Ask Me a Question

If you have a writing, grammar, style or punctuation question, send an e-mail message to curiouscase at sign hotmail dot com.

Add Your Own Criminal Sentence!

If you find a particularly terrible sentence somewhere, post it for all to see (go here and put it in the Comments section).

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Reader Question: Capitalizing Titles

Amber's question:


Hello! I asked you a question the other day on Facebook, but I have yet another question if you don’t mind. For some reason my department has made me the editor! I am currently editing a greeting that will be sent out by our association president. This person is assuming a new role as president. My question is, when are you supposed to capitalize titles? For example, “…it is with great honor that I assume the role of President for the State governing council…” This a quote from the greeting. I am pretty sure none of the titles should be capitalized. Also, I don’t believe state should be capitalized. But, president is being directly addressed so it might be capitalized. Help!

The term governing council is used throughout this greeting as well and a couple of us are arguing if the term should be capitalized at any point in the greeting.

My answer:

Hi. Styles vary, so I would urge you to check the style guide your department tends to use. A general guideline is that if it forms part of a proper name you would capitalize but if it's used in a general sense, then lowercase. As for your examples, I would suggest lowercase "president" and lowercase "state," unless "State Governing Council" is the official name of the organization.

No comments: