Topics related to given names, surnames, and linguistic aspects of naming in English.

learn more… | top users | synonyms

1
vote
2answers
46 views

Sugarcane or Sugar cane? [duplicate]

Is there a difference between "sugar cane" and sugarcane? Is sugarcane wrong? What is the gramatical rule for joining two names like that? I have found 13.500 entries on google for sugarcane, but ...
3
votes
2answers
130 views

Why is Greece not called in English by the name Hellas? [duplicate]

The Greeks call their country Hellas and themselves Hellenes. The names Greece and Greek are of Roman origin and were adopted from Latin Graecus into old High German as Crêch and then in all ...
2
votes
0answers
62 views

going home and going to work [duplicate]

The other day I've learned that you cannot use "to" in the sentence "I am going (to) home". At the same time, you should use "to" with other place names. For example, I am going to work. Could ...
1
vote
2answers
64 views

How to correctly abbreviate name [on hold]

Please advice on how to correctly abbreviate name. Which are grammatically correct? (if there are more correct forms please kindly add them as well) NOTE, If there is no correct way, please point ...
0
votes
0answers
36 views

Mobi as a name prefix [on hold]

I'm about to create a new business name, using Mobi as a first part of the name. Someting like: MobiChat, MobiWork, MobiScan, MobiLease, you get the idea. Does that sound unusual to a native English ...
1
vote
0answers
51 views

Why are surnames often misspellings of English words? [duplicate]

Why do English surnames so often seem to be derived from slight misspellings of common English words? Weekes Thorne Browne Lilley Keene Paige Lowe Hooke Hawthorne Sargent Whyte Chappell Horne ad ...
1
vote
1answer
53 views

Plural of “dibamus” [closed]

Dibamus is a genus of legless lizards in the family Dibamidae, of the infraorder Dibamia. Genera are usually given in singular, so what is the correct plural of Dibamus? Families and orders are ...
0
votes
1answer
58 views

How to pronounce Alois in A Dog of Flanders? [closed]

The e-book I have downloaded from Amazon has Alois, but Wikipedia seems to have Aloise. I do not know which one is correct in the first place. I shall assume Alois is the correct one. A Dog of ...
1
vote
2answers
54 views

Which article is used between a “name” and a “tagline” [closed]

Suppose, I am selling a new product named as: "Innob" and there is a tagline followed by it: "___, new breath in (the) town". Which article shall I use between the name and the tagline ("the" vs ...
2
votes
4answers
2k views

What is the meaning of P.S. in a name?

I have a project to parse names and there's a thing called title (mr. dr.), suffix (esq. ph.d.) and generation (ii, iii, jr.), but I don't have the faintest idea what "p.s." is. It's in the following ...
0
votes
1answer
2k views

First name or last name with “Sir”

If my teacher's first name is Robert and his last name is Dowry, and I have to send him an email, then which of the following will be correct? Dear Sir Dowry, Dear Sir Robert, Dear Sir ...
3
votes
3answers
1k views

How does one address a blended family in which the members have different surnames?

I am confused about how to address a family in which all the members have kept their original surname. What is the proper way to address such a family in a note to a family which consists of a single ...
2
votes
2answers
156 views

How do I address an envelope to a married couple, who are respectively Professor and Dr?

The form Mr & Mrs (or Ms) gives way to Dr & Mrs, or Professor & Mrs, or The Rev'd and Mrs, where the lady is a traditionalist who does not have a profession of her own, and stays at home ...
62
votes
3answers
8k views

Is there a single term for “nieces and nephews”?

I find it handy when talking about my sons and daughters I can just say my children. It's nice to say nieces instead of sibling's daughters. I wonder if there is a similar term for nieces and nephews ...
0
votes
1answer
41 views

How to hyphenate names starting with “Mc”

Take a name starting with Mc, like McDonald. How do you hyphenate it? McDon-ald or Mc-Don-ald?
-5
votes
1answer
79 views

Tolerance in English for names with vulgar everyday meaning? [closed]

Why does English (and perhaps other languages) allow collisions between names and nouns with vulgar/offensive meanings? I'm thinking of course of Dick vs. dick. Possible explanations (in no ...
-2
votes
1answer
75 views

What characters are used in English for a person's name? [closed]

Obviously the letters A-Z (upper and lower case) are used in a person's name. Last names like "Smith-Brown", "Van Buren", "O'Brian" also use -, space and '. Historical ÆLFRÆD and novel names like ...
59
votes
2answers
5k views

Why is Sean pronounced Shawn?

I've always had this question about the pronunciation of Sean. Is Sean a word from another language? Is it actually not pronounced Shawn and instead it's some sound between Shawn and Seen? Also, why ...
6
votes
6answers
214 views

Is Father Christmas unwelcome in the United States?

Is the name Father Christmas used in the US or is it mainly Santa Claus (and Santa)? Does Father Christmas sound unusual or out of place if it was used in the US? Would it be laughed at? As an ...
4
votes
2answers
508 views

Why is Dolge not a Christian name?

(Note: This might be better suited for a different stack site, but since literature closed, I thought this was the closest related site). I've recently been re-reading Great Expectations, and, in ...
23
votes
2answers
2k views

Why “Jesu” rather than “Jesus” in this carol?

Why does this bit of O Come, All Ye Faithful use Jesu rather than Jesus? Yea, Lord, we greet thee Born this happy morning Jesu, to thee be glory given Am I right in my thinking that Jesus is ...
4
votes
2answers
7k views

First name initial format “A. B. Lastname” vs “A.-B. Lastname”

Sometimes I see names abbreviated sometimes as A. B. Lastname and some other times A.-B. Lastname. Is there a difference? Does the former means it is a middle name, and the latter means it is a part ...
20
votes
2answers
46k views

Which singular names ending in “s” form possessives with only a bare apostrophe?

Many questions already ask about this topic (What is the correct possessive for nouns ending in s? , Adding apostrophe-s to a singular noun already ending in “s”, etc.) and their answers vary, but ...
2
votes
2answers
85 views

Is the title of a US President permanent? [duplicate]

Ultimately I'm wondering whether the descriptive in "former President [Name]" is superfluous or necessary in everyday usage, such as when talking to an audience who knows who the current president is. ...
-5
votes
1answer
1k views

Balthazar, 'Caspar' and Melchior [closed]

The names traditionally given to the three Wise Men are Balthazar, Caspar and Melchior. But a friend of mine told me that in Australian English Caspar is not used. They use, instead, Gasper. Can ...
4
votes
3answers
437 views

Titles of British Lords [closed]

In an old episode of The West Wing, a British Ambassador is referred to as "Lord John Marbury". Ignoring that once he became Ambassador he'd be Mr Ambassador, what are the possible correct addresses? ...
1
vote
4answers
211 views

Special name for royal titles?

Is there a name for the title/nickname that some members of royalty get? For example, "King Larry the Kind".
2
votes
3answers
4k views

When is it appropriate to refer to someone as Dr. [Surname]?

I know that the title Dr. is often used to refer to those who practice medicine. For example, today I am going to see Dr. [Surname]. But are we in general expected to use the title when we refer to ...
6
votes
3answers
259 views

What word describes languages that are written left-to-right, top-to-bottom?

I am trying to describe the set of languages that, like English, are written left to right, and was trying "romanized", but "romanized" describes transliteration to a different set of characters, such ...
0
votes
0answers
37 views

How should I include names which are written in non-Latin scripts in a list of software authors?

I have a list of the authors of a software program, some of whose contributors are from such places as China and Russia. I would like to include both their transliterated Latin-script names and their ...
-2
votes
1answer
28 views

Does “playhill” make sense as an english word? [closed]

I'd like to use the word "playhill" for a gaming website address like playhill.net - does this word combination work in native english? Or does it sound very odd?
15
votes
2answers
1k views

Family name pluralization

When pluralizing family (last) names that also happen to be common English words, does the pluralization follow the same rules as the common word? For example, "the Smith family" can be pluralized as ...
3
votes
2answers
11k views

What is the meaning of “Dick” when it is a person's name?

Some people are named "Dick". What does "Dick" mean when it is a name?
6
votes
7answers
3k views

Is using the last name of a person without a title an accepted way of addressing?

I always heard people use Mr/Mrs/Miss/Ms before people's names and that is how, I thought, it was done until I watched one of those Harry Potter films in which Malfoy (Sr) addresses Albus Dumbledore ...
6
votes
3answers
2k views

How to pronounce Louis Armstrong

I think the standard Irish/British pronunciation is as in Louis the king. But musicians seem to say "Lewis". I've heard people say Joe Louis as in the king as well. Is this wrong?
2
votes
2answers
804 views

Why do people keep mispronouncing my name, Divine?

My name is Divine--like the English word, "divine". There are no tildes, no accent marks, no umlauts, or funky letters like æ...nothing shady going on here. Yet every time someone reads my name, i ...
1
vote
3answers
4k views

Is there any convention for pronouncing proper nouns?

Is there any convention as to how proper nouns with origins outside English should be pronounced? I have heard claims to the effect that "a proper noun can be pronounced however you wish"; is that ...
16
votes
4answers
2k views

Why does the name 'John' have an 'h' in it?

I have always wondered this since I was little, and nobody seems to have asked or answered this before anywhere on the internet. What is the origin of the 'h', and why is it still with us?
7
votes
4answers
3k views

Different pronunciation between Thomas and Theodore

Disclaimer: I'm no native speaker. Thomas gets pronounced with a starting "T" (the "h" is silent), while Theodore with a "Th". What rule is followed here?
2
votes
2answers
713 views

Why there is an “h” in proper names like Afghanistan, Baghdad and Lamborghini?

An "h" may be used to prevent the "g" from being soft, as in spaghetti, but there is no need for an "h" in the mentioned proper names.
1
vote
1answer
92 views

Using a name as a contraction with “is”, syntax looks possessive?

"Bob is fat" Would it be proper to do "Bob's fat"? To me, this looks possessive, as if we're talking about his fat rather than using "fat" as an adjective. What's the proper way to do this?
18
votes
13answers
2k views

A word that describes something that has been given a name

Is there a word besides named that describes something that has been given a proper name? For example, a guitar is just a guitar, but if I call it, say, Shirley, is there another word that would now ...
1
vote
2answers
99 views

In what order should you say people's names?

I know that when you include someone, you say their name first. For example: "John and I went to the beach" How do you order the names when there are more than one additional people? For example: ...
1
vote
1answer
57 views

“Knows an awful lot about the Dark Arts, Snape”

He teaches Potions, but he doesn't want to—everyone knows he's after Quirrell's job. Knows an awful lot about the Dark Arts, Snape. From time to time I stumble upon this type of speech with ...
7
votes
3answers
2k views

Do these river names mean anything?

I was planning a little trip the other day when I noticed that a number of rivers in Britain have common names. The ones I spotted were Avon, Ouse and Esk. Is there a reason for this? Are these names ...
8
votes
3answers
1k views

What does “long” mean before a name?

What does long mean before a name? Like Long John Silver in Treasure Island or Long Susan in Ripper Street.
0
votes
1answer
40 views

Are roller coasters proper names?

I want to write a sentence like this: I look up at the new roller coaster they built called Superman. Superman is the name of the roller coaster. Do I need to do anything special with the name? for ...
0
votes
2answers
117 views

Why does a company's name spelled like a name, even if it's spelled differently in its logo? [closed]

There are companies which spell their name in their logo in a non standard way, specifically in all caps or all lower case. Some examples are: Intel Acer Yahoo! Yet, when their names are ...
3
votes
4answers
236 views

How to pronounce the family name “Penhallow”

How to pronounce the family name Penhallow? I'm translating the story "A Tangled Web" by L. M. Montgomery into Russian.
1
vote
2answers
207 views

How do I pronounce the name “Aurelius”?

I was reading a book out-loud and came across this name. At the time, I pronounced it Aurelius: ur-ell-ee-us The more I think about it, the more I'm sure it is not correct. The word Aura would ...