multipart names :

multipart names

In many European languages family names are often preceded by a preposition (de, da, di, von, and van all mean “of”), an article (le and la mean “the”) or both (du, des, del, de la, della and van der all mean “of the”). Such prefixes often originated as designators of nobility—or pretensions to it—but today they are just incidental parts of certain names.In their original languages the two parts of the name are usually separated by a space, and the prefixed preposition or article is not capitalized unless it begins a sentence. If you take a college course involving famous European names you will be expected to follow this pattern. It’s not “De Beauvoir” but “de Beauvoir”; not “Van Gogh” but “van Gogh.” The only exception is when the name begins a sentence: “De Gaulle led the Free French,” but “Charles de Gaulle had a big nose.”Some European names evolved into one-word spellings early on (Dupont, Lamartine, Dallapiccola), but they are not likely to cause problems because English speakers are usually unaware of

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