Notary Public or Public Notary?

notary public notaries publicNotary Public or Public Notary?

Question: Why do we say Notary Public, rather than Public Notary?

Answer: As a general rule in English grammar, the adjective (public) is placed before the noun (notary).  In Romance languages such as Spanish, Portuguese, French, Italian, and Romanian, the adjective follows the noun.

Example: White House (English) versus Casa Blanca (Spanish)

Postpositive Adjectives

Postpositive adjectives are adjectives that follow the nouns they modify.  In Latin, the phrase is notarius publicus.  The Englishnotary public” shows its Latin origin.

Some other English phrases using postpositive adjectives are:

  • accounts payable
  • attorney general
  • postmaster general
  • court martial
  • God almighty
  • poet laureate
  • words unspoken

The plural is notaries public, not notary publics. The noun is plural, not the adjective.

Some incorrect spellings seen are notary republic, notery public and notory public.

The Olde English spelling was Notary Publick or Publick Notary, sometimes publique notary.

Visit our website for Colorado Springs Mobile Notary services or Colorado Notary Training classes.

[Last-Modified Date 2017-04-27] add review schema, new image

Notary Public or Public Notary?
  • Notary Public or Public Notary?
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