A proper noun or proper name is a capitalized noun representing a unique entity as opposed to a common noun, which represents a class of entities or nonunique instances of that class.

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Is the game, “go,” a proper noun? What about “checkers” or “chess”?

The game of Go is... or The game of go is... Apparently the International Go Federation capitalizes it. Its dictionary entry doesn't appear to be (from what I have seen). It seems to fit ...
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Why does Germany's English name differ from its German name?

Germany in German is Deutschland and the language is Deutsch. I'm used to words being anglicized, but why is there a complete replacement in this case?
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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 ...
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Plural of “iPod Touch”

What is the plural of iPod Touch? Should it be iPods Touch or iPod Touches?
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How to handle a name that includes an exclamation point (or other punctuation)?

Certain brands, such as Yahoo!, insist that the exclamation is part of their name. In writing about such a brand or company, is the inclusion of the vanity punctuation right, wrong, or optional? I ...
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Etymology for Mc and O' in names

There is clearly a prefix in names like McDonald, McChrystal, O'Brian, O'Neal What does this Mc and O signify? Looks like Donald, Chrystal, Brian, Neal are perfectly fine names on their own so why is ...
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Why are the United States often referred to as America?

People often refer to the country US as America and to the people from the US as Americans. As far as I know, that's the only case in the world where a continent's name is used for a country's name ...
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How to tell the difference between proper nouns and regular nouns (in certain ambiguous cases)?

"In the Eden story, The Snake engages Eve in dialog." IN this sentence, should the word "Snake" be capitalized? Should the word "The" be capitalized? I assume that only if "The Snake" is a proper ...
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What is the difference between 'Muslim" and 'Islamic'?

I have seen 'Muslim' and 'Islamic' both used as adjectives to describe things relating to Islam. Is there a nuanced difference between the two words? I know that 'Muslim' can also be used as a noun, ...
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When did it become correct to add an “s” to a singular possessive already ending in “‑s”?

According to my grammar book, but at variance to the answer to this question, the correct singular possessive if a word ends in ‑s is: James’s car The grammar book allows exceptions for ...
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Definite article with proper nouns, titles followed by a common noun

Over time I developed this rule where if a title or a proper name is followed by a common noun that represents the class of the entity I am referring to, then I use the definite article. In Example 1, ...
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Why is New York City also called “the Big Apple”?

I have heard many times people say the Big Apple to mean New York City. What is the origin of this nickname?
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Did eBay take the name from a Pig Latin word?

Did eBay take the name from the Pig Latin word for be?
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What is the first recorded appearance of the mistranslation “Red Square”?

Does anybody know when the mistranslation "Red Square" made its first recorded appearance? Have there been any noteworthy attempts at establishing the correct translation "Beautiful Square" at some ...
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Why are days of the week proper nouns?

Is there any particular reason why days of the week are proper nouns?
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Origin of the name Manhattan

What is the origin of the name Manhattan?
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When did presidents start using their middle initial (e.g. JFK)? Was that common of the general population?

For example John F. Kennedy, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Lyndon B. Johnson (and hence JFK, FDR, LBJ). How did this styling originate? It seems to have ended with Nixon. I don't when it started, but there ...
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What do the American nicknames 'Dutch' and 'T-Bone' mean?

Does the nickname Dutch have any significance? I know it was Reagan's, and I'm sure I've come across it in other books/films. Also T-Bone, as in T-Bone Walker, T-Bone Burnett: what does that mean? (I ...
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Where should the comma be placed in the salutation of a letter?

Sometimes I see a comma after the proper name: Hello Mr. Black, In order to give you.... But my native language is not English and I think that the comma in this phrase should be placed ...
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Are there diagnostic tests to distinguish between proper and common nouns?

I'm looking for some fill in the blank type questions that if one were to fill in the blank and it sounded right to a fluent speaker, then it would have to be a proper noun, (or it would have to be a ...