PDA

View Full Version : Ship names



efreysson
04-29-2016, 01:48 PM
I was wondering how to handle ship names in my space opera.

What is the proper grammar in English? Are they always italicised and prefixed with a capital T "The"?

be frank
04-29-2016, 01:54 PM
Just be sure to name one of them Boaty McBoatface and you'll be fine.

Sorry, I'll see myself out :gone:

Pennguin
04-29-2016, 01:57 PM
I've researched this for another story I'm writing. While some ships are referred to as "the _____," the official ship name is not registered that way specifically, unless it is. That may be confusing, so let me clarify. My friends in the Navy have sometimes said, "I have to report to the Abraham Lincoln" or just "the Lincoln." That is a way of speaking, but if you're talking about official registration, "The" is not required, though it may be used. When referring to ships in writing a book, it is customary to italicize the name, though I have seen some not do that with infamous ships, or in books dealing with one ship (i.e., the Titanic). I find it difficult not to italicize the name, but that's my own preference.

So, in conversation, "the" is customary. In writing, "the" is not required, though it can be often used. Ship names are italicized, but unless "The" is part of the ship name, it is not capitalized or italicized.

Ravioli
04-29-2016, 02:29 PM
Just be sure to name one of them Boaty McBoatface and you'll be fine.

Sorry, I'll see myself out :gone:
You beat me to it.

I don't think italics are a must though. Personally, I handle object names like business names, but yeah, a ship name would be referred to with a "the" usually, I'd say.

andadu27101
04-29-2016, 06:52 PM
the Titanic, the Enterprise

Katharine Tree
04-29-2016, 07:16 PM
I have some idea that in Olde Timey sailing days, ships weren't named after men. They were places, objects, or women's names. Don't ask me to back this up, but if I were writing an Olde Timey sailing-ship story, that's how I'd do it.

ETA: I might have this idea because still to this day, in English, ships take the feminine article. On Star Trek Mr. Scott always says "she's ready to blow, Captain!" This is proper usage. Ships are not "it". Ships are "she".

cmhbob
04-29-2016, 08:30 PM
ETA: I might have this idea because still to this day, in English, ships take the feminine article. On Star Trek Mr. Scott always says "she's ready to blow, Captain!" This is proper usage. Ships are not "it". Ships are "she".

Unless you're talking about the Russian Navy, where they are male.

There are all sorts of naming conventions that vary from country to country, and even among services in the country. The US Navy doesn't do the same thing that the US Coast Guard does.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_ship_naming_conventions
http://fas.org/man/dod-101/sys/ship/names.htm
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Ship_naming_conventions

blacbird
04-29-2016, 10:48 PM
Ship names are conventionally italicized.

caw

Bolero
04-30-2016, 12:27 AM
And I have a feeling you don't use "the" if you are using HMS or SS as in HMS Ark Royal. Could be wrong there.

Cyia
04-30-2016, 12:37 AM
"The" Sailing Ship (SS)...
Her Majesty's Ship (HMS) ...

Colloquially, people do say "The HMS," but it's like saying ATM machine. You don't need the "The" any more than you need to say Automatic Teller Machine machine.

With the Titanic, it was actually "The RMS (royal mail ship) Titanic."