No, “ping pong” is always lowercase when used as a noun. It can be capitalized when it’s used as a verb (e.g., calling out “come on” during a game), but not in titles such as “Ping Pong Diplomacy.”
Modify Ping Pong
Yes. If the word “ping” modifies another noun, then it should be capitalized. In this case, we use the word “ping” to refer to a particular kind of game, so it’s necessary to capitalize in order to give it more weight. People would have no idea what type of game they were talking about if they saw “Ping Pong.” Instead, both words are capitalized because one refers to something specific. A couple of examples include the Ping-Pong diplomacy during Nixon’s visit to China or when someone calls out “Come on!” during a particularly exciting game of Ping Pong.
No, I do not believe so. The reason why it is capitalized in the title is that the word ‘ping’ refers to a specific type of game. This means that ping can also be used as a verb which makes it possible for “pong” to follow its example and become a nun. For example, when someone calls out “Come on!” during an exciting game of pool, they are referring to this particular type of action being done at or within that time period.
This is why they capitalize “Come on!” because it refers to a specific action or thing. In this case, pong describes the ball bouncing back and forth in between players of table tennis.
Why Ping Pong Not Capitalized?
No, ping pong is not capitalized when used as a noun. It’s always lowercase in titles such as “Ping Pong Diplomacy” and “ping pong”. However, when it’s used as a verb (e.g., calling out “come on” during a game), then it can be properly capitalized: *When someone calls out “Come on!” during an exciting game of pool, he is referring to this particular type of action being done at that time.*
When ping pong is used as an adjective, it takes a different form: table tennis. No other rules apply to it, because ping pong does not function the same way other nouns do. Table tennis is considered a shortened version of the phrase, which explains why it isn’t capitalized while its components are.
It has been mentioned that no other rules apply to ping pong when being used as an adjective, but I don’t think it’s fair to say that ping pong doesn’t function the same way other nouns do. It is a noun and therefore functions as all other regular nouns do.
It has also been mentioned that table tennis is a shortened version of the phrase and doesn’t apply any rules because it isn’t at its full form. Again, I disagree with this statement: table tennis is not shortened for functional purposes; rather, it’s simply a different word that holds the same meaning when used in certain contexts (e.g., “Let’s go play some table tennis!”). The reason why we call it table tennis is because “ping pong” could be confused with paddles used in badminton.
It might be helpful to distinguish between different uses of ping pong: an informal game played at home, a formal competition with rules that are almost the same as in tennis, and table tennis. Just like other nouns (e.g., soccer), you can play ping pong informally without capitalizing it; if you are referring to the official sport, however, you want to capitalize it because there are strict rules about passing through one another’s zones to get points or serving the ball over the net. When speaking about paddles used for badminton, though, I would definitely write them without capitals since they’re never part of a formal competition.