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Una de las putitas pobres que cazan clientes de solemnidad en la calle de los Notarios me pidió el cigarrillo de siempre, y le contesté lo mismo de siempre: Dejé de fumar hace hoy treinta y tres años, dos meses y diecisiete días (Memorias de mis putas tristes, Garcia Marquez).

"calle" is not capitalized in the above paragraph, which is the original version, but the English version (Grossman) uses the phrase as is also capitalizing "calle":

Calle de los Notarios

Which one is the usual convention? In general how should one write a street name in Spanish?

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    "Calle" is the best way to represent "Street" term, like "Avenida" has "avenue" term. – Carlos Vázquez Losada Nov 1 '16 at 11:28
  • I am not sure what are you asking: whether "calle" should be capitalized, or whether it should be "calle Notarios" vs. "calle de los Notarios". Could you clarify? – user14029 Nov 1 '16 at 11:28
  • I'm not sure to understand your question. When you say "which one is correct", which are the options you consider? I understand that you doubt between "calle Notarios" and "calle de los Notarios". – Charlie Nov 1 '16 at 12:02
  • Are you trying to distinguish between la calle donde hay Notarios and la calle llamada Notarios? – mdewey Nov 1 '16 at 16:59
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    I think given that "Calle de los Notarios" is the whole name of the street, it should be capitalized. In the spanish version, they though calle as just the object and didn't capitalize it, but it is not the object but the name of the street, specifically you could say that "esta calle es la Calle de los Notarios". – fernando.reyes Nov 1 '16 at 17:32
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The Diccionario panhispánico de dudas says:

4.10. Names of streets and urban spaces. As in the case of toponyms, only the proper name must be capitalised — the generic, common nouns that accompany it, such as calle, plaza, avenida, paseo, must be written in lowercase: calle (de) Alcalá, calle Mayor, plaza de España, avenida de la Ilustración, paseo de Recoletos. However, English names of streets or urban spaces must be capitalised, as they usually are in English: Oxford Street, Quinta Avenida, Central Park.

I guess it is capitalised in the English translation because that is the custom in English.

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  • Great! thanks, so Garcia Marquez did the right thing in leaving "calle" lower case. – codezombie Nov 2 '16 at 9:36
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It's hard to say.

First, proper nouns have to be capitalized, but it's not that easy with things and animals, you can find various names of things commonly written in lower case, like streets, so you should see this street exact official name, that could be lower case since the beginning even when the "logic" tells you that all nouns should be capital letter.

Second, when a certain street have a large amount of certain commerces or offices, is very common that the street ended being referred as "calle de los/as..." and the name of the office, commerce, etc. Even when the street have a totally different "official" name. I don't think that "commonly spoken" name should be capitalize, all the words should be lower case, not only "calle".
For example, in my city there is a street commonly called "calle de los institutos" just because there are two colleges and an university building in that street(sometimes you can even hear things like "en los institutos" or "por los institutos").
Again, in that case I think both words should be lower case, because it's not the noun of the street, it's just a spoken reference.

The user fernando.reyes tells us that the street exists and is called "Calle de los Notarios", so in this case it should be capitalized.

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