Conceptual modelling is an activity undertaken during information systems development work to build a representation of selected semantics about some real-world domain. Ontological theories have been developed to account for the structure and behavior of the real world in general. In this paper, I discuss why ontological theories can be used to inform conceptual modelling research, practice, and pedagogy. I provide examples from my research to illustrate how a particular ontological theory has enabled me to improve my understanding of certain conceptual modelling practices and grammars. I describe, also, how some colleagues and I have used this theory to generate several counter-intuitive, sometimes surprising predictions about widely advocated conceptual modelling practices - predictions that subsequently were supported in empirical research we undertook. Finally, I discuss several possibilities and pitfalls I perceived to be associated with our using ontological theories to underpin research on conceptual modelling.