As I was writing this sentence:
I wanted to take her to Tango lessons.
I was wondering whether I should capitalize Tango. I called my buddy who is a Ph.D. in english who could not give me a definitive answer. Of course he began his answer by explaining that he was not a grammarian.

Thanks!
To reply to the email. Remove the W.
1 2
As I was writing this sentence: I wanted to take her to Tango lessons. I was wondering whether I should ... not give me a definitive answer. Of course he began his answer by explaining that he was not a grammarian.

No, because tango is not a proper noun; it's a noun (or an adjective) that refers to a style of music or dancing, not the name of a dance.

If you go to tango lessons you can learn the Argentine tango dances like Tango Canyengue and Tango Milonguero as well as the Finnish Tango and the Chinese Tango.
Owain
As I was writing this sentence: I wanted to take ... his answer by explaining that he was not a grammarian.

No, because tango is not a proper noun; it's a noun (or an adjective) that refers to a style of ... Argentine tango dances like Tango Canyengue and Tango Milonguero as well as the Finnish Tango and the Chinese Tango. Owain

I disagree. If one went to a class in woodworking you would not capitalize it, however, if you went to Woodworking class, you would. Similarly, I believe, that in this situation, you would capitalize tango. Even if it were only called "Dance class," you would capitalize the proper name of the class. There is one caveat, though. If the tango lesson(s) are not specific to any class(es) in other words, they are just any tango lessons and the class and location are uncertain and not part of the reference then you don't capitalize it.
Dan
Teachers: We supply a list of EFL job vacancies
Dan schrieb:
No, because tango is not a proper noun; it's a ... well as the Finnish Tango and the Chinese Tango. Owain

I disagree. If one went to a class in woodworking you would not capitalize it, however, if you went to ... lessons and the class and location are uncertain and not part of the reference then you don't capitalize it.

I disagree - for me it's tango class or woodworking class, although I'd prefer "woodwork class". Only in a timetable or on a report card would I capitalise the name of a class - other than a language class, but that's because the adjective relating to the names of languages are capitalised.

Regards, Einde O'Callaghan
Dan schrieb:

I disagree. If one went to a class in woodworking ... part of the reference then you don't capitalize it.

I disagree - for me it's tango class or woodworking class, although I'd prefer "woodwork class". Only in a timetable ... than a language class, but that's because the adjective relating to the names of languages are capitalised. Regards, Einde O'Callaghan

Context is all important here, of course. But, for the sake of standardization, I think there still needs to be some clarification. The Handbook for Writers by Simon and Shuster in the 2nd edition indicates that school courses are capitalized. It doesn't say that the school must a state sponsored school or that the class must be in a language. In fact, it gives Chemistry 342 as an example. It does go on to give "my English class" as another example. The delineation between when to capitalize a class and when not to capitalize a class is, as I said before, when the reference is not to a particular class. The example given is "a chemistry class."

That aside, the original poster did pluralize the word lessons. That could cause the word tango to lose it proper noun status. That isn't addressed in the grammar book. In that case, I would say that it is a judgment call dependent on further context.
Yours,
Dan
Dan schrieb: I disagree - for me it's tango class ... to the names of languages are capitalised. Regards, Einde O'Callaghan

Context is all important here, of course. But, for the sake of standardization, I think there still needs to be ... grammar book. In that case, I would say that it is a judgment call dependent on further context. Yours, Dan

This reply refers mainly to the final post in the quoted threadl.

Context is indeed important here, Dan. The original poster asked a simple question and really, truly just wanted to know if "tango" should be capitalized in the sentence given.
The answer is no.
It would be "tango lessons."
It would be "English lessons."
It would be "Chemistry 342."
"Tango 101" as a class does not exist. "Dance 101" does. This has already been made perfectly clear in this thread, yet bears repeating.

All adjectives of nationality (English, Spanish, Mexican) are always capitalized in English.
A final note, Dan: Simon and Schuster (not Shuster) published your Handbook for Writers (second edition). Actually, they published a seventh edition of the book in 2004.
You're using a reference book that was put out in 1989, and sells for one whole dollar (American) online. I just thought that should be "clarified for the sake of standardization," as it were.

Ah, the glorious feeling of relief in my thrice-busted Latin witnesses...
Students: Are you brave enough to let our tutors analyse your pronunciation?
You're using a reference book that was put out in 1989, and sells for one whole dollar (American) online.

I'm still using Fowler & Fowler, The King's English, 3rd edition which originally cost the princely sum of eight shillings and sixpence.

Owain
Context is all important here, of course. But, for the ... is a judgment call dependent on further context. Yours, Dan

This reply refers mainly to the final post in the quoted threadl. Context is indeed important here, Dan. The original ... "clarified for the sake of standardization," as it were. Ah, the glorious feeling of relief in my thrice-busted Latin witnesses...

How do you know that Tango 101 doesn't exist? You are a sadly confused man (or woman, as it were).
Your conscience should forbid your misleading of the blind. However, it does take all kinds to make the world go 'round, as it were.

We, in fact don't know if it should or shouldn't be capitalized. It depends on how it is meant. Anything beyond that is moot, as it were.

Yours,
Dan
This reply refers mainly to the final post in the ... the glorious feeling of relief in my thrice-busted Latin witnesses...

How do you know that Tango 101 doesn't exist? You are a sadly confused man (or woman, as it were). ... shouldn't be capitalized. It depends on how it is meant. Anything beyond that is moot, as it were. Yours, Dan

Holy schmoly. Dan, it's August in Athens and it is HOT. I'm grumpy. Perhaps I shouldn't have put it that way.
But calling me sadly confused and accusing me of a lack of conscience...now that's just beyond the pale. I feel provoked, so it's time to explain precisely why "Tango 101" does not exist.

In the traditional American university system, number suffixes refer to the registration listing of the school. In the SUNY system, where I got my BA, we used this system, and I am intimately familiar with it.

100-level classes were by and large for freshmen. They consisted of elementary-level, introductory classes to specific areas of the subject.
For instance, English 131, at SUNYCAB (Buffalo State College), was Medieval Literature.
200-levels were for sophomores
300-levels were for juniors
400-levels, seniors.
500- and 600-level classes are for graduate students, although undergraduates can often register for them.
Now, anyone can take any classes if they are not restricted to students who have successfully passed a specified introductory-level class in the academic discipline (300 and 400-levels are usually restricted). The numbers are just a rough guide, nowadays.
Generally speaking, the two most important 100-level classes for each discipline are the "100" class and the "101" class. The 100 class is for people not planning to major in the discipline. the 101 is for people who plan on making that discipline their major.

In my undergraduate major, English Language and Literature, we had:

English 100 (for people looking for a very general introduction to English Studies, usually to fulfill a General Education requirement).

English 101 (for anyone who was seriously thinking about majoring in English).
This is the way 100 and 101 classes work in every major. The academic discipline itself holds the 100 and 101 level classes, not any specialization within the discipline. They are general-purpose classes. So you'll find Mathematics 101, Biology 101, Journalism 101 and Philosophy 101 in college catalogues, not Differential Calculus 101, Crustacean Digestion 101, Newspaper Ethics 101 and First-Order Logic
101.

I should mention that many American universities have abandoned this traditional system. At Brown, where I did my graduate work, the administration had a 2-digit system and felt that the old system was little more than a dinosaur.
Now Dan, can you conceive of and locate an accredited American university or college that is traditional enough to use the traditional American system AND is radical enough to have an independent Tango department? Not a Dance department, remember, but a TANGO department. It's ridiculous, but even so...
There are approximately 3,500 US colleges and universities, so let me get you started. You need to go to www.petersons.com and do a CollegeQuest search, JUST LIKE I DID BEFORE I POSTED. Amateur hour is over, Dan.
Judging from your reference book, you obviously took an introductory creative writing class back in college. In point of fact, at SUNY Oswego, where I did such a class under a really bright guy named Robert O'Conner, he recommended the same damned book and I bought it. You're not exactly hefting a definitive guide there, Dan my man. And you didn't even know the name of the publisher? Don't tell me "Shuster" was an honest typo, Dan. That dog won't hunt.
So what is it, Dan? You proudly asserted that Tango 101 might exist, which means that you probably didn't spend all that much time in college. You're citing a third-rate reference book that is hopelessly outdated. And, if you speak English as a first language, which I cannot believe that you do not, you do know that Einde's answer was absolutely correct and in THE SEARCH TO PROVE THAT DAN IS ALWAYS RIGHT are insisting that you didn't step on your crank. What gives?

I often feel I have assumed the crown (or the dunce cap) of Chief MELE Jester Jerk by default: do you really want to take my title away from me? Feel free...but please stop stepping on your crank!
Students: We have free audio pronunciation exercises.
Show more