Are both:

Who named Ely, that?


Who named Ely, Ely?


When trying ask who gave Ely that appellation.

  • @Jim: Could you tell me what's the OP is asking about? – Safira Jan 26 '14 at 1:24
  • @Safira- The OP wants to know how to ask for the name of the person who first assigned a name to something. For example if we wanted to know who gave you, Safira, your name we could ask, "Who named Safira, 'Safira'?" I.e., "Who gave Safira her name?" The answer is probably, "Her parents." – Jim Jan 26 '14 at 1:49
  • This would be a better question if you picked some generic example instead of using "X". – J.R. Jan 26 '14 at 2:43
  • @J.R. Agreed. Question updated. – Bleeding Fingers Jan 26 '14 at 11:08

Let's try each (note conjugation "named").

  • Who named "France", that? (Doesn't sound right to me.)
  • Who named "France", "France"? (Ok for short name and very casual. IMO, it has a bit of a humorous, colloquial, or relaxed tone due to redundancy.)
  • Who named The United States of America, "The United States of America"? (Redundancy is too awkward for larger phrases.)

Here are some more typical ways of asking this:

  • Who named "France"?
  • Who gave "France" its name?
  • Who gave the country "France" it's name?
  • Who was the person that came up with the name for the country "France"?
  • What is the origin of the name (for the country) "France"?
  • What is the etymology of the phrase, "to break the ice"?

Note there may not be a single person who gave a word a name, in which case you might use "origin" or "etymology".

Choice of form would depend on context. A lot of context allows you to be more succinct. For example, if you were a teacher giving a lesson about France and the answer was part of the prior night's reading assignment, you could just say "Who named France?" and the listeners would be prepared to understand the question.

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  • Who named France, "France." sounds just fine for a casual conversation. – Jim Jan 26 '14 at 0:50
  • I agree with Jim for a short name. But... "Who named The United States of America, 'The United States of America'?" would be awkward. I'll update my answer to include Jim's point. – CoolHandLouis Jan 26 '14 at 1:36

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