Why isn't "hell" capitalized?

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B. Phillips:
By one definition it's a place (if you are of that particular religious bent.) A noun. And so should be capitalized.
"Capital H. Mortal belief; sin or error," whereas Webster's Third New International Dictionary (unabridged) says the same thing...but doesn't specify the capital "H".
Thoughts?
Brian
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Raymond S. Wise:
[nq:1]By one definition it's a place (if you are of that particular religious bent.) A noun. And so should be ... sin or error," whereas Webster's Third NewInternational Dictionary (unabridged) says the same thing...but doesn't specify the capital "H". Thoughts? Brian[/nq]
The "moon," "heaven," and the "earth," in the sense both of the spiritual realm existing between heaven and hell and in the sense of the planet, are also often left uncapitalized. In the past, "Heaven" tended to capitalized more often than "earth" and "hell," presumably because of the association with God. I think, however, that the capitalized version of "Earth," referring to the planet, is becoming more and more common. Scientists tend to capitalize it following the pattern used when writing the names of the other planets, and non-scientists writing about the environment and biological matters tend to follow this usage.

Raymond S. Wise
Minneapolis, Minnesota USA
E-mail: mplsray @ yahoo . com
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Martin Willett:
[nq:2]"Capital H. Mortal belief; sin or error," whereas Webster's Third New International Dictionary (unabridged) says the same thing...but doesn't specify the capital "H". Thoughts? Brian[/nq]
[nq:1]The "moon," "heaven," and the "earth," in the sense both of the spiritual realm existing between heaven and hell and ... the names of the other planets, and non-scientists writing about the environment and biological matters tend to follow this usage.[/nq]
Yes, Earth is our planet. The Moon should get a capital, but a moon should not. Earth as a synonym of soil does not get a capital. Incidentally other planets are covered in regolith, not earth (obviously inappropriate) and not either soil or dirt because they have inappropriate connotations.
I tend to use the capital letter for Hell as the mythical place, but in the wider sense of a bad place or bad experience or in swearing the capital letter does not seem appropriate.
e.g.
Bloody hell mate, it's hellish hot in here.
I damn you to Hell!
We're on the road to Hell.
Well, for what it's worth, that's my idea of hell.

Martin Willett
http://mwillett.org /
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meirman:
[nq:1]"Capital H. Mortal belief; sin or error," whereas Webster's Third New International Dictionary (unabridged) says the same thing...but doesn't specify the capital "H".[/nq]
The actual location of Hell has been closed for remodeling, since just before the dictionary you mention was published. They have been depending on spiritual, philosophical, and theological emulations of Hell for now.
Hell itself was planned to reopen July 2004, if materials and workers are available on time. Unfortunatly, they contractors and employers are mostly residents and soon-to-be residents of hell, so not surprisingly, there is a lot of graft, no-shows, people at the track when they should be at work. Actual reopening is expected some time in 2009.
[nq:1]Thoughts? Brian[/nq]
s/ meirman If you are emailing me please
say if you are posting the same response.
Born west of Pittsburgh Pa. 10 years
Indianapolis, 7 years
Chicago, 6 years
Brooklyn NY 12 years
Baltimore 20 years
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meirman:
[nq:2]The "moon," "heaven," and the "earth," in the sense both ... the environment and biological matters tend to follow this usage.[/nq]
[nq:1]Yes, Earth is our planet. The Moon should get a capital, but a moon[/nq]
If you think so. How about Armstrongia, or Brazilia?
[nq:1]should not. Earth as a synonym of soil does not get a capital. Incidentally other planets are covered in regolith, not earth (obviously inappropriate) and not either soil or dirt because they have inappropriate connotations.[/nq]
Interesting. Our air, climate etc. probably makes the substances different anyhow. Are there regolith worms?
[nq:1]I tend to use the capital letter for Hell as the mythical place, but in the wider sense of a ... damn you to Hell! We're on the road to Hell. Well, for what it's worth, that's my idea of hell.[/nq]
s/ meirman If you are emailing me please
say if you are posting the same response.
Born west of Pittsburgh Pa. 10 years
Indianapolis, 7 years
Chicago, 6 years
Brooklyn NY 12 years
Baltimore 20 years
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Paul Rooney:
[nq:1]I tend to use the capital letter for Hell as the mythical place, but in the wider sense of a bad place or bad experience or in swearing the capital letter does not seem appropriate.[/nq]
I'm sure it should be capitalised, along with 'the devil', but I resist because it seems as though I'd be giving some respect where none is due.

Paul
My Lake District walking site (updated 29th September 2003): http://paulrooney.netfirms.com
Please sponsor me for the London Marathon at:
http://www.justgiving.com/london2004
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Joe Fineman:
[nq:1]"Capital H. Mortal belief; sin or error," whereas Webster's Third New International Dictionary (unabridged) says the same thing...but doesn't specify the capital "H".[/nq]
In my CDROM AHD, the place definition (given first) has the note "Often Hell". In my experience, religious writers who take the notion seriously and use the word literally tend to use the capital H. I think what leads to the lowercase h in more casual use is the way the literal meaning grades off into mere profanity it's hard to draw a line. C. S. Lewis has a little fun with the contrast:

Perhaps my bad temper or my jealousy are gradually getting worse so gradually that the increase in seventy years will not be very noticeable. But it might be absolute hell in a million years: in fact, if Christianity is true, Hell is the precisely correct technical term for what it would be.
Mere Christianity
I presume he proofread that carefully.

Joe Fineman (Email Removed)
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Ayaz Ahmed Khan:
(I'm sorry if this lands in another thread, because I myself found the reply under Raymond's name in the wrong thread. I have, of course, edited the attributes.)
[nq:2]But you could at least have seen how his mother would have slapped him around, and dragged him home by his ear.[/nq]
[nq:1]Mothers (and fathers) mostly do not do that anymore here. Apart from anything else, he's head and shoulders above either of them, and spoiling children, and thinking that my little angel can do no wrong, seems to be the modern pastime.[/nq]
I don't know why, but I get the feeling that his mother might be stricter than either you or I think she is. She simply doesn't know of what her son does in his spare time, or else who-knows-what might happen. Much of the daring teenagers I have come across are those that have very strict parents.
[nq:2]It's fun, and it's not every day you get a chance like that to grin and grin and grin to your heart's content.[/nq]
[nq:1]I don't grin when I see someone too young, and possibly too stupid, to know any better. I just hope ... do. Police statistics indicate that the number of people regularly committing crime is about equivalent to 1% of the population.[/nq]
Police statistics aren't reliable. Statistics, in fact, I think, is an unreliable word.
Maybe, just maybe, if these yobs get busted, and spend a night or two in jail, they might change. If so, you could do much to make a difference, only if you choose to.

Ayaz Ahmed Khan
Yours Forever in,
Cyberspace.
http://adic.netfirms.com/fastce/home.html
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Dr Robin Bignall:
[nq:1](I'm sorry if this lands in another thread, because I myself found the reply under Raymond's name in the wrong thread. I have, of course, edited the attributes.)[/nq]
[nq:2]Mothers (and fathers) mostly do not do that anymore here. ... can do no wrong, seems to be the modern pastime.[/nq]
[nq:1]I don't know why, but I get the feeling that his mother might be stricter than either you or I ... else who-knows-what might happen. Much of the daring teenagers I have come across are those that have very strict parents.[/nq]I have observed* those people and their behaviour over a period of three years, Ayaz, for they live in a house, the side of which is opposite my front garden across a very narrow road, but I only *met them the other Saturday. Over those years, particularly when I could not walk even to the front of my own drive, I have had to call the police on 5 or 6 occasions to have cars that were blocking my drive shifted so I could drive out. On every occasion these cars proved to belong to this family or its visitors, and they were parked opposite my drive despite the rest of the road being empty, for every house has room in its drive for two cars here; some, like mine, three.

I will not go into more detail, other than to say that on a couple of the earlier occasions, when the police went from door to door to check where the owners might be, they struck lucky immediately, for this house is number 1 in the close. On a couple of subsequent occasions at weekends, Jeanne went over to politely enquire if the latest car blocking us was one of their visitors, and got a frosty response, after which we had to call the police and tell them the story.

I've seen the son kicking a football into the sides of cars parked down the street on many occasions as I've been driving out. His parents are less strict than you can possibly easily imagine, having been brought up, no doubt, to respect other civilised people's rights and property, as I was.
[nq:1]Police statistics aren't reliable. Statistics, in fact, I think, is an unreliable word.[/nq]
In this case they are probably right. Many independent reports over recent years have put the average number of people actively occupied in crime at any one time between 200,000 and 500,000 in mainland Britain. That's about 1% of the population at a maximum. When I rant about such things, I tend to pick headline cases to quote, to make my point, but as John Dean and Matti (and others) have pointed out, the chance of any one particular property being chosen at any one particular time for a hit is very small. If you or your property keeps getting hit, then you have to ask what makes it or you so attractive to criminals.
[nq:1]Maybe, just maybe, if these yobs get busted, and spend a night or two in jail, they might change. If so, you could do much to make a difference, only if you choose to.[/nq]The prison experience of Tony Martin (the reclusive chap who lived in a remote farmhouse, and who shot and killed one of the three robbers who had deliberately targeted him) showed those who care to know that the majority of people in prison become attached to it. In general, most are young, poorly educated and barely literate, on drugs possibly before they first came to prison and certainly having no difficulty in remaining on them while inside. They refuse education, preferring to spend their time in the gym, listening to pop music, and lounging around.

When many are released, they often commit a crime within a short time because they feel lost outside and want to get back with their mates. This sort of behaviour has been noticed and documented on many occasions, not just by "bleeding heart" groups. A recently-retired chief inspector of prisons wrote many damning reports of the conditions inside prisons, and the sort of people who keep coming back, but most of them were filed and forgotten.
The short, sharp shock treatment has been tried, but the age at which it is effective has reduced so much that most civilised people cannot believe how young the kids to which it has to be applied have to be. "But they're so young" was a cry before and during the trial of the two ten-years-olds who murdered James Bulger, a toddler, by beating him to death a decade or so ago. In Britain, one would have to catch a sensitive child at around the age of 10, performing his first crime, to make such a shock effective.

In certain inner city parts of America and Britain, police, social workers and probation officers, athletes and the like, and parents, give a great deal of their time, voluntarily, to help prevent kids as young as 10 (Britain) or 6 (America) from being recruited by gangs. Once hooked by gangs, kids are almost immune to the shock treatment, and on both sides of the pond such kids in mid-teens boast of their crimes and punishments to other, younger and more gullible kids, and are considered to be heroic and cool.

The stock answer seems to be "Education, education, education", but it does not seem to have worked for many of the kids who are most vulnerable.

wrmst rgrds
Robin Bignall
Quiet part of Hertfordshire
England
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