Proper Names

Q. When I’m writing a press release with different bird species, should they all be capitalized or only the specifically named bird? Example: The common birds include rufous hummingbirds, Steller’s Jays, ravens, varied thrush, mountain bluebirds, red crossbill, ruffed grouse, spotted and barred owls, and many more.

Q. Blonde, or blond? I was taught that the adjective is always blond —a blond woman. And blonde (noun) describes a woman who is blond—the pretty blonde lounged by the pool. But can blonde also be used as an adjective? Her hair was blonde?

Q. “Smart phone” or “smartphone”?

A. Many, many “how do you spell X?” queries come to the Q&A. Such questions are of the lowest priority for replies, because we know that anyone who can reach our Q&A has access to a computer, and therefore access to online dictionaries and search engines. Except for those extremely few of you whose moms we are, we are not your mom. And if we were, we would say, “Sorry, chickie—look up your own words.”