Examples: The ‘proper noun’ principle

3 09 2011

Here’s a quick tip to check the quality of your examples – check for proper nouns. Simply put, a proper noun is a noun (a ‘thing’, as opposed to an action or a descriptive word) which is often capitalised. So ‘girl’ is a noun, and ‘Jane’ is a proper noun.

In other words, check for ‘capital-letter-things’ – instead of vaguely talking about celebrities in your examples, talk about Angelina Jolie, Amy Winehouse or US President Barack Obama. Instead of talking vaguely about fast food restaurants, mention Mc Donald’s or Subway.

Turn vague examples into more specific ones by remembering that proper nouns beat regular nouns.


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2 responses

3 09 2011
thefoo

Teacher would Maria Hertogh count?

4 09 2011
Adrienne de Souza

Haha! I think the answer to that deserves its own lengthy post!

Sent from my iPhone

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