Writing new names for poodle-cross dogs…

Writing new names for poodle cross dogs

We could probably name this a FooledYouDoodle…

Unless you have been hiding under a dog blanket for the last year or three, you won’t fail to have noticed that doggie (human) types are cross breeding everything from a Labrador to an Elephant with a Poodle, to produce a doggie pet that has the characteristics of both breeds BUT does not shed hair.

Brilliant news for families where someone is allergic to doggie hair / dandruff etc. (although the concept doesn’t always work … but that’s another story.) [Read more…]

Choosing a name without taking the wee-wee

Choosing a name without taking the wee-weeHow do you choose a nice name for a cancer support group with a strong focus on urine?

When I’m not smacking the desktop keyboard coming up with pearls of writing wisdom, I’m doing voluntary work with and for cancer patients and their carers in leafy Milton Keynes, middle England. [Read more…]

You’ve only made it when you lose your capital letter

Hmmmm…doesn’t really have a credible ring to it, does it?

Do you think “suzanstmaur” could become a generic term for better writing? No, I didn’t think so either. Ah, well.

However when you hit fame, or infamy, as the case may be… (“Infamy, infamy, why do people have it Infamy?”) …moving from name to generic term is simply a matter of dropping the initial capital letter to a lower case one. You go from being a proper noun to a common one, which is something of an irony considering that to achieve this you need to have acquired an audience of gazillions and been around for a long time.

No capital initial and being a common noun means you’ve made it to immortality, so it seems.

What does it take to move from “Facebook” to “facebook?”

…probably a few hard facts like having become an institution with around 900 million users or so … this does help. Although the word “facebook” is a trumped-up jollification it has, with that many folks using it, earned its place in the generic words hall of fame.

And as for Twitter? Well, the name itself hasn’t quite earned a lower-case “t” status yet, but “tweets,” “tweeting,” “tweeted” and other derivatives certainly have. Shame on you if you dare to stick a capital “T” on any of those.

How about Google? Oh, these kiddies really have earned their lower case status. Wherever you look both online and offline, you’re told to “google” this or that for further information. When I write about “googling” these days I feel embarrassed if I accidentally capitalize the first letter.

“G”oogle is just so passé, and so rude; it suggests that the writer/perpetrator hasn’t quite understood the hold that G/google has used to er, grasp the world by the Spherical Objects and become its sole, serious source of proper information. None of us would make that mistake a second time, huh.

Other useful generic terms

Having gotten really interested in this topic I consulted G (oh sorry) google and wound up looking through Wikipedia’s list (and Wikipedia is still stigmatized by a capital “W”) of generics and genericized trademarks. I was gob-smacked – an expressive British term – to find out the following (excerpts only) terms which also have joined the verbal Hall of Fame as terms we now use in everyday speech.

Aspirin … still a Bayer trademark name for acetylsalicylic acid in about 80 countries, including Canada and many countries in Europe, but declared generic in the USA.

EscalatorOriginally a trademark of Otis Elevator Company.

LanolinTrademarked as the term for a preparation of water and the wax from sheep’s wool.

LinoleumFloor covering, originally coined by Frederick Walton in 1864, and ruled as generic following a lawsuit for trademark infringement in 1878; probably the first product name to become a generic term.

Nurofen … brand name in the UK for Ibuprofen, being the name used by the Boots Company plc who first developed the drug.

PetrolCarless, Capel and Leonard invented the trade name “Petrol” for refined petroleum spirit, called “gasoline” in North America.

ThermosOriginally a Thermos GmbH trademark name for a vacuum flask; declared generic in the U.S. in 1963.

ZipperOriginally a trademark of B.F. Goodrich.

And so it goes on, but here is the real humdinger:

Heroin: originally a trademark of Bayer AG…..

Is your name or brand about to lose its capital letter and become a generic sensation? Let me know, and share your thoughts!

Give your writing some star quality:

“Super Speeches”…how to write and deliver them well

“How To Write About Yourself”…how to make the most of yourself, whatever you need to write

“Business Writing Made Easy”…everything you need to know about writing for business in English