By Bryan


2014-09-02 21:20:22 8 Comments

With reference to the following sentence:

I am returning to University in a few weeks.

Given that the person stating this is referring to a specific university through implication (for example, because they are returning for their second year of study at the university they studied at during their first year), is this still considered a proper noun, or should it be treated as a common noun?

In other words, should the spelling of University be capitalised in this context?

1 comments

@Sven Yargs 2014-09-03 00:52:43

Many years ago I attended classes (sporadically) at a tiny college in Maryland whose staff and students consistently referred to it in internal correspondence as "The College." The college's quarterly magazine was even named The College. Then I attended classes in graduate school (even more sporadically) at a gigantic state university that so dominated its in-state peers (in the minds of its staff and students) that many people would buy stick-on decals for their car that read "The University of Texas" and then snip off the "of Texas," confident that everyone would know what school "The University" referred to.

In both instances, however, the definite article was always included with "College" or "University." Without "The" (or at the very least "the"), the designation would have become too amorphous to sustain its sense, I think. In any case, I would spell university with a lowercase u in the example sentence you give, since I don't see any improvement in meaning to be got from the capital U.

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