WHAT IS A NOM DU WEB OR NOM DE WEB OR NOM DE PLUME, OR SCREEN NAME OR PEN NAME?


A writer uses a nom de plume, a pen name, plume referring to the feather of a quill pen.

Many today use the expression nom de Web. I will explain below why I use de instead of du despite the French grammar issues that some people raise.

The 26 million subscribers of AOL (America Online) did not use their real names online. Just as non-AOL people have email addresses that are not usually the name of the person, such as fuzzybug@yehaw.com, AOL members have what are called Screen Names. They function within the AOL community with those made up names. Knowing what we now do about the worldwide epidemic of identity theft, online stalkers, and just plain old spam, it is reasonable that people don't want to just throw their names, addresses and phone numbers out there for countless strangers to harvest for who-knows-what nefarious purposes.

That is probably doubly wise if a person intends to have web pages that deal with volatile topics. And nothing is quite as volatile as religion. Many webmasters who have put their names and contact info out there, and who also write on touchy theological topics, are willing to deal with the hate mail that comes in from hotheads, and are willing to spend time reading through letters full of name calling, such as liar! heretic! deceiver! false prophet! Yes, its sad but true, but many Christians do that. Just get out there and mingle publicly online and discuss doctrine and you'll see.

I, for one, do not want to waste the hours and days God has given me, sifting and sorting through hostile emails and letters. I used to have a website through which people could just do that, ascertain all kinds of personal information about me, and that's how it was. I was using much of my time and energy attempting to reply to hotheads. Finally the Lord impressed it upon me that this was not the way He wanted me to live. Teach the truth, yes, but you don't have to flat out invite harassment as well as help people reach you with it.

Voltaire was the pen name of Franois - Marie Arouet. George Orwell, remembered for Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty-four was the pen name of the Englishman, Eric Arthur Blair. O. Henry remembered for The Gift of the Magi was the pen name for William Sydney Porter. Carlo Collodi remembered for Pinocchio was the pen name of Carlo Lorenzini.

Lewis Carroll remembered for Alice in Wonderland (Alices Adventures in Wonderland), was the pen-name of the Anglican clergyman Charles Lutwidge Dodgson.




Here is his signature.

John le Carre who wrote The Spy Who Came in from the Cold and Russia House is David John Moore Cornwell.

Some prolific writers use a pen name to segregate different types of work: Rev. Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (Lewis Carroll) also wrote logic and mathematics papers. One can understand that if today a person is writing professionally and marketing books about Wall Street investing and finances, and has a devoted readership in that field, but he also wants to write some things about angels and demons and the fact that they exist, he might want to consider a pen name. If not for the demon books then for the investment books. If you go looking in the Yellow Pages for a financial consultant to guide you in your investments, you don't really expect to see included in their ad what they believe about demon possession. Maybe a discreetly-placed fish logo, at most. But must an accountant also print on the jacket of his book about finances a statement like, P.S., I'm also an exorcist? No. This is where pen names come in handy. One name for finances, and another for wrestling against powers and principalities. Agatha Christie the mystery writer wrote romantic novels as Mary Westmacott. Many writers, particularly in genre fiction, are so prolific that they are forced to take pen names in order to sell their books to different publishers: this is the case, for instance, with John Dickson Carr, who, in the 1930s, was publishing two detective stories a year under his own name and another two, through another publisher, under the pen name Carter Dickson.

Perhaps a writer whose real name is Harold Hogbottom or Cecil Shickelgruber or Sandie Claus might want to come up with a pen name for marketing purposes or, more suitable for public consumption.

Would you forgive me if I were an adopted child, adopted by a family with the name of Knucklewarts, and as a child I had to live as Archibald Knucklewarts, but I long ago grew up and was now out of their home and on my own, and decided I do not wish to go through the remainder of my life as Archibald Knucklewarts? Suppose all my life I have wished I could just be a Bill Wilson? Would you hold it against me if I finally made the switch away from the adoptive family name of Archibald Knucklewarts to the simpler Bill Smith? Film star Kirk Douglas who was born Issur Danielovitch would side with me on this, Im sure. So would, I am certain, Jean-Claude Van Damme, who is really Jean-Claude Camille Francois Van Varenberg.

Dr. Seuss was Theodore Seuss Geisel. He wrote other books, under the name LeSieg. Entertainers have done the same thing: Tom Cruise is really Thomas Mapother IV. Walter Matthau is Walter John Matthow, although some say he is really Walter Matuschanskayasky. Demi Moore is Demetria Gene Guynes. Natalie Wood was Natalia Nikolaevna Zakharenko. W.C. Fields was William Claude Dukenfield. Michael Landon was Eugene Orowitz. Fred Astaire was Frederick Austerlitz. Jack Benny was Benjamin Kubelsky. Eddie Albert was Edward Albert Heimberger. Alan Alda is Alphonso D'Abruzzo. Woody Allen is Allen Konigsberg. Jennifer Aniston is Jennifer Anastassakis. Robert Blake is Michael Gubitosi. Yul Brynner is Yul Taidje Kahn, Jr., and Jimmy Dean was Seth Ward. Chuck Norris is Carlos Ray. Troy Donahue was Merle Johnson. Judy Garland was Frances Gumm. Cary Grant was Archibald Leach. Charlton Heston is Charles Carter. Bob Hope was Leslie Townes Hope. Rock Hudson was Roy Scherer. Tab Hunter was Arthur Gelien. Larry King is Larry Zeigler. Ben Kingsley is Krishna Banji. Boris Karloff was William Pratt. Cheryl Ladd is Cheryl Stoppelmoor. Veronica Lake was Constance Ockleman. Karl Malden is Mladen Sekulovich. Lou Diamond Phillips is Lou Upchurch. Brad Pitt is William Bradley Pitt. Roy Rogers was Leonard Slye. Mickey Rooney is Joe Yule. Meg Ryan is Margaret Mary Emily Anne Hyra. Winona Ryder is Winona Horowitz. Charlie Sheen is Carlos Irwin Estevez. Christian Slater is Christian Michael Leonard Hawkin. Kevin Spacey is Kevin John Fowler. Sylvester Stallone is Sylvester Gardenz. Meryl Streep is Mary Louise Streep. Tina Turner is Annie Mae Bullock. Christopher Walken is Ronald Walken. John Wayne was Marion Michael Morrison. Sigourney Weaver is Susan Alexandra Weaver. Raquel Welch is Raquel Tejada. Bruce Willis is Walter Willison.

C. S. Forester, remembered for Horatio Hornblower and The African Queen and The Good Shepherd was the pen name of Cecil Smith. Mark Twain remembered for Tom Sawyer and Huckelberry Finn was the pen-name of Samuel Clemens.

Here is his signature.


Ian Maclaren the famous Scottish writer remembered for Beside the Bonnie Brier Bush was the pen name of the clergyman, Rev. John Watson.

The famous newspaper columnist Ann Landers was really Esther Pauline Friedman Lederer, and Abigail Van Buren remembered for Dear Abby was the pen name of Ann Landers sister Pauline Esther Friedman.

Ellery Queen remembered for mystery novels was the pen name of the two man team, Frederic Dannay and his cousin Manfred B. Lee.

There are sticklers on French grammar who object to people who don't speak fluent French using the term nom de web for they say it is not the proper French way of saying it. They say it should properly be nom du Web.

As of June 2, 2006 using Google to search the term nom de web results in 750 hits. Nom du Web results in a mere 250 hits. If you want humanity to find your page on this subject with search engines, or, to find the term familiar, it is better titled nom DE web than nom DU web, French grammar issues aside.

The difference between de and du in this Web usage is basically this: A person is either

1. using term with the intention of speaking French, writing French, or using what he thinks would be French terms for things, in which case he should probably use du,

or

2. not being interested at all in French grammar, he is only Interested in practical and expeditious internet and Web communications, and is merely creating a Web-ism by chopping off the end of the already widely familiar term nom de plume and slapping on Web in place of plume. Planet-wide countless terms are used from other languages than a persons first language, and they use them without any interest in learning the language they are borrowing from. For instance, millions who speak only English use the French word liasson all the time. It has become an English word by regular use. A musician will speak of his repertoire of songs. Everyone uses déjà vu in common speech, neither knowing French grammar nor having any interest in learning it. May I just eat my potatoes au gratin without learning French please? May I send my my friends off on their trip with bon voyage? English speakers refer to giving a critique on something. We use it as either a verb or a noun. MUST we be interrupted and informed that the French use it only as a noun? English speakers say someone is "en route" to their destination. I think we say it, NOT with the intent of saying something French, but merely because en route is a faster (fewer syllables) expression than saying they are "on their way."

English-speakers may say they held a rendez-vous or lets rendez-vous. We can use it as either a noun or a verb. We do not care, nor do we need to be told, that to the French it is properly only the verb se rendre - to go - in the imperative.

It may be worth noting that millions of Frenchmen who cannot speak or write a paragraph in proper Latin similarly use isolated Latin words and terms all the time in their French speaking, such as the word etcetera (etc.), sine qua non, and the term vice versa. No one jumps on the Frenchman for not having the correct Latin prefix to them, or grammatical placement as per how true Latin speakers would have it. These Latin words have worked their way into the French language, and are as French now by way of constant usage, as is L'Avenue des Champs-Elyses.

The Latin word etcetera is French when used in a French sentence, and it is English when used in an English sentence, and it is unrealistic to insist that French and English speakers go learn proper Latin grammar to earn the right to incorporate the word into their vocabulary. Countless words in use by the average Frenchman or Englishman are actually Greek (pharmacy), etc.

The Internet and the Web are a whole new ballgame. This venue is global, and communications travel at the speed of click. Language barriers are rapidly crumbling. You can bring up a website in a foreign language, and Google asks you, Would you like this page translated into English? and you are a click away from reading it. And now audio translator software are being worked on. It won't be long before all those human translators at the U.N. who speak the translation into your headphones, will be replaced with a software.

There is a whole new planetary internet lingo appearing, and it follows no rules for proper word-crafting. Rather, that which is USED most becomes the grammar. Few people say electronic mail anymore. Most say email and many do not even learn that the e once stood for electronic. Who cares? Once upon a time we said Leave a message for me on my answering machine. Now we say voicemail. Is it really critical to point out that a message delivered by phone is not being sent via the mail, and so technically it should not be called mail? No. Voicemail it is.

The coup de grace: Sources I find out there tell us that the term nom de plume was not even given to us BY the French. They did not have the term in their language. The ENGLISH coined the term. The English INVENTED it. They coined the term to mean a writer's pen name only using as their model the French term nom de guerre, (war name) which had come to signify the same thing as the English word pseudonym. The English just lobbed guerre off the end and stuck on plume. So, Francophiles and purists of French grammar might cut us a little slack here. If the term was invented on English soil by Englishmen, perhaps in a sense it is theirs to use as they please. But let's not be possessive. Lets allow the French to borrow our nom de plume and use it in French sentences if they really like it. Just don't try to force us to say du instead of de.

The person out there on the WORLD WIDE Web writing it either as nom de web or as nom du web might be Japanese, and might only have English and German and Spanish as his second, third or fourth language, so lets give him a break.

But please, especially when it is worked into computerese or Web-ese as a hybrid word, lets forego the lectures on French grammar. As I said, the term nom de web results in 750 Google hits to only 250 for nom du Web. The significance of this is, that three times more people planet-wide will look up this topic with search engines by typing in nom de web than those who will search with nom du Web. French purists, Selah.

Whether you call it a nom du Web or nom de Web or nom de plume, or screen name or pen name, I use one, most often for writings that are circulating on the Web. The one I chose is a composite of names of my own relatives. I figured that by using names from my own family tree I was keeping my own DNA in my nom de plume. I hope that my reader will be as much at ease with this as he probably always has been with knowing the writer of Alice in Wonderland as Lewis Carroll or the writer of Tom Sawyer as Mark Twain. If the reader, for whatever reason, dislikes online screen names, email names such as fuzzybug@yeehaw.com, stage names of actors, and the pen names, nom de plumes of writers, I can only say, he has a herculean task before him if he intends to rid the universe of those customs. It would probably be better to simply face the fact that this is common and accepted practice.






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