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.

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!

share|improve this question
1  
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 May 5 at 8:58
1  
That is exactly the sort of explanation I needed. Thank you so much! –  Hope May 5 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'. –  Edwin Ashworth May 5 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." –  Apple Freejeans May 5 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.

share|improve this answer

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.