french windows

gvergara

Senior Member
Castellano (variedad chilensis)
Hi

This is the second time I've comme come across the noun (pharse?) french windows. So good, so far, but the problem is that neither in the first case nor in the second the word french was capitalised, do you know why that happens? As far as I'm concerned, all adjectives derived from the name of countries are to be capitalised...

...and when that failed, I pushed open the french windows an inch or so, ...
From "Enduring love" by Ian McEwan

Gonzalo
 
  • bibliolept

    Senior Member
    AE, Español
    This is a matter determined on a case-to-case basis or by consulting your preferred dictionary or style manual.

    Personally, I go with the "literal" rule of thumb: since the "french" in "french windows" is not intended to suggest that the windows are actually of French origin--they did not literally come from France--then I wouldn't capitalize the F. The same holds with french fries or french toast.

    The same can hold true for adjectives based on the names of people: if I speak of the Heraclitean concept of constant change, I will use the uppercase H. If I speak about a kafkaesque situation, according to some authorities, I may use the lowercase K.
     

    Trisia

    Senior Member
    Romanian
    I'm not sure why it isn't capitalised. Don't forget that a "French window" is actually a type of door (here's an image of one). Maybe he just considered the name is already common enough and didn't want the reader to think it was a French-made window.

    Of course I'm only guessing here.

    EDIT: And again, she's late :D
     

    gvergara

    Senior Member
    Castellano (variedad chilensis)
    Yes, you're right, I should have thought of french fries before asking this question... :eek::eek::eek: Thanks a lot, Biblio, thanks Trisia for your attempt, read you

    Gonzalo
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    This is quite helpful on the subject and supports a lot of what has been said already. It says that you say french windows if you are talking about the sort of window, and French windows if you are talking about windows in France, which is very much what Bibliolept said. It gives other, quite helpful, indications about capitalisation.

    I hope I won't be anathematized if I say that the French for a french window is une porte-fenêtre, a door-window, which is rather more descriptive than the English expression.
     

    Arrius

    Senior Member
    English, UK
    french windows no longer have anything more to do with France than french polish, french mustard, or (I think) to take french leave (filer à l'anglaise) and so are spelt small.
     
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