Venitian/venitian blinds, Danish/danish pastry - capitals or not?

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Hela, Mar 6, 2008.

  1. Hela Senior Member

    Tunisia - French
    Good morning everyone,

    Would you please tell me if these adjectives should be capitalized ?
    Venitian blinds, Danish pastry, (would you have more examples, please?)

    All the best,
  2. Dimcl Senior Member

    British Columbia, Canada
    Canadian English
    Yes, they need to be capitalized. Some would argue my point of view because once certain words become a standard part of the lexicon, they become "generic" and some people think that they are no longer worthy of capitalization. In my mind, they are the names of certain items and I would capitalize them.
  3. nzfauna

    nzfauna Senior Member

    Wellington, New Zealand
    New Zealand, English
  4. Lis48

    Lis48 Senior Member

    York, England
    English - British
    Venetian even though it´s written Venice.
  5. ewie

    ewie Senior Member

    Another Country
    English English
    Not capitalized.
    I think this is largely a matter of personal choice, Hela, as Dimcl implies.
  6. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
    Like ewie, I think that in the end it's a matter of personal preference.

    Here's a relevant previous thread: see panj's post 4 for more examples.
  7. French fries, English muffins, Cheddar cheese, Belgian chocolate, Swiss watches, German sausages, Scotch whisky, Irish coffee. . . the list is endless.

    Capitals are mandatory. I don't think it's a matter of personal choice at all.
  8. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
    What about swiss roll, Rover?
  9. ewie

    ewie Senior Member

    Another Country
    English English
    Yes, but your examples are a bit different, Rover ~ I'd capitalize all those too (but I wouldn't write Scotch).
    A venetian blind is just a type of blind, and has nothing to do with Venice.
  10. panjandrum

    panjandrum Occasional Moderator

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    There are many reference guides for capitalisation.
    Please look for capitals in any of the punctuation links listed in the sticky at the top of the forum.

    The opinions expressed so far are probably all correct, somewhere.
    Or perhaps not?

    Neither of the sites that I looked at would put a capital V on venetian blinds.
  11. Thomas Tompion Senior Member

    Southwest France
    English - England
    The last time we discussed this, I took away the idea that if it meant that the blinds came from Venice, then we should capitalize; if they were just a type of blind then we shouldn't.

    By that principle we should put venetian blinds, french fries, french windows, french kissing, French people, Cheddar cheese, brussels sprouts.
  12. Packard

    Packard Senior Member

    USA, English

    This is the rule I follow.

    We dined dutch treat. (we each paid our own way)

    When traveling through Holland you will find that the tulip gardens are a unique Dutch treat. (country)
  13. mplsray Senior Member

    On the contrary, a personal choice is mandatory if one is to develop a personal style, since several of the expressions mentioned in this thread are shown in major dictionaries as having both capitalized and uncapitalized forms as equally standard. In my own style, for example, I write "cheddar cheese," never "Cheddar cheese."

    To add to what panjandrum had to say, here is a quote from the article "CAPITALS, CAPITAL LETTERS, CAPITALIZATION" in The Columbia Guide to Standard American English by Kenneth G. Wilson:

    "Since the details of capitalization required to meet the style of a given press or publication may sometimes be idiosyncratic, you should consult a desk dictionary or your publisher’s manual of style."
  14. Thomas Tompion Senior Member

    Southwest France
    English - England
    I should have said that for me cheddar cheese may come from Australia; but Cheddar cheese would come from the Gorge itself.
  15. Fair enough.

    I stand corrected.

  16. Hela Senior Member

    Tunisia - French
    Thanks to all of you for this interesting discussion :)
  17. Hela Senior Member

    Tunisia - French
    Considering what most of you said, and so agree with this statement:
    do you write : "a hot English muffin" or "a hot english muffin"?

    See you
  18. mplsray Senior Member

    In terms of actual usage, the "principle" is a weak guide, and it definitely leads to an erroneous result here. In actual usage, "English" is left uncapitalized only when it refers to the sports term (and that is often capitalized as well).

    I have just checked a number of dictionaries. The only one which left "English muffin" uncapitalized is WordNet, and that entry does not include the capitalized version, which makes it questionable.

    As mentioned before, many other words are standard in both capitalized and uncapitalized versions, and the only guaranteed way of finding what is acceptable is to look up the word in question in a dictionary.

    Additional information: I had looked up WordNet on another site. But I just now looked it up on its home site at Princeton University here, where I found that in WordNet 3.0, "English muffin" is indeed given as capitalized (with no uncapitalized variant shown).
  19. Thomas Tompion Senior Member

    Southwest France
    English - England
    I'm quite happy to go with English muffin - it's what I'd put - and here in France they are sold capitalized in Monoprix alongside french fries.

    Do we just say there are no widely observed rules, so advice is useless? Or that English muffins haven't yet taken off as have french kissing, fries, windows, and letters. I'm inclined to stay with my rule, and leave the decision of how welded the adjective is to the noun to be decided ad hoc.
  20. ewie

    ewie Senior Member

    Another Country
    English English
    I've never actually come across English [or english] muffins. Here they're just ... muffins:D
  21. mplsray Senior Member

    The Oxford English Dictionary does not have an entry for English muffin: I suppose this means that they consider it an American way of identifying a muffin made in the English style.

    In American English, however, English muffin is a term which has to be taken as a whole, because we don't really consider it to be a muffin at all. A muffin, to us, is a quickbread product which is sweet, while the English muffin is a type of (unsweetened) yeast bread.
  22. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
    I agree with ewie. The only time I came across the phrase "English muffins" was when I lived in Canada. As mplsray says, in AmE the expression is usually capitalised.

    I also agree with mplsray that this issue is not a simple one. Personally, I tend to capitalise in contexts where - plainly - others wouldn't. As has been said many times over, you need to follow the style guide of the organisation you work for. Or if you don't work/your organisation has no style guide, follow your personal preference, or that of your preferred dictionary...
  23. Thomas Tompion Senior Member

    Southwest France
    English - England
    How do people like Eccles cakes?
  24. ewie

    ewie Senior Member

    Another Country
    English English
    Neat. But I always have butter on Chorley cakes.

Share This Page