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Thread: proper nouns

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    Default proper nouns

    I am writing about my concern over a particular question asked during class. I have practiced (reluctantly) that the specific noun ("the sun," or as I would like to write it, "The Sun") should not be capitalized. I don't know why it shouldn't! It is a specific thing, or place. Please, clarify for me!?

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    Some do indeed capitalize the name of our star, the Sun, on the theory, I suppose, that that is its name. Usually, however, it is not capitalized.

    Just because something refers to a specific place that doesn't mean we capitalize it. If I write, "The dog is in the yard by the house" I capitalize neither yard nor house even though I am referring to a specific yard and house.

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    Default Re: proper nouns

    Quote Originally Posted by EMAIL REMOVED - Send PM to This User Instead
    I am writing about my concern over a particular question asked during class. I have practiced (reluctantly) that the specific noun ("the sun," or as I would like to write it, "The Sun") should not be capitalized. I don't know why it shouldn't! It is a specific thing, or place. Please, clarify for me!?
    • The rule is to capitalize proper nouns (also called proper names). A proper noun denotes a unique entity.


    The above rule was adopted into English from Latin and Greek. Today, what we consider to be proper nouns: the moon and the sun, astrological bodies in the Solar System, are not capitalized unless they appear in a sentence that refers to other astronomical bodies.

    The reason being, in the past, in our history, the moon and the sun were not viewed as entities. They were thought of as tools:

    The moon was used to tell the yearly cycle. ('mona" Old English)
    The sun was used to tell time. ('sunne' Old English)

    Tools were not capitalized in the Latin and Greek tradition.

    These days, people are trying to change that kind of thinking by recommending we capitalize Moon and Sun and Earth:

    The International Astronomical Union formally recommends that the initial letters of the names of individual astronomical objects should be printed as capitals (see the IAU Style Manual, Trans. Int. Astron. Union, volume 20B, 1989; Chapter 8, page S30); e.g., Earth, Sun, Moon, etc.

    http://www.iau.org/IAU/FAQ/namecaps.html

    :D

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    I rather agree with capitalizing the name of our star, the Sun. Also, all the other planets have proper names; why not Earth? Finally, since the Moon will then be green with envy, we should appease it by giving it its proper name too.

    :wink:

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