Right on! for the genericized noun

They are not capitalizing Coke because, in part of the country, coke could be a 7-Up or “diet dr. pepper.”

wordbrandsThis newspaper writer I’ve met notes: “MS Word kept capitalizing ‘laundromat.’ I checked, and Webster’s agrees. Westinghouse copyrighted it back in 1947. But. . . . really?” This led to this interesting discussion about all the words that, once upon a time, were capitalized because they were brand names but are not now:

App Store, Aspirin, Catseye, Cellophane, Dopp kit [I had to look this up, even though I’ve had one!], Dry ice, Escalator, Heroin, Kerosene, Lanolin, Linoleum, Mimeograph, Primal Therapy, Thermos, Touch-tone, Videotape, Yo-Yo, and Zipper.

And Dumpster. I mean, what else would you CALL that thing? According to this article: “The alternatives recommended by AP (‘trash bin’ and ‘trash container’) are too vague. And the Times definition (‘trash hauling bin’) is too clunky.” I totally agree. So you’re SUPPOSED to Capitalize it, according to the style books, but almost no one does, except spellcheckers. As someone noted about the Dumpster people, “They really got the hold on it. my goal in life is to invent a thing that’s way more popularly known by what I named it than by what it is.”

And the correspondents seemed to get feisty on this branding topic: not capitalizing Kleenex, or Xerox, or Coke because, in part of the country, coke could be a 7-Up or “diet dr. pepper.” Of course, you always have to worry about autocorrect.

You know who gets REALLY fussy about these: The National Association of Realtors. It’s their members who are known as Realtors, and if you are listing houses in the US, and don’t belong to the association, you are NOT a Realtor.

BoingBoing complained about the irritating mid-word capitalization of brand names such as ProQuest or iPhone and PayPal; I would describe that annoying incaps trend, stealing the phrase, as corporate graffiti.

But I draw the line at the lower case for initialization such as ZIP code; ZIP means Zone Improvement Plan.
Logos’ hidden images.

C is for Collective Nouns

Recycle Congress in 2012.

From JEOPARDY! episode which aired on 11/11/11.

A large group of families that are related, it’s from the Gaelic for “family”. Answer below.

Here’s something someone e-mailed me, with some modifications, about collective nouns:

We are all familiar with a

Herd of cows (also the term, not necessarily exclusively, for antelope, boar, buffalo, chamois, chinchillas, deer, donkeys, elephants, elk, giraffes, gnus, goats, hippopotami, horses, kangaroos, llamas, moose, oxen, pigs, seals, walruses, whales, wolves, yaks, and zebras)

a Flock of chickens, (also camels, sheep, and various birds – including seagulls?)

a School of fish (also porpoises and whales)

and a Gaggle of geese.

However, perhaps less widely known are:

a Pride of lions,

a Murder of crows (as well as their cousins the rooks and ravens),

an Exaltation of doves.
And, presumably, because they look so wise:

a Parliament of owls.

Now consider a group of Baboons.
They are the loudest, most dangerous, most obnoxious, most viciously aggressive, and least intelligent of all primates.
And what is the proper collective noun for a group of baboons?

Believe it or not …a Congress!


Go green. Recycle Congress in 2012.

(Does this suggest that places with parliaments are smarter, more civilized – or if you prefer, civilised?)

The JEOPARDY! question: What is clan?

ABC Wednesday, Round 10.

Social media & sharing icons powered by UltimatelySocial