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Posted: Mon Dec 31, 2001 7:58 pm
by Archived Topic
Do you capitalize Google? How about when used as verb? If not, why not----Thanks----DaleH
Submitted by dale hileman (Apple Valley, CA - U.S.A.)


Posted: Mon Dec 31, 2001 8:13 pm
by Archived Reply
As a noun, always capitalize it. It's a trademark and a proper noun. You are using it to mean the one search engine (or company) only.

As a verb, it is generally still capitalized, although you will also see it without.

I stress that this is only my (unsubstantiated) opinion, but I think capitalization of such words is often a question of age and acceptance. In the UK, we "hoover" the carpets without a second thought or a capital letter and we "bowdlerize" to our hearts' content. We make herculean efforts not to spill our irish whiskey and so on.

Perhaps we would only feel happy lowercasing it if we were to use "googling" in the sense of "searching with any type of search engine".

Strangely, however, in the US you generally use a Kleenex with a capital letter no matter what brand of paper tissue you are actually holding. I nevertheless don't think there's a significant distinction between usage either side of the Pond.

Chicago Manual of Style, 14th Ed. 7.49 seems to have it about right:

"Nouns, adjectives and verbs derived from personal, national or geographical names are often lowercased when used with a specialized meaning. According to some authorities, however, certain of these ought to be capitalized. Authors and editors must decide for themselves, but whatever choice is made should be followed consistently throughout a work."
Reply from Phil White (Munich - Germany)


Posted: Mon Dec 31, 2001 8:27 pm
by Archived Reply
Thanks Phil; good point. Of course Google is a firm and hence the cap. But looks like the verb form is up for grabs
Reply from dale hileman (Apple Valley, CA - U.S.A.)


Posted: Mon Dec 31, 2001 8:41 pm
by Archived Reply
Dale, In the examples I’ve seen the verb GOOGLE has generally been capitalized, in agreement with Phil’s assessment. Cecil Adams, the stickler of ‘Straight Dope’ has chosen to capitalize the verb ‘Google’ as seen in today’s article ‘When birth control was illegal, did 10,000 women a year die from illegal abortions?’ – May 28, 2004: “I didn't Google Ms. Goodman to determine when she was born; I'll just say that if she's pushing 80, as her statement ‘those of us who remember . . . when 10,000 American women a year died from illegal abortions’ would imply, she's remarkably well preserved.”

Ken G – May 28, 2004
Reply from Ken Greenwald (Fort Collins, CO - U.S.A.)