Notice that in the title “Have You Got The ‘i’ Factor – iPhone, iPad, iTune, iPod?” above, all but a few words begin with the capital letter. Most blog titles are written in such a way as to highlight each word used, usually for the purpose of capturing attention to the topic to be discussed.
Grammarians will tell you that you should never spell proper nouns with a small letter because they are given names of people, places and things. So you know Alice, Eiffel Tower, Sydney, Australia and all specific names of things, places and people start with capital letters. This also includes fairy tales such as Cinderella and Pinnochio. Even though these characters do no exist in real life, names assigned to these characters are unique and specific.
Alas! There have been proper nouns that belie this grammatical rule. By adding the small letter ‘i’ to some well known nouns, exceptions have been made and accepted as all right. These words are iPhone, iTunes, iPod and iPad.
So far, I have only received only one answer to my question if this is acceptable in English grammar. When it comes to the internet, there is no rule. Which means you can say sms-sing, sms-es or sms-ed as continuous, singular or past tense respectively and you will not penalised for being creative.
Not 1 But 2 Capital Letters In One Word
But what about 2 capital letters in proper noun spelt as 1 word? Popular site YouTube not only has 1 but 2 capital letters to the name, ‘Y’ and ‘T’. So do MySpace and TeacherTube. It appears that when a proper noun consists of two words with meaning, each word is assigned a capital letter at the beginnning as if to highlight the meaning and not the brandname.
Proper Nouns With 2 Or More Syllables But 1 Capital Letter
These are words with two or more syllables such as Facebook, Twitter or Morzilla. Naturally, I would be less likely to make mistakes in my spelling of these words.
I often struggled with proper nouns like Coca Cola or McDonald’s (McDonalds?). These names are not found in the English dictionary, so how would you know if you have misspelled them unless you have been paying special attention to the brandnames and learning them by heart?
So shall we teach our kids that it is now perfectly all right for the words iPhone, iPad, iTune, iPod to be spelt with small letters ‘i’ at the beginnning even though they are proper nouns? I suppose so. How would you explain to your kids or students regarding proper nouns?