Articles can't be used with proper nouns right? So,

An oak tree grows to huge size (here, oak is a proper noun so why 'an' is used with it?)

A cow has two horns (does article “a” represent a whole class here? As we use: the dog is a faithful animal)

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    Articles can work with proper nouns. Oak is not a proper noun. A cow is not a class, but an individual. There is a mistake in every sentence. Oct 6, 2020 at 23:13
  • Even some proper nouns can be used with articles (both definite and indefinite) in some cases. Consider "My dream car is a Lamboghini", "The Stratocaster is the most famous guitar in the world" or even "Paul Dirac can be thought of as the Isaac Newton of the twentieth century".
    – BoldBen
    Oct 7, 2020 at 0:06
  • Questions that start with "I know X" or "X, right?" or the like always pick an incorrect factoid. This is no exception. As @YosefBaskin points out, it is not true that articles can't be used with proper nouns. Often articles are part of proper nouns, like The United States of America Oct 7, 2020 at 2:41

1 Answer 1


A proper noun is a particular name of a person, place or thing. They are written with a capital letter. Articles can be part the proper noun:

I visited the United States last year. (the is part of the proper noun)

I visited Canada last year ("the" is not part of the name of Canada)

It is rare to use "a" with proper nouns, but possible, in hypothetical situations:

Let us imagine a Canada which never became independent from Great Britain and was part of the UK...

But in your example "oak tree" is a common noun. It is not a proper noun. It is very common for proper nouns to have articles.

And similarly "A cow" is a common noun, here referring to one cow (but not one particular cow, any single cow)

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