On Proper Nouns

My son is learning about proper nouns and common nouns at school. Which led to my griping last night about that particular dichotomy in English. Iraq is a proper noun. That makes sense. Iraqis is as well. That doesn’t — there are millions of them, if that doesn’t define “common” then I don’t know what does. To the argument that being an Iraqi is an matter of identity, I counter that if that’s true, then words like Muslim should be considered proper nouns as well, but they aren’t. None of this would matter that much if I wasn’t staring at IRAQIS in a recent Scrabble game, unable to use that awesome triple-word layout just staring at me.

1 Comment

  1. Indeed.
    “Of Names, some are *Proper*, and singular to one onely thing; as Peter, John, This man, this Tree: and some are *Common* to many things; as Man, Horse, Tree; every of which though but one Name, is nevertheless the name of divers particular things; in respect of all which together, it is called an Universall; there being nothing in the world Universall but Names; for the things named, are every one of them Individual and Singular.”

    Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan.
    Whatever that means.


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