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  #1  
Old 10-07-2009, 02:47 PM
cjepson cjepson is offline
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realtors, sorry, "Realtors"

I've noticed recently (well, in the past few years, I guess) that every time I see the word "realtor" used in the newspaper, it's capitalized. Like, "Sal Mundi is a Realtor in Burfsville." WTF is up with that? Is there some law that says you have to capitalize the word? How did rEaLtorS get to be on a par with heads of state, pontiffs, etc.?
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  #2  
Old 10-07-2009, 02:50 PM
Punoqllads Punoqllads is offline
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Realtor is a trademark. Real estate agent is the generic term. Compare it to Xerox versus copy machine.

Oh, here's the relevant wikipedia entry: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nationa...ademark_status

Last edited by Punoqllads; 10-07-2009 at 02:52 PM.. Reason: Added cite
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  #3  
Old 10-07-2009, 02:50 PM
fandango fandango is offline
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Originally Posted by cjepson View Post
I've noticed recently (well, in the past few years, I guess) that every time I see the word "realtor" used in the newspaper, it's capitalized. Like, "Sal Mundi is a Realtor in Burfsville." WTF is up with that? Is there some law that says you have to capitalize the word? How did rEaLtorS get to be on a par with heads of state, pontiffs, etc.?

It's a private association or club like the Rotary, I believe...its a bit more than just "real estate agent". So just like Rotarians, Realtors are capitalized.
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  #4  
Old 10-07-2009, 02:52 PM
friedo friedo is online now
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The National Association of Realtors invented the word "realtor" and trademarked it, so only they can bestow that title upon a real-estate agent. (Anybody using it without their permission would be in violation of the trademark.) So they insist upon it always being capitalized, like a brand name. Which it is.
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  #5  
Old 10-07-2009, 03:03 PM
aldiboronti aldiboronti is offline
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"I propose that the National Association adopt a professional title to be conferred upon its members which they shall use to distinguish them from outsiders. That this title be copyrighted and defended by the National Association against misuse... I therefore, propose that the National Association adopt and confer upon its members, dealers in realty, the title of realtor (accented on the first syllable)."

C.N. Chadbourn, National Real Estate Journal, March 1916.

Note that Chadbourn doesn't capitalize the word himself, that must have come a little later. (Taken from OED where it is the first cite for the term.)

The term is not used in the UK, where real-estate agent is shortened to estate agent.

Last edited by aldiboronti; 10-07-2009 at 03:05 PM..
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  #6  
Old 10-07-2009, 03:10 PM
cjepson cjepson is offline
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Fascinating... it doesn't bother me to see something like "Rotarian" capitalized, because it seems self-evident that that refers to an organization. But somehow, "Realtor" just sounds to me like a generic term for an occupation, and that's why it struck me as weird to see it capitalized.
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  #7  
Old 10-07-2009, 03:19 PM
Polycarp Polycarp is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cjepson View Post
Fascinating... it doesn't bother me to see something like "Rotarian" capitalized, because it seems self-evident that that refers to an organization. But somehow, "Realtor" just sounds to me like a generic term for an occupation, and that's why it struck me as weird to see it capitalized.
That's the point -- they (the Natl. Assn. of Realtors) are trying to avoid the genericization of Realtor as a synonym for real estate agent. In theory, and generally in practice (though there are exceptions) a N.A.R. member is bound by a code of ethics, a duty of professional care to the client (presumably as opposed to a fly-by-night r.e.a. that is not a N.A.R. member). Not everyone holding himself out as a Realtor will live up to this, but the fact they've gone through the process of qualifying with a professional organization should be a sign that they're intending to be on the up-and-up with you as a client.
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  #8  
Old 10-07-2009, 03:20 PM
RealityChuck RealityChuck is offline
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Yes. Most people don't realize it's a trademark.
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  #9  
Old 10-07-2009, 03:36 PM
cjepson cjepson is offline
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Originally Posted by Polycarp View Post
That's the point -- they (the Natl. Assn. of Realtors) are trying to avoid the genericization of Realtor as a synonym for real estate agent.
Yes, but clearly it didn't work for me...
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  #10  
Old 10-07-2009, 03:41 PM
boytyperanma boytyperanma is offline
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I capitalize it because my spell checker makes me.
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  #11  
Old 10-07-2009, 04:02 PM
Dr. Drake Dr. Drake is offline
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Originally Posted by boytyperanma View Post
I capitalize it because my spell checker makes me.
If your spell checker tried to make you jump off a brudge, would you do it?
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  #12  
Old 10-07-2009, 04:04 PM
Ludovic Ludovic is offline
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Originally Posted by Dr. Drake View Post
If your spell checker tried to make you jump off a brudge, would you do it?
As long as it gets rid of the squiggly lines it's a chance I'd have to take. Might not be too good for the budgie, though.
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  #13  
Old 10-07-2009, 04:04 PM
LawMonkey LawMonkey is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aldiboronti View Post
"I propose that the National Association adopt a professional title to be conferred upon its members which they shall use to distinguish them from outsiders. That this title be copyrighted and defended by the National Association against misuse... I therefore, propose that the National Association adopt and confer upon its members, dealers in realty, the title of realtor (accented on the first syllable)."
They've apparently relaxed the rule on stress--when I hear it spoken, it's generally with an accent on the second syllable and a longish 'o,' as if to emphasize the spelling. On the other hand, I mostly hear it on my local NPR station, and they've got peculiar enunciation here and there--Subaru, for example, is pronounced with an almost excessive stress on the last syllable. suba-ROO.
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  #14  
Old 10-07-2009, 08:39 PM
sweetie pea sweetie pea is offline
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Originally Posted by Dr. Drake View Post
If your spell checker tried to make you jump off a brudge, would you do it?
If it was the fastest way down off the damn brudge, yes, I would.
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  #15  
Old 10-07-2009, 10:51 PM
BuzzSaw101 BuzzSaw101 is offline
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From the 2003 Associated Press Stylebook: "Realtor The term real estate agent is preferred. Use Realtor only if there is a reason to indicate that the individual is a member of the National Association of Realtors.
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  #16  
Old 10-07-2009, 11:21 PM
Roland Orzabal Roland Orzabal is online now
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According to some sources, at least, it's even worse than you think: REALTOR

ETA: In the linked thread, the "REALTOR" discussion begins with post #3.

Last edited by Roland Orzabal; 10-07-2009 at 11:22 PM..
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  #17  
Old 10-08-2009, 06:02 AM
Polly Glot Polly Glot is offline
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I usually hear people pronounce Realtor as something akin to "REE-ladur."

(Of course, these are the same people that eat at "ChiPOLTay".)

Last edited by Polly Glot; 10-08-2009 at 06:03 AM.. Reason: punctuation anybody?
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  #18  
Old 10-08-2009, 07:25 AM
Jackmannii Jackmannii is offline
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Thanks to the AP for not buying into this self-promoting nonsense.

There are umpteen professions requiring a great deal more training and continuing education than real estate agents to maintain professional status, and it's difficult to think of any that demand Capitalization for the preferred Title.

I'm OK with Lipitor (at least, if they didn't advertise so much) but the insistence on capitalizing realtor is silly. Even those folks who morphed from undertaker to mortician to funeral director in an attempt to look stylish and important didn't go nuts over capitalizing themselves.
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  #19  
Old 10-08-2009, 07:28 AM
Contrapuntal Contrapuntal is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr. Drake View Post
If your spell checker tried to make you jump off a brudge, would you do it?
Jump off a brudge? Is that what the kids are calling it these days?

For that matter, what the heck kind of spell checker allows "brudge"?
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  #20  
Old 10-08-2009, 07:45 AM
jjimm jjimm is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Contrapuntal View Post
Jump off a brudge? Is that what the kids are calling it these days?

For that matter, what the heck kind of spell checker allows "brudge"?
One that also allows "whush".
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  #21  
Old 10-08-2009, 10:07 AM
aldiboronti aldiboronti is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Contrapuntal View Post
Jump off a brudge? Is that what the kids are calling it these days?

For that matter, what the heck kind of spell checker allows "brudge"?
You're assuming that everyone uses spellcheckers. I certainly don't, can't stand them.
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  #22  
Old 10-08-2009, 10:11 AM
davekhps davekhps is offline
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Originally Posted by Jackmannii View Post
Thanks to the AP for not buying into this self-promoting nonsense.

There are umpteen professions requiring a great deal more training and continuing education than real estate agents to maintain professional status, and it's difficult to think of any that demand Capitalization for the preferred Title.

I'm OK with Lipitor (at least, if they didn't advertise so much) but the insistence on capitalizing realtor is silly. Even those folks who morphed from undertaker to mortician to funeral director in an attempt to look stylish and important didn't go nuts over capitalizing themselves.
Probably because none of them are trademarks. You can't use Xerox as xerox for the same reason-- it's a brand name. Doesn't mean that you can't do whatever you want in your personal use, but a style standard is a style standard, and trademarks are respected.
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  #23  
Old 10-14-2009, 11:39 PM
needscoffee needscoffee is offline
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Dumpster is the same way. Capitalized.
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  #24  
Old 10-15-2009, 11:10 AM
Scarlett67 Scarlett67 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jackmannii View Post
There are umpteen professions requiring a great deal more training and continuing education than real estate agents to maintain professional status, and it's difficult to think of any that demand Capitalization for the preferred Title.
You are missing the point. Not all real estate agents are Realtors. Only those who have passed the National Association of Realtors qualifications are allowed to use the term, which the NAR has registered as a trademark and is therefore properly capped. The generic, lowercased equivalent is "real estate agent."

If the Funeral Directors Association (made-up group) registered the term "Bodystuffer" as a trademark and allowed only its qualified members to use the term (capitalized), that would be a parallel situation. But no one is capping "undertaker" because it is a generic term.

I'm reminded of the person who wrote in to Ann Landers all indignant about the constant capping of AIDS in the media. "What's so important about AIDS that it has to be all caps? You don't read about someone having CANCER."
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