Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

From Leaky abstraction (Wikipedia),

As coined by Spolsky, the Law of Leaky Abstractions states "All non-trivial abstractions, to some degree, are leaky."

I am not sure if Law of Leaky Abstractions is correct. Which of the following statements are correct (if any)?

  1. Law of Leaky Abstractions is a proper noun. It is correct as is.
  2. Leaky Abstractions is a proper noun, and it should be law of Leaky Abstractions
  3. It should be law of leaky abstractions (as in several places in the original source). No proper nouns or capitalisation. Law of Leaky Abstractions is an example of willy-nilly capitalisation of words.
share|improve this question
add comment

2 Answers

The Law of Leaky Abstractions is a title, not a noun. There are no nouns in that title that are proper nouns. They are all common nouns, but they are capitalized because they are in a title.

share|improve this answer
    
The quote in the question is not a title. The sentence is in the body text of the Wikipedia article: "As coined by Spolsky, the Law of Leaky Abstractions states "All non-trivial abstractions, to some degree, are leaky."". Do you mean the capitalisation from the title has leaked into the body text and statement 3 is correct? –  Peter Mortensen Feb 2 '11 at 22:55
4  
@Peter Mortensen, it's not a title in the sense that you assume, ie. on the wikipedia page. It's a title of a concept / axiom, in the same way that "Murphy's Law" is. So it's proper usage is to be capitalized. –  Slomojo Feb 2 '11 at 23:38
add comment

Option 1: Yes, Law of Leaky Abstractions is a proper noun. This "law" is a singular, named entity and it is appropriate to treat its name in the fashion of any other proper noun.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.