mention some examples of known and unknown proper names, we can mention Apple, Reebok, Rio de Janeiro, China, Cristóbal, Steve, León, Toyota, Madrid, among many others. Therefore, when speaking of a proper name, we would be speaking specifically of someone or something that has certain already defined and specific characteristics. For this reason, proper names very often provide delimited information about what is being referred to.

common names

On the other hand, common names are those names that we use in general terms to name places and things. These names, or called common nouns, serve to generalize an object or thing, so when they are used they do not provide much specific information about what is being talked about.

For example, when we refer to a lamp, it is indeed a common name or noun, in view of which we are speaking in a general way of a type of object that serves to illuminate. However, we do not specify more information regarding it, so that this could be a ceiling lamp, a table lamp, a team lamp, among many other things.

For all the above, it is vitally important to highlight the differences between proper and common names to clarify the possible doubts that may exist between these two types of names or nouns:

Own names Common names
Proper names allow us to name specific or particular objects and things in order to distinguish it from another. Common names allow you to name all the objects and things that exist.
They are written with the first letter capitalized, regardless of its position within a text or sentence. They are written with the first letter capitalized only after a period and followed or at the beginning of a sentence.
They are nouns that are not repeated frequently. As their name indicates, they are nouns that are repeated with greater frequency.
They are those that we often know as the names of cities, countries, people, brands, among others. They are those that we know for what they are or for what they represent, a computer, some shoes, a window, among others.

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