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Thread: Ships' names

  1. #1
    Jack8rkin is offline Member
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    Default Ships' names

    Hello everybody!
    Here is a question about names of ships, but first look at the examples below:
    1. Nuclear attack sub USS HG Rickover launched
    2. USS Skipjack (SSN 585) attack submarine on sea trials
    3. Soviet nuclear powered guided missile cruiser Kirov at anchor

    Names of ships are placed differently in the above examples. In ex. 1 and 3 first the description of the ship comes and then her proper name. Ex. 2 shows a different order.
    Is there a special rule for such cases?

    What am I to do with icebreaker names? (This seems to be the same case as with the above names).

    What sounds better to you: "The nuclear icebreaker Lenin" or "the Lenin nuclear icebreaker"?

    Thank you.

  2. #2
    Coolfootluke is offline Member
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    Default Re: Ships' names

    I am not a teacher.

    Number 2 is somewhat unnatural. I would like to see a comma or two in there: "USS Skipjack (SSN 585), attack submarine, on sea trials". That looks like a caption, and captions have a style all their own, partly because they have to be short. Don't look to captions for usage.

    "The Lenin nuclear icebreaker" is impossible. You could have "the Lenin, a nuclear icebreaker", but look for "the nuclear icebreaker Lenin". Icebreakers are ships like any other. We italicize ship names.

  3. #3
    Jack8rkin is offline Member
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    Default Re: Ships' names

    Thank you.

    In fact, those are captions for pictures in a certain presentation (by an American author).

    Opinions are still welcome!

  4. #4
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    Barb_D is online now Moderator
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    Default Re: Ships' names

    Side note:
    Ships are the big gray things on top of the water.
    Boats are the big gray things that go underwater.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

  5. #5
    5jj's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ships' names

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack8rkin View Post
    In fact, those are captions for pictures in a certain presentation (by an American author).
    Please give that sort of information when you ask the question.

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    Jack8rkin is offline Member
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    Default Re: Ships' names

    I thought the things that go underwater are called subs? Aren't they black rather than grey?
    What about proper names? I'm asking about a general rule for writing proper names of ships.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Ships' names

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack8rkin View Post
    I thought the things that go underwater are called subs? Aren't they black rather than grey?
    They are indeed submarines/subs, but submariners generally speak of their boat, not their ship, when they are not being specific. The grey of submarines in many navies certainly appears to have got darker in recent years.

    Incidentally, a not-infallible rule for surface vessels is that a boat is small enough to go on a ship, but a ship is too big to go on a boat.
    What about proper names? I'm asking about a general rule for writing proper names of ships.
    Ship's names and descriptions of what the ship is are treated pretty much in the same way as other names:

    1. Nuclear attack sub USS HG Rickover launched
    Defense Secretary Bloggs greeted by King.
    2. USS Skipjack (SSN 585) attack submarine on sea trials (Like Coolfootluke, I'd like commas in there.)
    George Gawmless, British Foreign Secretary, arrives in Zurich.
    3. Soviet nuclear powered guided missile cruiser Kirov at anchor
    3. Recently retired General Secretary Blobbov on the beach.

  8. #8
    Jack8rkin is offline Member
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    Default Re: Ships' names

    Thank you very much.

    I know subs are sometimes called boats.

    Navy subs are generally black because there is rubber on their outer surfaces to reduce the noise. Their bottoms are usually painted red.
    Civil subs may be of any colour imaginable, because they wear no rubber on them.

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