Author: British Council | Published on 1 July 2022


Stage 1: Present examples 

Prepare labels for objects and people in the classroom. e.g. book, door, desk, chair, Mrs. Mbeki, Andile, Mr. Tambo, boy, girl, teacher, South Africa, Cape Town, Johannesburg, etc.

Hold up the labels and ask learners questions like:

  • “What do you notice about these words?”
  • “What do these words refer to?” 
  • “Why do some of these words have capital letters and some not?”

To help learners, identify the common and proper nouns. 

Stage 2: Take feedback

Check understanding. Ask learners to give feedback on what they noticed from the examples. Some key points could include:

  • Nouns refer to people, places and things.
  • Common nouns are names given to ordinary objects e.g. door, book, desk, chair, boy, girl, teacher. They are written with a small letter (unless they are at the beginning of a sentence).
  • Proper Nouns are names given to specific people or places e.g. Mrs Mbeki, Cape Town. They are always written with a capital letter.

Stage 3: Use the grammar

Sorting nouns

Make three columns on the board with headings: people, places, things.

Make flashcards or write a variety of common and proper nouns on the board.

Learners sort them into the correct column

e.g. people – Mrs. Mbeki, Andile; places – Cape Town, Johannesburg; things – chair, teacher 

Treasure hunt

Learners search for all the nouns they can find in a page from a class reader. They write the nouns in columns headed common nouns and proper nouns. Give them a time limit to make it more exciting.

Noun Worm

Learners work in pairs. You can give them an outline of a worm or allow them to draw their own.

Give them a noun to start the game e.g. classroom. They write the word in the “worm”

Learner 1 writes a new noun beginning with the last letter of classroom e.g. man.

Learner 2 writes a noun beginning with the last letter of the previous word e.g. nuts.

They can use common or proper nouns.

Keep checking that they are using nouns and not other parts of speech.

See also