I have been asked to identify proper and common nouns in the following paragraph (which are supposed to be 20, exactly):

"Evon Peter is from the Alaskan village of Vashraii K'oo. His goal is protection of the land. He opposes drilling in the Arctic Wildfire Region because of the effects it will have on our environment. His wife, Enei Begaye, is Navajo. They co-founded Native Movement. The organization sponsors many activities and special events, including training, conferences, and workshops."

No matter how I struggled, I only found 6 proper nouns:

  • Evon Peter - Vashraii K'oo
  • Arctic Wildlife Region - Begaye
  • Navajo - Native Movement

and only 12 common nouns:

  • village - goal - protection
  • land - effects - environment
  • wife - organization - activities
  • events - conferences - workshops

I thought maybe region and movement counted too but then wildlife would as well and we're over 20. Could someone help me and point me in the right direction? If possible provide an explanation or an article

  • Is Enei part of a proper noun, do you think? Commented Sep 21, 2021 at 18:51
  • yes, my bad. Her name is Enei Begaye.
    – Abulkhair
    Commented Sep 21, 2021 at 19:14
  • Yes exactly 20. It was supposed to be my little brother's assignment but as I tried to answer, I felt ashamed that I couldn't help no matter how hard I tried. So I reached out for ell to figure out weather its the gerunds, breaking down some proper noun, the possibility of the question itself being wrong, or some 4th option.
    – Abulkhair
    Commented Sep 21, 2021 at 19:21

3 Answers 3


A proper noun is a specifically-named person, place, thing, or idea. A common noun is any other person, place, thing, or idea, i.e. all nouns that are not proper are common.

Looking at the passage, I count five proper nouns (all of them multi-word phrases) and fourteen common nouns, a total of nineteen:

Proper nouns Common nouns
Evon Peter village
Vashraii K'oo goal
Arctic Wildfire Region protection
Enei Begaye land
Native Movement drilling

"Alaskan" is an adjective modifying the noun "village." Similarly "Navajo" (as it is used in this passage) is an adjective rather than a noun: The passage says Begaye is Navajo (the word is used to describe her) instead of saying she is a Navajo (a member of a specific group). (As an example, consider someone saying "The apple is green;" "green" is obviously not a noun, and neither is Navajo in this context.)

The person setting the exercise may have mistakenly counted "Navajo" as a noun, resulting in 20 total nouns in the passage.

  • Thank you very much sir. I had no idea gerunds could be counted as common nouns. "Training" made me think about it at first but as I googled, I couldn't find any resources helpful enough to tell me whether it's counted or not. Could you link me with the reference or source you used?
    – Abulkhair
    Commented Sep 21, 2021 at 20:26
  • @Abulkhair I did not use any references, it just something I know by virtue of being a native speaker and having read a lot. You can tell that "training" is a noun here because it is part of a group of other nouns: "training, conferences, and workshops." The Wikipedia article on gerunds may be helpful.
    – randomhead
    Commented Sep 21, 2021 at 22:11

Here training,movement and drilling are abstract noun. Abstract noun denotes The action,state and quality.Here drilling is an action.

  • I thought gerunds aren't labeled as common or proper. Please do correct me if I'm wrong.
    – Abulkhair
    Commented Sep 21, 2021 at 19:15
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    – Community Bot
    Commented Sep 21, 2021 at 19:16

Extending @randomhead's answer, but also considering the mention of "20 Proper and Common Nouns" in the question:

I think "the Alaskan village" also can be treated as a proper noun. "Village" is a common noun, and adding a determiner "the", makes it a proper noun.

Another example:

The Savoy Hotel is a proper noun, hotel is a common noun.

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