Capital letter in animal character's name

Laablae

Member
Thai
Hi,
I noticed that in storybooks the author writes his/her animal characters' names (that look like common nouns) in various ways like
- Mother Hen
- the Mother Hen
- mother hen (without an article) like "'......,' said mother hen"
- Baby Lion
- grumpy Baby Lion
- or even little lion (without an article) like "Hi, little lion."
Is there any rule in capitalizing or not capitalizing the name of the animal characters?
Thanks!
 
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  • Barque

    Senior Member
    Tamil
    When words like "little lion" or "mother hen" are used as proper nouns/names throughout the story, they are likely to be capitalised. If they are used in a more general sense they'll be written with small initial letters.
     
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    heypresto

    Senior Member
    English - England
    If it's the character's actual name, I would expect it to be capitalised, but if it is just a description of the character, then it wouldn't be capitalised.

    'The baby lion ate the mother hen. "Oh, Baby Lion, what have you done?" asked Mother Goose.'


    Cross-posted.
     

    Laablae

    Member
    Thai
    When words like "little lion" or "mother hen" are used as proper nouns/names through out the story, they are likely to be capitalised. If they are used in a more general sense they'll be written with small initial letters.
    So if it is a general sense like you said, can it be used without an article a/an/the too?
     

    entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    No, lower-case 'little lion' or 'mother hen' is an ordinary noun phrase like 'red pen' or 'tall tree' or 'young woman'. It requires the normal grammar of noun phrase. The expression 'said mother hen' is wrong for the same reason 'said old man' is wrong. An old man, or the old man, or a mother hen, or the mother hen. If it's used as a name it has to be Mother Hen, just as the old man's name has to be John Smith, not john smith.

    The book you're looking at might be badly edited.
     

    Laablae

    Member
    Thai
    If it's the character's actual name, I would expect it to be capitalised, but if it is just a description of the character, then it wouldn't be capitalised.

    'The baby lion ate the mother hen. "Oh, Baby Lion, what have you done?" asked Mother Goose.'


    Cross-posted.
    Thank you, heypresto, and what about the way animals in Aesop's fable are named? Like the Rabbit, the Turtle, the Crow etc. why do they also have "the" before their animal titles-- is there any particular reason or does that cause any effect to readers?
     
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