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French proper nouns

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What is a proper noun in French ? 

A proper noun (French: un nom propre) is a word that allows to designate persons or objects of the same category. It is always written in capital letters and it does not necessarily have a precise meaning

Some proper names are used with determinants: un, une, des, le, la, les etc...  except in some cases.

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List of French proper nouns ? 

Here you will find an overview of proper nouns and the catergory they belong to: 

Names and surnamesNames of animalsNames of cities, countries, objects, nationalities
DupontGarfieldLa Loire
Paul DupontHamtaroLe Mans
HenriRexLa Tour Eiffel
Jean-PierreRoukyLes Écossais
VictorSamLa France
MarieFiliLe Colisée
NoéZouLondon Bridge
LouisLiluMuraille de Chine

When to use French proper nouns ? 

Categories of proper nouns 

Nouns can be used to designate a person or object in a unique and individual way. There are different categories:

1. Surname and name of a person 

  • Je m'appelle Nicolas Anelka. (My name is Nicolas Anelka)

2. Historical characters

  • La jeune guerrière s'appelait Jeanne d'Arc. (The young warrior's name was Joan of Arc)
  • Il était surnommé Napoleon III. (He was called Napoleon III)
  • J'adore l'histoire de Cléopatre. (I love the story of Cleopatra)

​3. Names of countries

  • Italie 
  • France 
  • Irlande 

4. Names of regions

  • Texas
  • Latium
  • California
  • Angleterre du Nord-Est (North East England)

5. Names of monuments

  • la Tour Eiffel (the Eiffel tower)
  • le Colisée (the Colloseum)
  • la Statue de la Liberté (the Statue of Liberty)
  • le musée du Louvre (the museum of Louvre)

6. Names of godheads 

  • Bouddha
  • Dalai-Lama
  • Mohammed
  • Moïse
  • Jésus-Christ
  • Dieu 

7. Titles of artworks, role plays

  • Roméo et Juliette (Romeo and Juliet)
  • les Misérables (the Miserables)
  • Guernica
  • la Joconde (Mona Lisa)

8. Names of brands

  • Adidas 
  • Nike
  • Lacoste
  • Dior
  • Chanel 

Plural of proper nouns

As a general rule, proper nouns are invariable even if there is a plural determinant. But there are different rules regarding the plural of proper nouns:​

  • There are proper nouns that are composed, in this case, they do not take a capital letter but remain invariable.

Exemple: J'ai mangé des Saint-Nectaire. I ate Saint-Nectaire (type of french cheese).

  • The proper nouns of dynasties agree in the plural.

Exemple: les Tudors (The Tudors).

Particularities and exceptions

There are many particularities and exceptions that are important to consider:

  • Proper names are not attached to a determinant except for certain countries and area names, names of inhabitants, names of monuments, and titles of works.
  • The proper name almost always has a unique meaning, unlike common nouns.
  • Some literary style figures use proper nouns as common nouns (this is called an antonomase) and in this case, proper nouns can agree.
  • The names of days and months are not proper nouns, sp they can agree in the plural. 


  • les Français. (the French)
  • les Britanniques. (British people)
  • le Colisée (the Colosseum)
  • les Misérables (the Miserables)


  1. Fill in the blank exercise about the proper nouns
  2. Fill in the blank exercise about articles with proper nouns

Fill in the blank exercise about the proper nouns

Fill in the blank exercise about articles with proper nouns

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