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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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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Why we capitalize all race names but our own

This question about alien species and planets brought up something I've been thinking about on and off for years. We capitalize names of alien races like Vulcan, Timelord, Cylon (well, maybe not ...
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How do you capitalize a proper noun such as “iPhone”?

I was always taught to capitalize the first letter of the first word in a sentence, and also the first letter of proper nouns. In the last few years it's been common for certain firms to name their ...
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How do you spell Muammar Qaddafi?

This name, which is spelled القذافي in Arabic, is spelled in so many different ways in the Latin alphabet: Gadafi, Gadaffi, Gaddafi, Gaddaffi, Gadhafi, Gadhaffi, Ghadafi, Ghadaffi, Ghaddafi, ...
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Why is the “ph” pronounced like a “v” in “Stephen”? Is this the only word like that?

While I know how my name is pronounced, I've run into many non-native english speakers who have stumbled over this unique exception to English. Even in the female name, "Stephanie", the ph is ...
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About definite article before “Earth”, “Moon” and “Sun”

In what cases do we have to put the definite article the before each of these words: Sun Moon Earth and in what cases do we not need to?
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How do I pluralize a name ending in “y”?

Frequently when I refer to or address a family, I do so by pluralizing their last name, e.g., The Smiths, or The Ramones. But suppose I want to address a family whose last name ends in a "y", e.g., ...
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Should “Hell” be capitalized?

I am of the belief that Hell should be capitalized because real or not, it is the name of a place, and thus a proper noun. It should be capitalized correct? I have seen it written without ...
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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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When did we stop translating proper names?

It used to be that one would just translate a proper name that was in another language into English when referring to that entity. For example, William the Conqueror, Christopher Columbus, King ...
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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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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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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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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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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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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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“Are” vs. “is” for proper nouns which sound plural (such as band names)

I was trying to explain to a friend that someone is no longer available on Spotify earlier today so I said the sentence: The Avalanches are no longer available on Spotify. Immediately after ...
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How would you spell “Tehran” in English for it to be pronounced “correctly” (i.e. as in Persian)?

Native English speakers do not pronounce the h in Tehran so it is pronounced like "Teran". But in the original pronunciation in Persian the h is pronounced, resulting in /tehˈɾɒːn/. Is there any ...
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Use of definite article before phrases like Heathrow Airport, Hyde Park, Waterloo Station, Edgware Road and Parliament Square

In this related question (Definite article with proper nouns, titles followed by a common noun), the OP asks if it is grammatical to use the definite article before phrases like Advanced programming ...
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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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Does the abbreviation for Saint in a church name require a period?

In referring to a local church, does the name "St Giles" require a period after the "St"? I was told that to add a period confuses it with the abbreviation for street.
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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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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 did Obama use “a” in “… to hear a King proclaim that …”

From Obama's second inaugural speech: We, the people, declare today that the most evident of truths – that all of us are created equal – is the star that guides us still; just as it guided our ...
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Is “Thank god”, as opposed to “Thank God”, acceptable?

People are quite stingy lately about anything with religious connotations, so I'm worried that the phrase "thank God" might tick some people off. Is "thank god" acceptable? Would that offend people ...
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When referring to a specific war (or other named event), should the word “war” be capitalized when it appears alone?

The Cold War instilled a fear of nuclear war in the public; additionally, the [war] was responsible for an extreme anti-Communist sentiment that lingers to this day. Should the bracketed instance ...
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Is it grammatically correct to use “baby” as a proper noun

A lot of baby books and products use the word baby as you would a proper noun. For example "when lying baby down in the cot" instead of "when lying your baby down in the cot". Another example from a ...
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Come on, don’t be such a nimrod!

According to the OED, the word English Nimrod is derived from the Hebrew, where in Genesis 10:8–9 he is described as ‘a mighty one in the earth’ and ‘a mighty hunter before the Lord’. It is ...
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Why are nouns sometimes pejorative when used attributively?

Certain nouns can often be used as noun adjuncts in place of a corresponding adjective, with no change in literal meaning, where: The noun is not pejorative when used nominatively by itself. Nor is ...
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What does the most common usage of 'Korea' mean in modern-day English-speaking world?

On Meta.Travel.SE, we have a debate whether our 'Korea' tag should be mapped to 'South Korea'. One of the answers - from the moderator who made the synonym mapping - is that common usage of the word ...
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Capitalization of “Internet” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Should the words “internet” and “web” be capitalized? For the most part Internet is capitalized, less frequently it occurs uncapitalized. Is ...
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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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Capitalising the definite article in names

When I was a youngster some mumble-mumble-mumble decades ago, I was taught that, in the instances of names of persons, places, and things which carried the definite article the, the article wasn’t ...
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Argentine or Argentinian?

I was taught in my school days that Argentine was the correct adjective for something relating to the country Argentina. However, these days, even in common speech (but moreover in formal English on ...
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Is “Mecca” capitalized when used figuratively?

Waleed made his pilgrimage to Mecca. This is a given. But I would write: Bombay is India’s entertainment mecca Is this correct, or is Mecca capitalized in its figurative use, as well?
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Capitalization: when does a phrase become a proper noun?

This is a question on capitalization. Proper nouns are capitalized. But how can I tell which parts of a term constitute a proper noun? Take, for example, the nickname for traveler's diarrhea (sorry, ...
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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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Are particular seasons proper nouns?

Should fall be capitalised in the following? If yes, is it because Fall 2011 is a proper noun? Where should an app be released in Fall 2011? Context. In a Wikipedia article, Avatar (2009 ...
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Pronunciation of “Azure” in “Windows Azure”

This is not a techie query. I am just unclear on how to pronounce the word "Azure" which is brand name for Microsoft's cloud service offerings.
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Does one capitalize “communism” and “communist”?

Suppose I have the following sentence: I lived in a communist country during the fall of communism in 1989. Should "communist" and "communism" be capitalized?
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Why isn't “ecliptic” a proper noun?

Why isn't ecliptic a proper noun? There is only one, and it has a name. Example (context): ... the true Sun is not always exactly on the ecliptic for a hypothetical observer at Earth's center, ...
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How do I perform presidential proper noun declension?

I'm unfamiliar with how one approaches the declension of proper nouns, especially as it pertains to presidents, e.g., Jeffersonian. I suspect it's kind of a black art. I need to do this with Coolidge ...
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Words based on the names of gods [closed]

While the word christen means "to baptise" or "to make Christian", in another sense, it has shed its religious connotations to simply mean "to name" or even "use for the first time". Is there any ...
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Why is “a” necessary before “Mr. X” and “Mrs. Y”?

There is the following sentence in the scene a reputed lawyer, Thomas Cohen gives advice to 16-year old client William Kane, the son of deceased bank owner on the issue of inheritance of his father’s ...
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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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What does “Clyst” mean?

I live in the south west of England and there are many villages and roads that feature the word "Clyst". For example, Broadclyst, Clyst St Mary, Clyst Honiton and so on. What does clyst mean, and ...
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Why there is “the” before some names but not others

Is there a rule beyond the common "no the with proper nouns and names" for the following problem? I saw the Empire State Building. We went to the White House. We saw the Golden Gate ...
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Can I say “Do you have a facebook”?

Can I say "Do you have a facebook" to ask if someone has "a Facebook account"? I know it is not grammatically correct. I just wanted to know if people say that or not.
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Should Philip have P. or Ph. as an initial?

In the context of scientific articles and technical white papers, references to other publications typically include the author’s surname with, depending on the format of the specific publication, ...
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Why is “Rosen Plevneliev” pronounced with a /z/?

As I have told you in my previous question, I have heard the CBS news about the Bulgarian president visiting the US here. I don't know why, but the way the reporter has pronounced his name makes me ...