Notary Public or Public Notary?

notary public notaries publicNotary Public or Public Notary?

Question: Why do we say Notary Public and not 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.

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

Notary Public and Postpositive Adjectives

Postpositive adjectives are adjectives that follow the nouns they modify.  In Latin, the phrase is notarius publicus.  The English phrase “notary public” shows its origin from the Latin language.

Some other English phrases that use postpositive adjectives are:

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

The correct plural form is notaries public, not notary publics that is often seen. 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

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