Nigel J. Ross

A Proper Look at Verbs

This article begins by examining proper nouns and proper names, as well as what some experts have termed 'proper adjectives'. The dividing line between an eponym and a proper noun is examined, and the problem of capitalisation is considered. Taking things a step further, a new category of 'proper verbs' is also put forward. After discussing the difference between eponymous verbs based on names and true 'proper verbs', groups of examples are examined in relation to the source of the original name and the use of capital letters. For those verbs that allude directly to the original name and are consequently written with a capital letter, the term 'proper verb' is surely the only proper term we can use for the category.

published in Verbatim, The Language Quarterly (Vol. 22/4 1996), Indianapolis, U.S.A.

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Verbatim - The Language Quarterly
(editor: Erin McKean)
4907 N. Washtenaw Ave. Chicago, IL 60625, USA
email: Editor, Verbatim
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