See also Spelling and Terms.
A down (lowercase) style is generally preferred for terms, but proper nouns and their derivatives are usually capitalized. See CMS15, chap. 8, for more detailed guidelines on capitalization of terms.
After a Colon
If the material following a colon consists of more than one sentence, or if it is a formal statement, a quotation, or a speech in dialogue, it should begin with a capital letter. Otherwise, it may begin with a lowercase letter.
Silently correct the initial capitalization in quotations depending on the position of the quotation to the rest of the sentence (see CMS15, 11.16). For instance:
Smith stated that “we must carefully consider all aspects of the problem.”
Smith stated, “We must carefully consider all aspects of the problem.”
If, however, the quotation is lines of poetry, retain the capitalization of the initial letters of the lines, no matter what the grammmatical relationship of the poem to the sentence may be:
The hint is made explicit, when “The Ghosts of traitors from the Bridge descend, / With bold Fanatick Spectres to rejoyce.”
Don’t use brackets to indicate the change of case for an initial letter—just change it (CMS15, 11.16).
An original lowercase letter following a period plus three dots should remain lowercase. If the resumption after the ellipses begins a new sentence, then capitalize it.
The spirit of our American radicalism is destructive. . . . the conservative movement . . .
Titles of Works
Titles of modern English-language works follow regular title capitalization per CMS15, 8.167. For hyphenated words (like “eighteenth-century”), capitalize both elements, because it looks better and it more closely matches Eighteenth-Century Life. Titles of English-language works published before the twentieth century should retain the original style of capitalization, and original spelling, though a word in full caps will take an initial capital letter. In capitalizing titles in any non-English language, including French, capitalize the first letter of the title and subtitle and all proper nouns.
Titles of Royalty (CMS15, 8.34)
The duke; the Duke and Duchess of Windsor
The earl; the Earl of Shaftesbury; previous earls of Shaftesbury
The prince; Prince Charles; the Prince of Wales; the Prince Regent
Frederick, Prince of Wales [note the comma]
The King of England; but a king of England, when it’s not a specific king
when the generic term is used alone, without the specific title, it’s lower-case
e.g., When he brought this to the attention of the king, . . .
titles of French officials, e.g., comptroller general, intendant, are not ordinarily capitalized (CM15 10.28ff).
In names of French organizations, only the first substantive is capitalized.
In French, generic words denoting roadways, squares, and the like, are lowercased, with the proper name capitalized.
le place de l’Opéra.
In French, names of buildings are usually capitalized [we’re considering bridges as buildings]:
le Palais du Louvre
Titles of nobility:
comte de Buffon
marquis de Sade [Giula Pacini]
In Italian, a title preceding a proper name is normally lowercased (CM 10.52)
il commandatore Ugo Emiliano
la signora Rossi
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