What's in a name?

Andrew Dalke dalke at acm.org
Thu May 25 11:21:25 EDT 2000

Courageous wrote:
>In plain English, case appears to be optional for the most part,
>only assisting readers in reading, I think. Can you name some situations
>in reading and writing english (heh) where case is essential to being

Elsewhere in this forest of capitalization threads, I posted some
examples.  Here's they are again:

  Where is the polish container?
  Where is the Polish container?

The first is where you might keep shoe shine, and the second is a
container made in Poland.  Unlike the rest of these examples, the
two words are even pronounced differently!

Here's another:
  Do you like china?        -- asking about ceramic preferences
  Do you like China?        -- asking about country preferences

Stretching some,
  That is my french toast.  -- bread dunked in a mixture of eggs and milk,
                                then toasted on the stove top
  That is my French toast.  -- toast from France, or a congratulatory
                                remark to be made in French.

Switching to names of people instead of countries:
  If it weren't for Faith ...  -- person named Faith helped out
  If it weren't for faith ...  -- belief helped out

And corporate names:
  What was next?    -- curious about ordering
  What was NeXT?    -- curious about the company Jobs started after
                         leaving Apple.

                    dalke at acm.org

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