In this sentence: "Bakken is the world's oldest tivoli", must tivoli be capitalized ? My program's atleast trying to make me think I must.

  • Would you write 'new york' (sorry, 'new amsterdam')? – Edwin Ashworth Aug 24 '14 at 21:46
  • Bakken is not the world’s oldest Tivoli—that honour belongs to the Italian town, which has been around for almost 3,000 years. Bakken is rather the world’s oldest amusement park. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Oct 14 '14 at 15:23

You're Danish ... ? I'm confused, is "tivoli" commonly used as a word to mean "any" amusement park?

If so - yeah - leave it capital, if you're writing in English.

It would be like saying:

"< some theme park > is the world's oldest Disneyland."


"< some fast food chain > is the world's oldest McDonalds."

Here, you're using "Disneyland" to stand in for any theme park;

you're using "McDonalds" to stand in for any fast food chain.

Note that we often in English use "specific things" in a "general way" like that - it's a smartass sound that magazine writers like; it makes you look pseudointelligent.

So yeah in these examples, you're very much still talking about McDonalds or Disneyland, so they would be capitalised.

Same deal using "Tivoli" as a "generalised way to refer to that category of thing."

Picture of the Tivoli Gardens

I've noticed that my fellow european languages, have, very different/confusing takes on when to use capital letters. (You need only look at, say, words for days of the week.)

So, if you're writing in English, yeah it would look totally weird if you have lower-case. I can't think of any reason or situation you'd ever write "Tivoli" in lower-case. Exactly as with, say simply, a name - Smith - you'd simply never see Smith in lowercase. Hope it helps in some way!

  • 2
    I would upvote this answer if the editorializing ("pseudointelligent") was removed. As it is, Joe, I'm tempted to downvote (but I'll abstain, for the moment). – Dan Bron Aug 24 '14 at 15:58
  • Big Dan! Dude - you've gotta take every possible opportunity to rip on advertising copywriters. If they're not available .. journalists! :-O – Fattie Aug 24 '14 at 15:59
  • On a serious note I feel bad I don't know the technical terms when you use a proper name, or single thing, in that way, as a general perhaps category is the best word. – Fattie Aug 24 '14 at 16:01
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    The technical term is metonymy and it enjoys a long and distinguished history (unless, of course, you consider Shakespeare a pseudointellectual). – Dan Bron Aug 24 '14 at 16:04
  • Hmm, isn't metonymy more like (say) Hollywood to mean the film industry. (Many examps on the wiki page, say "Australia votes!" and so on.) Is this a type of metonymy? ("Using one of a type to reference the entire category or kind") Example in the southern US, "Coke" often means ALL soft-drinks (confusingly to outsiders!); traditionally in outback Australia "Toyota" was used for any brand 4x4. (I see this less often, other than with brands like Hoover.) – Fattie Aug 24 '14 at 16:27

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