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tko
11-16-2010, 10:51 PM
I was looking up Pad Thai (a Vietnamese dish) and everyone seemed to capitalize both words, though I don't know why. I thought the "Thai" part was driving this so decided to checked the word "french fry."The most common capitalization seemed to be "French fry," but that looks strange to me. Shouldn't that make "Pad Thai" "pad Thai?"

I guess the general question is, when a proper noun is incorporated into a common descriptive phase, are there any special capitalization rules? Belgian waffles anyone?

boron
11-16-2010, 11:01 PM
We had this here:
http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=194019

"French fry" is an unofficial term for fried potatoes, and not a proper name or registered name of a "dish", but "French" is a proper name, so it's French fry.

If Pad Thai is a name of a specific dish, I guess both words should be capitalized...

rugcat
11-16-2010, 11:52 PM
I was looking up Pad Thai (a Vietnamese dish) and everyone seemed to capitalize both words, though I don't know why.
That's funny, because I also looked up Pad Thai because I once used it in a novel. I saw a lot of different examples -- I don't know the general rule, so I just went with the most common usage.

FennelGiraffe
11-17-2010, 12:20 AM
There may also be a perception that lowercasing the P looks wrong with Pad preceding Thai, unlike the more conventional sequence of French fry. That doesn't make it correct in any absolute sense, of course, but it might be the reason usage has evolved that way.

maestrowork
11-17-2010, 12:35 AM
I was looking up Pad Thai (a Vietnamese dish) and everyone seemed to capitalize both words, though I don't know why. I thought the "Thai" part was driving this so decided to checked the word "french fry."The most common capitalization seemed to be "French fry," but that looks strange to me. Shouldn't that make "Pad Thai" "pad Thai?"

I guess the general question is, when a proper noun is incorporated into a common descriptive phase, are there any special capitalization rules? Belgian waffles anyone?

Pad Thai is the NAME of a dish, and that's why it's capitalized. It's different than, say, "shrimp with garlic sauce." It just looks wrong to say "pad Thai." Often, I think, it has to do with if it's a proper name of a dish or just a description. It'd be lower case for foie gras, which means duck/goose liver. It'd be upper case for Happy Family, which is the name of a Chinese dish.

French fries would be just like that. French is a proper name -- France. But "fries" is short for fried potatoes.

Wayne K
11-17-2010, 12:41 AM
:nothing

Jamesaritchie
11-17-2010, 03:33 AM
Freedom Fries.

andrewhollinger
11-18-2010, 12:38 AM
Frankly, I prefer "papas fritas."

bonitakale
11-18-2010, 04:36 PM
Pad Thai is the NAME of a dish, and that's why it's capitalized. It's different than, say, "shrimp with garlic sauce." It just looks wrong to say "pad Thai." Often, I think, it has to do with if it's a proper name of a dish or just a description. It'd be lower case for foie gras, which means duck/goose liver. It'd be upper case for Happy Family, which is the name of a Chinese dish.

French fries would be just like that. French is a proper name -- France. But "fries" is short for fried potatoes.

But that's a little oversimplified. We say melba toast, but peach Melba, Happy Meal, but mushroom Swiss burger, Grand Slam (Denny's breakfast), but Bulldog burger (Damon's).

I almost think it depends on whether the name is descriptive or not. That is, if you can tell what's in it from the name (barbecued ribs), no caps, but if you can't (Happy Family), you use caps. And you don't capitalize the names of common foods within the name of the dish (Mu Shu pork).

Maybe.