When referring to a person by a decriptive phrase, do we capitalise that?

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panam
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When referring to a person by a decriptive phrase, do we capitalise that?

Post by panam »

As per the title :

For example, in fiction, if I were to describe three men by stand-out characteristics such as red-bearded, fat-bellied and one-armed, if I then refer to them as red beard, fat belly and one arm, should they then become capitalised?

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Joe
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Re: When referring to a person by a decriptive phrase, do we capitalise that?

Post by Joe »

If you’re using them as nicknames, yes they should be capitalised:

Red Beard or Redbeard
Fat Belly, maybe Fatbelly
One Arm
"We are not wholly bad or good, who live our lives under Milk Wood :-| " — Dylan Thomas, Under Milk Wood

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panam
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Re: When referring to a person by a decriptive phrase, do we capitalise that?

Post by panam »

Thank you! So, just to double-check, if I refer to the red-bearded fellow by saying :

"The soldier looked over at the smirking red beard" it would be capitalised as it's designating him by the nickname?

Thank you very much indeed!
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Re: When referring to a person by a decriptive phrase, do we capitalise that?

Post by Joe »

Actually it happens that people with red beards can be described as red beards (not a name, a common noun):

I saw the red beard coming towards me.
She loves red beards.

But if you choose to give him a nickname based on his beard, it must obey the rules of proper nouns:

I saw Red Beard coming towards me. (capitals, no the)

On the other hand, the common noun for ppl with fat bellies or one arm is something like:
a fat-bellied man
the one-armed guy

I saw the fat-bellied guy
I saw a one-armed man

If YOU choose to give them a nickname based on their characteristics, it must obey the rules of proper nouns:

I saw Fatty
I saw Fatman
I saw Fat Belly

I saw One Arm
I saw Onearm

You can give them any name you want, but you still need to see obey the rules of names or proper nouns
"We are not wholly bad or good, who live our lives under Milk Wood :-| " — Dylan Thomas, Under Milk Wood

eBooks: English Prepositions List | Essential Business Words | Learn English in Seven
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