France is one of the most beautiful countries in the world and the French tend to hold themselves to very high standards. As such, it is expected that any terminology relating to the nation itself, its people or speech should adhere to strict grammatical rules.
Is French Capitalized?
The simplest answer is yes since French, even when used as an adjective, is referencing a proper noun.
However, before any explanation is provided, it is wise to explore which parts of speech the term pertains to as it will facilitate understanding.
1. It is a proper noun
Nouns are names of places, people and things, we all know that. The term “French” can be used as a noun and a proper noun for that matter. For example, if we say: “The French has just arrived,’ The word ‘French’ represents nationality. Rules of grammar place nationality under proper nouns. The term can just as well be replaced with a real name such as Donald, James or Sarah. This, therefore, forms one of the bases to why the word “French” should be capitalized.
2. It can also function as a proper adjective
Any word that modifies a noun is known as an adjective. They come before a noun and are used to give more information about the noun. The term “French” not only plays the role of a noun but can also be an adjective. For instance: “The French Economy is quite stable.” The noun, in this case, is the word “Economy.” However, once we add French to the sentence, then the Economy is awarded an identity, a French one to be precise. Thus, the word French modifies the currency as a proper adjective. As per the rules of capitalization, proper adjectives should also be capitalized.
Is French Fries Capitalized?
No, “french fries” is not capitalized. According to the AP Stylebook and Chicago Manual of Style, the “french” in “french fries” refers to the style of cut, not the country of France. Therefore, “french” in this case is a common noun and should be lowercase.
Generally, no matter what part of speech the term “French” represents, it should always be capitalized. I will leave you with the following two examples of how the word can be used as both a proper noun and proper adjective.