Why do people refer to an iPhone as a proper noun?

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by EvoXOhio, Dec 10, 2014.

  1. EvoXOhio macrumors member

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    #1
    For example, I say things like "I got an iPhone" Or "An iPhone can do this" or "My iPhone is over there."

    Yet I hear a lot of people, and read a lot of articles/forum posts, where people refer to an iPhone as if it were a person. They say things like "I got iPhone" or "iPhone does this" or "iPhone is the best phone"

    Am I missing something as to why it is referred to using a proper noun, as if it's a person? Whenever I hear it, it sounds grammatically wrong as well as a little pretentious.
     
  2. maflynn, Dec 10, 2014
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2014

    maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    #2
    I dunno, that's what I do from time to time., and no one has complained that I constructed my sentence incorrectly, when talking to them about my iPhone. *shrugs*
     
  3. Small White Car macrumors G4

    Small White Car

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    #3
    Probably because it's how Apple's presenters say it at all of their events.

    You're getting some things mixed up, though. Your example of "my iPhone" would still be used. For example, an Apple executive might say:

    iPhone is great at making calls. I use my iPhone to call Starbucks all the time.
     
  4. EvoXOhio thread starter macrumors member

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    #4
    Ah ok, I've never watched a presentation. I wonder why Apple says it that way? Yeah I was just giving some examples off the top of my head, I may have mixed up the specifics of when I've heard it used that way, but you get the idea.

    I don't know why, but this really bugs me. OCD I guess. They really should be saying "The iPhone is great at making calls. I use my iPhone to call Starbucks all the time"
     
  5. Small White Car macrumors G4

    Small White Car

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    #5
    If you really want to go down a rabbit hole, look at Star Trek and try to come up with a reason why it's always "The Enterprise" but never ever "The Voyager." Good luck.
     
  6. EvoXOhio thread starter macrumors member

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    #6
    Haha I'm not much of a Star Trek fan, but I'll for sure avoid those now. ;)
     
  7. bushido Suspended

    bushido

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    #7
    always makes me cringe as a foreigner. like "now available for iPhone" sounds wrong to me. they do it with iTunes too
     
  8. Small White Car macrumors G4

    Small White Car

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    #8
    iTunes actually makes sense because they're talking about it as a service, not an application.

    Like, "buy this game at Wal Mart, Target, or iTunes." You wouldn't put a "the" in front of any of those.
     
  9. bushido Suspended

    bushido

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    #9
    that's true but there is always one time they use it "wrong" in their promo stuff but I can't think of it right now
     
  10. Jason McAndrews macrumors member

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    #10
    English was never my thing in school. However, using iPhone as a noun seems accurate. A noun is a person, place or THING. An iPhone is a THING, hence iPhone is a noun. What bugs the crap out of me is when people call the iPod Touch the "iTouch". I would never be a pretentious douche and say something to someone that I heard say it, but inside it drives me crazy. It's like when someone calls me by a nickname when I don't know them. :eek:

    I re-read your original post... I see what you are saying now. Yes, I agree that sounds weird. My statement about "iTouch" still stands though. LOL
     
  11. MacDawg macrumors P6

    MacDawg

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    #11
    Doesn't bother me near as much as when people say/write "Apple are..." :)
     
  12. scaredpoet macrumors 604

    scaredpoet

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    #12
    Apple's intent here is to refer to a brand or entire product line. So they use proper nouns the same way other brands and product lines would be referred to. Much like you wouldn't say "I prefer to use the Firefox over the Safari as my browser."
     
  13. bushido Suspended

    bushido

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    #13
    don't event get me started with the wrong use of "does" and "do". rappers love to do it wrong.

    he DON'T do that yo

    we have a saying here like "he, she, it the "s" comes with"
     
  14. chabig macrumors 68040

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    #14
    The iPhone is not being referred to as a proper noun. It's just a common noun used without an article because the speaker is referring to the class of all iPhones.
     
  15. Fuchal macrumors 68020

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    #15
    Download the Office now - available for the Windows on the PC.
     
  16. EvoXOhio thread starter macrumors member

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    #16
    Yeah but you foreigners refer to companies in the plural form, which drives us American nuts haha. For example you guys say "Apple are doing a good job with iPhone updates" versus "Apple is doing a good job with iPhone updates"
     
  17. OllyW Moderator

    OllyW

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    #17
    There's nothing wrong with that usage if they are British. :p
     
  18. EvoXOhio thread starter macrumors member

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    #18
  19. talmy macrumors 601

    talmy

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    #19
    It's not a noun, proper or not, but an adjective. All trademarks are adjectives. See http://www.apple.com/legal/intellectual-property/trademark/appletmlist.html.

    Apple, to protect their trademark, would have you refer to it as "iPhone® mobile digital device". In casual conversation, the "mobile digital device" is implied. Since "iPhone" refers to a specific mobile digital device, one would treat it like a proper noun. Keep in mind that as soon as people refer to all mobile digital devices as iPhones, when it is used as a common noun, Apple would lose the trademark status.
     
  20. Newtons Apple Suspended

    Newtons Apple

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    #20
    There are some things that are just not worth worrying about:rolleyes:
     
  21. takeshi74 macrumors 601

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    #21
    People misuse nouns as proper nouns probably for the same type of reason as why you misuse OCD. People pick what they choose to focus on and are sloppy on various other things. Be careful picking nits if you're covered in them yourself.

    Yup. Language evolves not only through use but misuse as well.
     
  22. EvoXOhio thread starter macrumors member

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    #22
    How am I'm misusing OCD? I'm OCD about proper grammar, and saying iPhone the way they do does not sound grammatically correct.
     
  23. jpeg42 macrumors 6502a

    jpeg42

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    #23
    Wait a minute...... isn't there a forum rule that you can't point out grammar errors? And here we have a whole thread about a grammar error with a mod as one of the first responses :eek::eek:

    :cool:
     
  24. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #24
    Not sure I follow the question. You might as well ask why Apple is a proper noun when referring to a company, but not when referring to a fruit. A proper noun is a specific or unique person, place, or thing. Proper nouns should be capitalized, and not normally be preceded by the indefinite article (the). Common nouns are lowercase but can be preceded by the indefinite article.

    Apple complicates matters by using the lowercase (i) for their product names. This creates all sorts of issues, not the least of which is making it very awkward to begin a sentence with the name of the product. Magazines and newspapers seem to have settled on the capitalization of the names when using them at the beginning of a sentence (e.g., IPhone), but other publications (and Apple's own PR) will begin sentences with the lowercase letter. Both results are pretty horrible from a form and usage standpoint.
     
  25. Surf Monkey macrumors 68030

    Surf Monkey

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    #25
    Memories are short, I guess.

    This is a specific marketing and Apple culture choice that was made by Steve Jobs himself back in the 80s when the original Macintosh was launched. He wanted it to be a truly personal computer so he directed his staff to refer to it and market it as "Macintosh," not "the Macintosh."

    This is well documented Apple history and it's exactly why Apple continues to refer to their products in this way.
     

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