This might be silly to ask, and possibly more theoretical than anything else, but it's something I've always pondered.

My first name is Hope. When I was in Elementary School and first learned about abstract nouns, I fell in love with the idea of having such a name - it feels almost magical to me. However sometimes I wonder, does my abstract name technically become a proper noun because it's my name? Or am I still allowed to keep some of that magic and call it an abstract noun?

Thank you!

  • 2
    Your name is a proper noun, because with other nouns, you can do things like the X (the hope), whereas with your name, *the Hope doesn't quite work. That's not to say your name isn't special, and it's semantically still abstract, but syntactically, it's definitely a proper noun.
    – jimsug
    Commented May 5, 2014 at 8:58
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    That is exactly the sort of explanation I needed. Thank you so much!
    – Hope
    Commented May 5, 2014 at 8:59
  • In many instances, names are chosen on the basis of the meaning associated with them: Peace, Faith, Margaret (= Child of light in Persian) ... There may be associations that are more arbitrary. I'm afraid I usually think of one of my favourite comedians when I hear 'Hope' used as a name: 'All words are infinitely polysemous,' as I think Phil White [Wordwizard] said. Mind you, there are also names to avoid. Mr and Mrs Dwyer perhaps shouldn't name their daughter 'Barbara'. Commented May 5, 2014 at 9:28
  • I have a suggestion. Obviously, your name is a Proper Noun; however, if it is that important to you, I suggest that you create a pun that uses your name as an abstract noun for the people you meet/know: "I am here to give Hope." "Hope is all I am, and Hope is all I have." Commented May 5, 2014 at 16:35

1 Answer 1


The answer is that the status and properties of the word clearly differ according to the context. Your name is Hope rather than the Hope or a Hope, whereas the abstract noun hope from which it is derived behaves like any other abstract noun. But that much must already be obvious to you, so I'm not sure what else you want to know.

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