Space or space

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Should "space" be capitalized (The container of all physical matter)?

Yes
4
24%
No
7
41%
I have no idea
2
12%
I don't care
4
24%
Get a life you moron!
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No votes
 
Total votes: 17

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Space or space

Post by Darkbee »

Today's pointless rambling from me...

Is it "Space" or "space" when describing the realm in which we presume all material entities reside? I think technically it's a noun which implies it shouldn't be capitalized but I find that irksome as there is only one Space (as far as we know) but there is lots of space (room) all over the place (no rhyme intended). Is context the only way one can distinguish which one is implied? I'm sure examples exist where context is ambiguous.

I was reading the other day that apparently we no longer live on Earth, but merely earth (is acceptable). Sure, most of my time on this planet is spent on dirt but isn't the Earth special anymore? :'( On the other hand, apparently Mars, Jupiter et al are still very much special.

Sometimes I think the English language is severely deficient. Like for example not having gender neutral pronouns, or least ones that aren't considered derogatory (the classic example of how to avoid referring to a baby without implying gender: "how old is it?"). Perhaps I just need a hobby. :roll:
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Re: Space or space

Post by Smivs »

Darkbee wrote:Today's pointless rambling from me...

Is it "Space" or "space" when describing the realm in which we presume all material entities reside? I think technically it's a noun which implies it shouldn't be capitalized but I find that irksome as there is only one Space (as far as we know) but there is lots of space (room) all over the place (no rhyme intended). Is context the only way one can distinguish which one is implied? I'm sure examples exist where context is ambiguous.
Watch this space/Space (delete as appropriate).
Darkbee wrote: I was reading the other day that apparently we no longer live on Earth, but merely earth (is acceptable). Sure, most of my time on this planet is spent on dirt but isn't the Earth special anymore? :'( On the other hand, apparently Mars, Jupiter et al are still very much special.
Earth (with a capital) is the name of a small but significant planet. It is a name, a proper Noun and therefore should be capitalised (in my humble opinion).
Darkbee wrote: Sometimes I think the English language is severely deficient. Like for example not having gender neutral pronouns, or least ones that aren't considered derogatory (the classic example of how to avoid referring to a baby without implying gender: "how old is it?"). Perhaps I just need a hobby. :roll:
Agreed, there isn't even a word for, well I can't tell you because there isn't a word for it :roll: .
Re babies, that's why most people colour-code them :D
As for the Hobby, I know this great space (Space?) trading/combat game...
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Re: Space or space

Post by Disembodied »

Darkbee wrote:Today's pointless rambling from me...

Is it "Space" or "space" when describing the realm in which we presume all material entities reside? I think technically it's a noun which implies it shouldn't be capitalized but I find that irksome as there is only one Space (as far as we know) but there is lots of space (room) all over the place (no rhyme intended). Is context the only way one can distinguish which one is implied? I'm sure examples exist where context is ambiguous.

I was reading the other day that apparently we no longer live on Earth, but merely earth (is acceptable). Sure, most of my time on this planet is spent on dirt but isn't the Earth special anymore? :'( On the other hand, apparently Mars, Jupiter et al are still very much special.

Sometimes I think the English language is severely deficient. Like for example not having gender neutral pronouns, or least ones that aren't considered derogatory (the classic example of how to avoid referring to a baby without implying gender: "how old is it?"). Perhaps I just need a hobby. :roll:
Obsessing about grammar is a hobby! Just don't let it take over your life ... ;)

There are no solid rules agreed by all (if there's ever a general statement to be made about English grammar and spelling, that's it right there). Some style guides will demand a capital, others won't. Personally, I would certainly capitalise Earth when I was referring to the planet, because it's one specific place, same as Mars or Venus or the Moon (as opposed to a moon ...).

Space, though, is tricky. Partly the problem is that, like "earth", it has a separate and more general meaning as well as specifically referring to everything out there. But I think, even in its specific form, "space" is too non-specific to capitalise. It's like "everything": it's almost as much an abstract noun as a specific one. If there's some sort of potential confusion, e.g. a reader might not immediately know whether you're talking about a gap between words, or the Big Black itself, then I'd recommend using some form of words like "outer space" or "interplanetary space" or "spacetime" or somesuch. Partly too it's aesthetic: too many capitals start to make your text look like something from the 18th century.

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Re: Space or space

Post by snork »

I remember such discussion somewhere else about u/Universe.
There is also the follow-up question - if it is a proper noun and as such is to be written with a capital - should there be an article with it or not.
Is it Ooniverse or the Ooniverse
(And for the more disputatious : or is it The ooniverse, or even The Ooniverse :roll: )


But to me, space is too much a descriptive and general term to be accepted as name for "the everything."

Earth however, for the planet, I can't see how it would not be written with a capital. Do you really not get it marked as false in school ?
Disembodied wrote:Obsessing about grammar is a hobby! Just don't let it take over your life ... ;)
Not so much obsessing with, but noticing grammar to me happens a lot more with foreign languages. It also was the more languages I had learnt, the more useful grammar became in the next language to learn.

German grammar I never really cared about - I picked it (usage) up on the way, reading books and newspapers, hearing and speaking etc..
English grammar was more about getting the reasons why one does say it this or that way, in a hindsight-like way. But not "think grammar -> speak".
For French grammar became a little more useful, maybe because it has a different (Roman) base and uses "modi" and "times" that do not exist in German. (e.g. subjonctif)
Spanish - I finally could learn grammar and really apply it, of course only because I already knew French grammar (well,..). So I was able to learn grammar and actually use that.
Disembodied wrote:Like for example not having gender neutral pronouns
I sometimes resort to "Some" or "one", going with "their" -

And I adore the Spanish modern way to circumvent the mandatory distinction with a or o - "las chicas" or "los chicos".
If you want to include them all and not use the male form for that - it now can be written (though not spoken) l@s chic@s. 8)

Disembodied wrote:It's like "everything"
Definitely with a capital e.
I am actually one of the remaining users of Everything

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Re: Space or space

Post by Disembodied »

snork wrote:Earth however, for the planet, I can't see how it would not be written with a capital. Do you really not get it marked as false in school ?
I don't know ... it's a long time since I was in school. Nowadays though I think you get a gold star if you can walk erect and remember to eat with cutlery two times out of three. ;)

Some people argue that a phrase like "Peace on earth", as opposed to "Peace on Earth", is OK. The latter does look a bit odd, because presumably by saying "Peace on Earth" people aren't implying that they don't care about the situation on Mars ... arguably this is using "earth" to mean (effectively) "the universe", so as a general rather than a specific noun maybe it's OK.

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Post by Darkbee »

Well that just highlights the inadequacies of the English language and the ridiculous ways in which we try to justify ill-conceived phrases within the language. If you're talking about universal peace then say "Peace universal". Maybe if we colonize Mars in the future then "Peace on Earth" will take on a whole new meaning but for the time being there is no clear indication that any other intelligent life exists in the universe so "Peace on Earth" seems perfectly reasonable to me. Besides, as much as we probably don't wish "unpeace" on other alien races, it's okay to be concerned with one's own immediate circle from time to time.

You know this really sparks a larger debate and one that I constantly have with myself. Are we really lowering our standards and bastardizing the language, or is it simply a natural, evolutionary process that a culture adapts its language to suit it's requirements at that time.

I'm sure people from a couple of hundred years ago would shudder at the state of the modern English language, but as long as it allows for intelligible communication of ideas then I suppose it serves its purpose.
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Post by Disembodied »

Darkbee wrote:Well that just highlights the inadequacies of the English language and the ridiculous ways in which we try to justify ill-conceived phrases within the language. If you're talking about universal peace then say "Peace universal". Maybe if we colonize Mars in the future then "Peace on Earth" will take on a whole new meaning but for the time being there is no clear indication that any other intelligent life exists in the universe so "Peace on Earth" seems perfectly reasonable to me. Besides, as much as we probably don't wish "unpeace" on other alien races, it's okay to be concerned with one's own immediate circle from time to time.

You know this really sparks a larger debate and one that I constantly have with myself. Are we really lowering our standards and bastardizing the language, or is it simply a natural, evolutionary process that a culture adapts its language to suit it's requirements at that time.

I'm sure people from a couple of hundred years ago would shudder at the state of the modern English language, but as long as it allows for intelligible communication of ideas then I suppose it serves its purpose.
To be honest, it's not as if people in the past were better, or more consistent in their usage: if anything, they were worse. We didn't even have the OED until 1928, and even that isn't regarded as the final, definitive answer on spelling.

I've had to work on a reprint of an early 19th-century novel where halfway through the original c.1815 typesetter had switched from using the trendy and daringly modern (for the time) "choose" and "show" to the then-more-usual "chuse" and "shew". But it changes all the time: another book I worked on was first published in the 1930s and was full of excess hyphenation, by today's standards: "stair-case", "suit-case", "to-day", etc. It's an art, not a science, and is prone to fashion. Plus, people keep making up new words: the debate over "E/earth" and "U/universe" is still going on about "I/internet", for example.

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Post by MKG »

But there isn't just one space.

See "Quantum Theory".

So definitely a lower-case s.

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Post by Darkbee »

Oh, that's an easy one! Everybody knows it's "teh internets". ;)

I certainly wasn't suggesting they were better, but they might assume that we have "butchered" the language, rightly or wrongly. Mind you, don't the Brits say that the Americans have butchered the language? :)

It's all the same, just different that's all. :? I think you're right though to consider language more an art form than a science (not to minimize the significance of linguistics and the like). Like visual/performing arts, language morphs to accommodate the culture built around it. Or is the language built around the culture? :?

Good stuff!
MKG wrote:But there isn't just one space.

See "Quantum Theory".

So definitely a lower-case s.
When it's no longer a theory I'll start using "s". ;)
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Post by MKG »

Good Point. My Goodness, I'd Better Be More Careful.

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Post by Darkbee »

Don't Worry, Bee Happy. There's no right or wrong answers here, just ones that I can make sarcastic replies to. :D
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Post by Ramirez »

I'd say that 'universe' would be the better term to use if you're trying to cover the totality of existence, 'space' is a bit too general. Whether you'd then want to capitalise that is another question, especially once you throw parallel universes into the mix.

That's prompted me to check out the ever-reliable Etymology Dictionary and it confirms that universe is meant to involve pretty much everything so technically speaking it's wrong to talk about multiple universes. However, if you go down that route you'd have to create new names any time a word's ancient etymology doesn't quit fit with its modern use.

It's a fascinating subject though!
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Post by Killer Wolf »

how about just referring to it as " "?

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Post by snork »

I just remembered - sometimes it needs to be written ALL-CAPS.

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Post by Commander McLane »

If you're talking about universal peace then say "Peace universal". Maybe if we colonize Mars in the future then "Peace on Earth" will take on a whole new meaning but for the time being there is no clear indication that any other intelligent life exists in the universe so "Peace on Earth" seems perfectly reasonable to me.
Well, it's actually a quote of or reference to biblical language. And in New Testament times nobody was thinking of "Earth" as a planetary body among others, but of "earth" as everything this side of heaven, so to speak.
I certainly wasn't suggesting they were better, but they might assume that we have "butchered" the language, rightly or wrongly. Mind you, don't the Brits say that the Americans have butchered the language? :)
Not only the Americans. :wink: I don't know the origin of the quote right now, but I think it goes like "English was born in England, grew up in America, got sick in Asia, and died in Africa." :oops:
Well that just highlights the inadequacies of the English language and the ridiculous ways in which we try to justify ill-conceived phrases within the language.
Don't think that other languages are less inadequate and ill-conceived. Germans, for instance, can spend hours ranting about the ridiculousness of certain aspects of their language, and especially about the various attempts of reformed grammar and spelling. Mind you, the last big orthographic reform is now ten-or-so years old, and there are still newspapers which refuse to use the new orthography, because they think it's ridiculous/wrong/ill-conceived. :wink:

*************

And just to prove that there are not only grammar nazis, but topic-sorting nazis as well: This whole thread belongs in Outworld. :wink:

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