Capitalisation is the least of the boy's worries.
February 26, 2020 6:51 AM   Subscribe

Max steps in dog poo. His classmates call him Dog Poo Boy. Should this nickname be capitalised?

Which is correct?

"Here comes dog-poo boy!"

"Here comes Dog-poo Boy!"

"Here comes Dog-Poo Boy!"

(or without the hyphen?)

"Here comes dog poo boy!"

"Here comes Dog Poo Boy!"

Is Max Dog-Poo Boy? Or just dog-poo boy?
posted by popcassady to Writing & Language (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
A more standard nickname would be capitalized. Like if they decide to call Max Buddy, it's Buddy, not buddy. So (a), I think it should be capitalized. Or capitalised if you prefer. And (b), yes, hyphenate, since it is the single concept "dog poo" that modifies "boy". (As distinct from, say, "little poop boy," in which both adjectives modify boy and therefore are not hyphenated.) In summary: "Dog-Poo Boy."
posted by beagle at 7:11 AM on February 26, 2020 [4 favorites]


I’d capitalize each word. Hyphen’s going to come down to your own aesthetic sensibilities.
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 7:11 AM on February 26, 2020 [4 favorites]


I like the way you put in the first part of your question: capitalized, no hyphen.
posted by Winnie the Proust at 7:16 AM on February 26, 2020


Best answer: Dog-Poo Boy is being used as a proper noun, which is a name referring to a single entity. So it would be capitalized, just as if his parents had named him that. And I’d hyphenate “dog poo” as a compound modifier.
I’m a professional copy editor.
posted by FencingGal at 7:24 AM on February 26, 2020 [30 favorites]


Another professional copy editor here, agreeing with FencingGal.
posted by BlahLaLa at 9:21 AM on February 26, 2020 [2 favorites]


Yeah, caps and hyphen.
Contrast:
"Hey, Dog-Poo Boy, you left your shoes in the dumpster!"
"Hey, Cat-Shit Kid, sweep up this litter you tracked all over the floor!"
"See that kid over there behind the dumpster? That's the dog-poo boy i was telling you about."
posted by notsnot at 9:50 AM on February 26, 2020 [2 favorites]


Best answer: I'd capitalise, but not hyphenate, Dog Poo Boy.

Generally I'd hyphenate a compound if the first word was an adjective, which makes things pretty ambiguous. Otherwise I'd avoid. Dog Poo Boy makes sense to me and the hyphen is clunky. UK editor.
posted by Ted Maul at 10:28 AM on February 26, 2020 [4 favorites]


Regarding capitalization, the derisive nickname "Blubber" was capitalized in the eponymous book, so you'd be in good company.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 10:32 AM on February 26, 2020


Given that a po' boy -- po'boy -- po-boy -- po boy is a thing, I would go with the more defined "Dog-Poo Boy."
posted by TrishaU at 12:11 PM on February 26, 2020


Generally I'd hyphenate a compound if the first word was an adjective, which makes things pretty ambiguous.

Except in the phrase "dog poo," dog is an adjective, modifying poo. So I don't understand this objection to hyphenating.
posted by FencingGal at 12:39 PM on February 26, 2020


Best answer: Perhaps, but it’s non-standard enough that I don’t think there’s any real ambiguity. The style guide I normally work to (in UK public sector work) only calls for hyphens where there’s serious scope for misunderstanding, and this doesn’t meet the threshold for me.
posted by Ted Maul at 1:22 PM on February 26, 2020 [1 favorite]


Best answer: Agreeing with FencingGal - it's a proper noun, so use caps. But if the kids said "here comes the dog poo boy" then you wouldn't capitalize it. Like "Here comes the dog poo boy! Hey there Dog Poo Boy!"
posted by showbiz_liz at 2:21 PM on February 26, 2020 [2 favorites]


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