Grammar: capitalization of the word "ballroom"

#1
I have wondered about this for sometime but I haven't come across any good answers to this despite much googling, so I'm hoping to get the opinions of fellow DF'ers. What is the accepted practice with regard to the capitalization of the words "ballroom" and "latin"?

I know that in general the word "latin" should be capitalized as "Latin" but what about ballroom? It seems strange to write "I enjoy ballroom and Latin dancing." Or is there really nothing strange about this? I want to write "I enjoy Ballroom and Latin dancing" so that there is a kind of parallel structure to the expression (i.e., both words, Ballroom and Latin, capitalized). However, I get the impression that, at least according to (perhaps non-dancing) grammarians, that the word ballroom should not be capitalized. Thoughts?
 

chachachacat

Well-Known Member
#2
That is an interesting question.
As a proofreader and dance instructor, I like the symmetry of Ballroom and Latin. And I would let this go to print.

But, come to think of it, ballerina, attorney, singer, even star, are not capitalized, so Ballroom Dance Instructor, would be wrong,(unless you are trying to impress a potential employer with the gravity of the job, including, teacher, dancer, amateur psychologist and marriage counselor, and are tactful, encouraging, knowledgable, cheerful and fun! Oh, yeah, and pretty and sexy and skinny don't hurt.).

Oops, my hijackin' mind (sung to the tune of Yore[sic] Cheatin' Heart)
will grate on some,
don't mean no harm,
but the deed is done.

Ok, it's just impromptu, not trying to impress anybody, just having some fun, okay? :lol:
 

ChaChaMama

Well-Known Member
#3
While I am not a grammarian, I do have a Ph.D. in English and an opinion on this question.

I think "latin dancing" falls under the same category as "french fries," "french kissing," or "english muffin." While it is true that one would normally capitalize "French" when referring to the language or to the people, I do not think one need do so for objects or activities that happen to have the word "french" as part of their moniker.

:) ChaCha Mama
 

Joe

Well-Known Member
#4
If you are talking about "ballroom dancing" as in the nonspecific ballroom dances, including waltz, foxtrot, cha cha, rumba, etc. feel free not to capitalize. If you're talking about Ballroom being waltz, tango, foxtrot, Viennese waltz, quickstep, then capitalize.

"Latin" is short for Latin American, which is definitely capitalized. Unless you mean latin dancing, as in what the Romans did.
 
#6
ChaChaMama said:
I think "latin dancing" falls under the same category as "french fries," "french kissing," or "english muffin." While it is true that one would normally capitalize "French" when referring to the language or to the people, I do not think one need do so for objects or activities that happen to have the word "french" as part of their moniker.
I will concur with CCM. No capitalization of latin in latin dancing or of ballroom in ballroom dancing.
 
#9
discovery said:
I have wondered about this for sometime but I haven't come across any good answers to this despite much googling, so I'm hoping to get the opinions of fellow DF'ers. What is the accepted practice with regard to the capitalization of the words "ballroom" and "latin"?
Standard, Smooth, Rhythm, and Latin all describe categories. Since they are noun-like, I capitalize them. I wouldn't capitalize "ballroom" unless I were talking about the ISTD specifically. And I don't capitalize "realtor" no matter what trademarks some business association holds on it.
 
#10
The terms "Ballroom" and "Latin" would refer solely to the International Style if we were all being uber-correct. An uncapitalized "ballroom" means a place where dances are held rather than a group of dances.
 
#13
Thanks for all the replies. I should add that in using the terms "ballroom" and "latin" I am referring to their more general usage, not as references to International Standard and International Latin. I think the options are:

1. "I enjoy ballroom and latin dancing."

2. "I enjoy ballroom and Latin dancing."

3. "I enjoy Ballroom and Latin dancing."

I guess no definitive answer has come up so far, but <2.> appears to be the most unlikely. ChaChaMama, I like your example of "latin dancing" being similar to "french fries". But I wonder if phrase "latin dancing" has achieved the same "standalone" status as "french fries" have.

Here'e a quote from a grammar page I found which seems to support what ChaChaMama said:

http://www2.ncsu.edu/ncsu/grammar/Capital3.html said:
Question: (From an N.C. State editing student): Should I capitalize the "B" in brussels sprouts?

Answer: In general, style manuals for all types of publications prescribe a streamlined "down" style for capitalization of words derived from proper names but used with a specialized meaning. This means that regardless of the style manual you consult, The Associated Press Stylebook (for newspaper style) or The Chicago Manual of Style for book and magazine style), you are likely to decide to lowercase the "B" in brussels sprouts on analogy with the initial "F" in french fries. The Chicago Manual, however, notes permissively that "Authors and editors must decide for themselves, but whatever choice is made should be followed consistently throughout a work."

This, of course, is license to do whatever your fancy directs. It is the Grammar Hotline's opinion that lowercasing brussels sprouts is one tiny step toward popularizing them. Furthermore, it is my considered opinion that Brussels sprouts are so vile that they do not deserve to be popular. In a quixotic attempt to keep them off my dinner plate, I am going to recommend consistent uppercasing of the "B" in Brussels sprouts.
So right now I am leaning to not capitalizing either word as in:
1. "I enjoy ballroom and latin dancing."

Which was my orginal inclination, but my spell check keeps yelling at me about the word "latin" supposed to being "Latin", leaving me with unsatisfactory expression of "ballroom and Latin" which has lead me to wonder if "Ballroom and Latin" was acceptable.

One of these days I'll post this question to a grammar site, but in any case, keep the opinions coming.
 

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