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Thread: Grammar, Capitalisation, Canon issues, etc

  1. #1
    The Canon Queen Hufflepuff
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    Grammar, Capitalisation, Canon issues, etc

    Have a question about grammar? Punctuation? Or need to know if a word should be capitalised? Stuck on a quick canon fact? Well, this is the thread to ask your questions in.

    Many Potter words are capitalised in the British versions but not in the American. Generally it is preferable to use the British versions as your guideline.

    So, ask away and we will answer you questions.

    Thank you to BB for the suggestion of this thread.
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  2. #2
    padfoot_returns
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    Oh, this is a great thread idea, BB!

    I've always had this question. Is common room capitalized or not? I *think* it was capitalized in the earlier books but it wasn't capitalized in DH. I would have expected it to be something that would be capitalized but its not in DH but who knows. I only the American versions of the books. Thanks to whoever will answer (if someone will lol)

    xxRiham

  3. #3
    The Canon Queen Hufflepuff
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    I always thought it was supposed to be, but on the official list us mod types refer to, it isn't capitalised. So, common room or common-room. Though most don't use the hyphen.
    Terri Black (as in Mrs Sirius {aka Padfoot} Black)
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  4. #4
    Silverah
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    What about series-specific nouns like "muggle" and "squib"? And species like "goblin" and "centaur" and "werewolf"? I'm never sure about whether these are considered to be proper nouns or not. They're persons or things, but they're also names.

  5. #5
    Inverarity
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    There is a well-known LJ compendium of Potterwords, detailing which words are capitalized in the books and which words are not. I know you allow Wikipedia links -- perhaps an exception to the no-outside-linking rule would also be appropriate for other reference materials.

    Rowling herself was not always consistent. Some words get capitalized in some places and not in others. Her style is particularly frustrating with regards to magical creatures, since you pretty much need to consult a reference list to know which ones get capitalized and which ones don't, as there is no consistent rule to rely on.

    (This is also a pain when you make up your own magical creatures in fan fictions, and then you mix them in sentences with existing Potter creatures which might not be capitalized/uncapitalized the same way.)

    Also, some words are capitalized or not -- differently -- in the American and British editions.

  6. #6
    Wizengamot Hufflepuff
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    In the British versions, the Trio drink Butterbeer and Sirius drinks Firewhisky. But in the American versions they drink butterbeer and firewhisky.

    Also, Harry says 'There's no need to call me "sir", Professor.'

    but in America he'd say 'Sir' - is that right?

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  7. #7
    Honigkuchenpferd Hufflepuff
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    Proper names Rowling invented - like "Muggle", "Squib" or "Quidditch" - are capitalised in the British edition.

    A mnemonic rhyme of myself is that creatures like "centaurs", "werewolves" and "goblins", that exist in our own myths and legends, are written in lower case whereas invented creatures like "Dementors" are capitalised (at least in the British editions). Though, in doubt, I always consult the books first.
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  8. #8
    Silverah
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    Quote Originally Posted by luinrina
    A mnemonic rhyme of myself is that creatures like "centaurs", "werewolves" and "goblins", that exist in our own myths and legends, are written in lower case whereas invented creatures like "Dementors" are capitalised (at least in the British editions). Though, in doubt, I always consult the books first.
    I can see that as good reasoning. I don't think any of them are capitalized in the American editions - is there any preference on MNFF as to whether we use American or British grammatical rules?

    Um, I'm not sure, but I think 'sir' would still be lowercase. However, yes, the quotation marks are switched, so instead of 'No need to call me "sir", Professor.' we have "No need to call me 'sir', Professor." Personally, I think that once you really pause to think about it, the British way of quoting makes more sense logically, but depending on where you learned the language one or the other feels more natural. Very few books make it to the United States with the original marks intact. (Actually, I can only recall one series that doesn't have them changed.)

    Which brings me to my next question...

    Should American writers strive to use British quotation marks? Or is this just needlessly specific?

  9. #9
    Inverarity
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    "Sir" and "Ma'am" aren't usually capitalized in American English either, though I'm too lazy to check my books and right now and see if they were there.

    Quote Originally Posted by luinrina
    A mnemonic rhyme of myself is that creatures like "centaurs", "werewolves" and "goblins", that exist in our own myths and legends, are written in lower case whereas invented creatures like "Dementors" are capitalised (at least in the British editions). Though, in doubt, I always consult the books first.
    Unfortunately, that rule isn't always true. There are many creatures Rowling didn't invent that are capitalized in the British edition, while most creatures don't get capitalized in the American edition.

  10. #10
    Honigkuchenpferd Hufflepuff
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    Quote Originally Posted by Silverah
    I can see that as good reasoning. I don't think any of them are capitalized in the American editions - is there any preference on MNFF as to whether we use American or British grammatical rules?

    Should American writers strive to use British quotation marks? Or is this just needlessly specific?
    Because the books are originally British, we prefer British English, though, we don't reject for using American English if you keep it consistent, meaning, don't mix British and American English in one story.

    The same applies to quotation marks. I have seen authors use British English but double quotation marks. It doesn't matter which you choose as long as it's consistent throughout your story.


    Inverarity, yes, I know this mnemoric rhyme isn't always true. But for me it worked so far quite well. Might be because I rarely use creatures' names lol. And if I should use a creature where I'm not sure how it's written, I always consult the book or my beta (who knows such things ).
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