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Thread: Elves or elves? Men or men? Dwarf or dwarf?

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Okay I am back,
and I was wrong *g* it doesnt stand in the UT, no, it stand in the LotR:

Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, Note on the Text

In the production of this first volume, Tolkien experienced what became for him a continual problem: printers error and compositors mistakes, including well intentioned 'corrections' of his sometimes idiosyncratic usage.
These 'corrections' include the altering of dwarves to dwarfs, elvish to elfidh, further to farther, nasturtians to nasturtiums, tray and say to try to say and (worst of all' to Tolkien) elven to elfin. In a work such as lord of the Rings, containing invented languages and delicately constructed namenclatures, errors and inconsistencies imped both the understanding and the appreciation of serius readers - and Tolkien had many such readers from the very early on.

Later in*Note on the Text*
(Tolkien made a few small corrections, but further errors entered FotR in its second impression when the printer, having disturbed the type after the first printing, reset the book without informing the postAuthorID or publisher.)

I think there are more information over this in the *Note on the Text. But I realize, now I write this to you, it doesnt really helps you, does it? But everybody has the book at home (I think ;-) ) and in this way you can read it yoyrself. The *Note on the Text* goes around 4-6 pages (I am not quiet sure) but it is very good.

Bey then
We discussed this problem in Was Tolkien Prejudiced or What? under Author as it had been bugging me too. We decided I believe, that he tried to follow the rules of the style manuals; however, he messed up occasionally and many of these slipped by his editor, leaving us with the quandary.

While I understand why 'a hobbit' isn't capitalized, I still haven't figured out why 'all Hobbits' aren't.
In general, whether or not a noun takes a capital letter depends on whether it is proper or common. Only proper nouns take capital letters. If you are unsure of a particular word, you should consult a dictionary, such as The Oxford or The Maquarie.

Sadly, My Maquarie Dictionary does not have an entry for 'Hobbit', but my Concise Oxford lists it with a lower case 'h'.

Capitalisation can be confusing and context realated. Hobbit should always take a capital at the start of a sentance. "The Hobbit", as in the title of the book, takes a capital because it is a title.

*source: The Australian Commonwealth Government Style Manual - sorry I don't have an English Style Manual.

While I understand why 'a hobbit' isn't capitalized, I still haven't figured out why 'all Hobbits' aren't.

Okay, my interpretation (I am no expert) is that hobbit does not take a capital unless it is an individual's name (or epithet) or it is being used to describe the race as a whole, ie 'a hobbit' isn't referring to a particular hobbit, it could be any hobbit, 'all hobbits' could refer to any group of hobbits not necessarily the entire race.

eg: Yesterday I met a man by the name of John Hobbit.

All hail Bilbo the Hobbit! (epithet)

When in a boat, all hobbits are nervous.(non-specific group of hobbits)

When in a boat, Hobbits are nervous. (hobbits as a racial group)

If there are any experts reading this post, please correct me if I am wrong. Big Smile Smilie

Allyssa, what you wrote about "hobbit" according to style, makes sense. I just was wondering why Tolkien often ignored it or didn't he? I don't remember him ever...

Oh! Someplace earlier you said he didn't consider them a separate race, but an ofshoot of Men; therefore, they don't merit the capitalization. Now I've got it. Thanks Happy Elf Smilie
I have noticed in the prologue of LOTR, that Tolkien capitalised nearly all the H's in hobbit, yet in the body of the book, he seems to have followed the style.

I am not sure why this was done, unless it is because the prologue is in the style of a scholarly essay (supposedly penned by Bilbo himself) and the body is the 'story'.

Perhaps the rules that governed capitalisation were different in the '50s, or such things were not regarded as overly important. Or maybe Bilbo was following a different style? Big Laugh Smilie
*goes in search of an Official Shire Style Guide
Hey , I am 100 % sure I was reading in one of the Introducions of the books ( I think it was the UT, BUT I PROMISS I HAVE A LOOK)that Tolkien himself was very angry over this problem, when I am not completely wrong he was saying, that he did it *all right* but the editor and the book-personens (you know what I mean) makes this mistakes with the names. I have a look, I am latest back in the Internet on Sunday. bey
Finding that, will be neat Nessa, then we can put a wrap on this pseudo-problem and I can quit worrying about it. Cool Elf Smilie