1. Cady36
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    Cady36 Member

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    Is it French braid or french braid?

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Cady36, Feb 23, 2009.

    I know it's french fries. But french bread or French bread? And French braid or french braid? I can't find it in Elements of Style. (I'm sure it's there, I just can't find it.)

    I thought that CMoS said "french braid" but I haven't been able to track my copy of that down in months. I did an internet search and came up with a test answer key from a community college in Houston and a grammar discussion on a forum, both saying "French braid", but I also found a blog with a grammar discussion in it that says "french braid".

    For some reason, I just can't hang on to proper usage on this one. Someone please enlighten me, and I will tattoo it to my forehead.

    Thanks,

    Cady
     
  2. marina
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    marina Contributing Member Contributor

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    According to wikipedia, it was invented by a French hairstylist. So I would capitalize it.
     
  3. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    According to Webster's New Millennium™ Dictionary of English, Preview Edition (v 0.9.7), both capitalizations are accceptable. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/french%20braid
     
  4. Atari
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    Atari Active Member

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    As an overall rule, if something has a language in front of it (English muffin, French poodle, German chocolate) you capitalize the first (proper) word, and leave the second, regular word lower cased.
     
  5. architectus
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    architectus Banned

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    Why can't English be easy and logical? If it is french fries, it should be french braid, and if it is French braid, it should be French fries.
     
  6. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    interestingly enough, the french themselves do not capitalize 'french' [français] except as in reference to the people, "the French" [les Français]... all other uses are in lower case, including the name of the language itself...
     
  7. Cady36
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    Cady36 Member

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    Doesn't it figure?

    I think I'll stick with the french...errr, French.

    Cady
     
  8. LeoMars
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    LeoMars Member

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    Always capitalize nationalities and proper names. Same rule applies for dog breeds etc.
     
  9. LeoMars
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    LeoMars Member

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    But "French" in "French fries" is capitalized, my friend. IIRC they were originally Belgian fries...or is it freedom fries, nowadays. ;)
     
  10. Nilfiry
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    Nilfiry Contributing Member

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    I'm not sure about English muffins, but isn't "French" also an english word meaning lengthwise cut? So I think you should capitalize it depending on the meaning used. If you're using french fries as in the food, then keeping lower case makes sense, but if you're saying French fries as in the fries of the French, then capitalizing is good.
     
  11. LeoMars
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    LeoMars Member

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    Sometimes, it all boils down to style manuals, and different publishing house uses different manual. CMS supports your view. I use the capitalize-nationality-proper-name rule to avoid confusion.
     
  12. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    Our style manual for the university (for when we proofread papers) says to capitalise religions, even if they are being used as adjectives, as in 'an influx of Muslim refugees'. I don't know if this is totally standard.
     

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