English doubts

Discussion in 'English Only' started by clapec, Jun 21, 2005.

  1. clapec

    clapec Senior Member

    Italy
    Italian
    1) to wave a flag OVER or ABOVE one's head? are they both correct?
    2) a commission IS discussing or ARE discussing a problem?
    3) can I write "river Thames" or do I have to use the capital letter also for "river"?
    4) London's "big wheel" or "Big Wheel"? I found it in a dictation, and I didn't use the capital letter because I thought that it wasn't the name of the wheel (isn't it called London Eye?!)
    thank you very much in advance
    Claudia
     
  2. elroy

    elroy Sharp-heeled Mod

    Chicago, IL
    US English/Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    My suggestions...
     
  3. clapec

    clapec Senior Member

    Italy
    Italian
    thank you very much! :D
    other suggestions?
     
  4. mjscott Senior Member

    Pacific Northwest, USA
    American English
    Welcome to the forum, clapec!

    elroy-
    river Thames is more BE than AE. When we are naming a river, say, the Columbia River, we capitalized River along with the name of the river. The first time I heard the term river before the proper name of the river is in the song, "Michael Rowed the Boat Ashore." The Highwaymen also do not capitalized it.

    http://homepage.ntlworld.com/gary.hart/lyricsh/highwaymen.html

    Does someone have a link to a cite where this is specifically addressed--capitalizing river if it's after the name of the river, and not capitalizing it if it is in front of the river?

    The same happens with mountains, such as Mount Rainier--but we capitalize mount if it is before the name of the mountain (--at least here in the PacNW).
     
  5. elroy

    elroy Sharp-heeled Mod

    Chicago, IL
    US English/Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    That goes without question. The word "river" is always capitalized if it is part of the name and comes after the name.

    As for "river Thames," I think that's said in the US as well, at least in reference to that river. Either way, it looks better with the "r" in lower case - why I cannot tell you. ;)
     
  6. panjandrum

    panjandrum Occasional Moderator

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Neither can I, because it will most often appear with a capital R, River Thames - check Google.

    Eh?
    "Michael row the boat ashore"
    ...includes "Jordan's river ....." which isn't really relevant.
    Check Google on "Jordan River" - mostly capitalised. Same with River Jordan.
     
  7. elroy

    elroy Sharp-heeled Mod

    Chicago, IL
    US English/Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    How would you prefer it?
     
  8. panjandrum

    panjandrum Occasional Moderator

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Ah, didn't I make that clear? Perhaps I was just being a little reluctant to contradict you directly. I meant to say that I couldn't understand why you think it looks better with the "r" in lower case, because it looks odd to me with a little "r".

    I would expect to see big "R"s on the River Thames, River Jordan, Jordan River, and on other rivers that came to mind as I was thinking about it.
     
  9. elroy

    elroy Sharp-heeled Mod

    Chicago, IL
    US English/Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    Well, I wasn't sure. Your comment was ambiguous: it could have been sarcastic (which it was) or genuinely confused.

    I don't know why it looks better to me with a lower-case "r." Maybe because there's a "the" there. It's an unusual construction anyway; most of the time you say "Jordan River," etc.

    But I guess you're right: Google knows what he/she/it's doing. ;)
     
  10. mjscott Senior Member

    Pacific Northwest, USA
    American English
    In the link to the song lyrics, it's river Jordan.
    Still don't know why.
    :confused:
     
  11. Kelly B

    Kelly B Senior Member

    USA English
    When river is in front, I think it's better uncapitalized. That construction is used when the river's actual name does not include river, as in "the Thames", "the Jordan", "the Seine", etc. So in the river Thames, the word is a clarification, not part of the name, and does not require a capital letter.
    When written the other way around, as in the Mississippi River, the word "river" is actually part of the name, and is therefore capitalized.

    Does this theory hold water?
     
  12. panjandrum

    panjandrum Occasional Moderator

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    If you search more widely on this song, you will find that there are many more references, of greater authority, for "Michael row the boat ashore".
    I would, in any case, be a little reluctant to regard the Highwaymen as an authoritative source:)
    Similarly, when you search for "river jordan", you will find many more references, of greater authority, for "River Jordan" or "Jordan River", capitalised.

    :) chuckle:)

    But no, it doesn't. See above, all authoritative sources use River Thames. I include myself in that category;)
     
  13. Kelly B

    Kelly B Senior Member

    USA English
    Well, pooh.:p
     
  14. te gato

    te gato Senior Member

    Calgary, Alberta
    Alberta--TGE (te gato English)
    Hey all;

    Acording to all my grammar books..and teachings..(if I can remember that far back..and my mind is like a sieve..does not hold water)....
    IF the word 'river'..'lake'..comes before the 'proper' noun..it is capitalized...
    Lake Erie...Lake Ontario...River Thames..River Jordan...yadda,yadda...
    but...
    If it comes after the 'proper' noun it is not..
    Thames river...Jordan river..

    tg
     
  15. mjscott Senior Member

    Pacific Northwest, USA
    American English
    Holy Moses, TG!

    English from At Rebla must be totally backwards!

    :rolleyes: :D

    PS: Glad you're feeling better, TG. I would spar or write you a poem, but seems last time I did so in your honor, you had a relapse!

    Cheers from the river Columbia (Columbia River? Columbia river? River Columbia?) to At Rebla!
     
  16. elroy

    elroy Sharp-heeled Mod

    Chicago, IL
    US English/Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    The river's actual name can include the word "river."

    I at least know this to be definitely true for "Jordan River." (I should know, I was baptized there! :p )
     
  17. elroy

    elroy Sharp-heeled Mod

    Chicago, IL
    US English/Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    Haha, well isn't that something.

    "Jordan river" is definitely incorrect, so I think you must have forgotten something. ;)
     
  18. panjandrum

    panjandrum Occasional Moderator

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    te gato: As one who loves to find a pattern, I would love for you to be right. But as suggested above, when I went Googling for jordan river, the reputable references put capitals on both, whatever the order.

    So, going from the sublime to the ridiculous, I had a Google for the R/river Ouse, or the Ouse R/river. Based on a 5% sample of Google hits, there are definite signs that your suggestion is alive.

    On an even smaller sample, Thames River seems always to refer to a stream in some colonial place... the real Thames is referred to as "the Thames" or the "River Thames", but not the "Thames R/river".

    Perhaps there is a general rule that is applied, not entirely consistently, to run-of-the-mill streams. But REAL rivers; rivers with a reputation, rivers with attitude, get a capital River, either way round?

    Then of course there are rivers that only get their proper name, and don't need a "river" hanging around to explain what they are. For example, that well known source of Guinness (are we allowed to mention the necessities of life by name?) the Liffey, is overwhelmingly known only by its name. Only 2.5% of the hits are for Liffey R/river, 25% for R/river Liffey. 75%, are for the stand-alone version.

    Fascinating stuff. Well worth a PhD, I'd think.
     
  19. clapec

    clapec Senior Member

    Italy
    Italian
    I would have never thought that my question would arouse such interest and such a discussion :)
     
  20. mjscott Senior Member

    Pacific Northwest, USA
    American English
    Hang around, clapec....
    ....You ain't seen nothin' yet!
     
  21. cuchuflete

    cuchuflete Senior Member

    Maine, EEUU
    EEUU-inglés
    Going with the flow, I'll offer yet another highly authoritative (as in, I author it) opinion.

    The R is uppercase. I live within a very short walk to three rivers. The Marsh River, the Dyer River, and the Sheepscott River. All would be typographically drained by the reduction of their levels to a mere r. Now this may be a result of the three being estuaries. Perhaps if they were not tidal, we could enjoy a wave of Albertan conventions, and the waters would part while the letter barber cropped them down to size.

    Sorry TG....you may have a hug, but not a fourth of my Rivers' initial depth.
    Ah well, this conversation reminds me a bit of that old question, "Is the river comin' up, or the bridge goin' down?"

    cheers,
    Cuchu
     
  22. te gato

    te gato Senior Member

    Calgary, Alberta
    Alberta--TGE (te gato English)
    Wow!! I just got sent up the River..river..RIVER..without a paddle...

    I was just going by my Grammar..grammar..book..thingie..

    http://webster.commnet.edu/grammar/capitals.htm

    Cuchu KIA..I'll take the hug..but is your River..river..half full or half empty?
    tg
     

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