Definitions of 'proper noun' describe it as a noun designating a particular being or thing.

But that is not enough, because in "I am riding my bike.", 'my bike' is a particular bike.

So the definitions add that a proper noun does not take a limiting modifier (such as 'my', 'this', 'a', 'an', ...).

Does anyone know of a satisfactory definition of 'proper noun' that does not resort to the limiting- modifier exclusion?
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PS: I use 'address' in its widest possible sense.
This is a fairly appropriate definition.

It's my first impression. I will think over about it....
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Hello Roro

Thank you for letting me know the URL. I had a look over the article. I could read all the words there but what is told there sounds kind of gibberish to me. This does not mean the author is wrong. It simply means I'm a being far from a philosopher.

I quoted OED's description in the previous post just to suggest the absence of limiting modifiers would not be an essential attribute of "proper nouns". I don't have any intention to oppose you deepening your thought over what a "proper noun" really is

I see! Thank you!
Thanks to everyone for digging up my post on proper nouns from last year and making helpful comments.

I think there are two levels of discussion:

1. Linguistic. Discuss the use of proper nouns so that one may communicate relatively clearly.

2. Philosophical. Discuss all possible ambiguities, vagueness, and misunderstandings that may attend the use of proper nouns.

While I am interested in the philosophical discussion, it is a "bridge too far" at this time. Also, to mix the discussions is confusing.

I. A definition of 'proper noun'.

--The definitions in Webster's and the AHD are in my post of 11-29-2004. They both mention that proper nouns do not take limiting modifiers.

--paco2004 gave the OED's: "a particular individual object...."

--Mr. Pedantic: "A proper noun denotes an object whose address [in its widest possible sense] does not change with a change of speaker or situation."

--The article "Names" in the Encyclopedia Britannica ((c) 1988) has the following definition of 'name', which applies to 'proper noun': "A name is a word or group of words used to refer to an individual entity (real or imaginary); the name singles out this entity by directly pointing to it, not by specifying it as a member of a class."

Britannica points out that in "The Colorado is a beautiful river," "Colorado is a name. But in "The river that flows through Austin is beautiful," "the subject is not a name but rather a nominal phrase that specifies one member of the whole class of rivers."

Likewise for my earlier example, "my bike" in "I am riding my bike" is a nominal phrase. "Bike" is a common noun given specificity by "my."

II. The issue of limiting modifiers.

--Only two of the above five definitions mention limiting modifiers. Part of the information lexicographers often include in their definitions of words is how the words are used in the language. I think the mentions of limiting modifiers are just usage notes: they help identify and differentiate proper nouns but are not essential to the definition.

--'The' is a limiting modifier. I can only think that it is implicitly understood that 'the' -- unlike the other limiting modifiers -- is used with proper nouns.

III. Multiple objects with the same proper noun.

--"There are three Joans in this class" is short for "There are three people with the name 'Joan' in this class."

--"Would you like to see my Eiffel Tower?" is short for "Would you like to see my toy replica of the Eiffel Tower?"

--"I'm going to buy a Ford Emotion: automobile." I think you can view 'Ford' as an adjectival noun or as the name of a specific class of automobiles.

--Britannica notes that "...names of this type frequently lose the character of names and develop into common nouns." For example, 'xerox' may now be written lower-case.
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Hello, rvw, and thank you for your thorough summary of the points.
I'm becoming interested in the subject more and more, so I'd like to give some another viewpoint: the treatment of terms in Montague Grammar (because it's the most important feature of MG. (I don't know, however, perhaps it's beyond my ability...). It will take some time, so I'd like to see you later.

PS. Thank you for your kind help.
Hello, rvw, I am really sorry !! I didn't pay much attention to your words

I want to apologize to everyone ... for causing a headache....
(please edit my writings..!)
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Hi Roro,

Please don't feel there is any need to apologise. Your contribution is excellent.

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