Capitalization

Q. Hi. I’m trying to find out if you should always initial cap a subsequent reference of a proper noun when the full name is not used. The specific term in question is Rock of Cashel. On second reference, where this is referred to as “the rock,” I don’t want to cap it, but the author of the piece does. I looked at the Q&A and under 8.57 but didn’t see a specific reference so I felt better to ask.

Q. For front matter, we have eleven or twelve endorsements from prominent deans, presidents, and directors of various international programs. I realize that we generally leave those titles lowercased unless we’re talking about a Named Chair of So and So, but this one is killing me: Senior Fellow at the Blah-Blah Institute. Should I lowercase “senior fellow”?

Q. If etc. falls at the end of a title of a work, should it be capitalized or left lowercased? The argument against capitalization is that the et part of the abbreviation is a conjunction and the c part represents the final word (cetera). No one here argues for etC., of course, but my argument is that once et cetera is abbreviated to etc. the two words become one, so that etc. is therefore the last word, not the last two words, in the headline or title, and that it should be capitalized as Etc.

Q. I’m editing a textbook that references a play. Should it be “Act 3,” “act three,” or “act 3”? A solution to this mystery would be greatly appreciated. I’ve looked at CMOS a hundred times for help with this issue.

Q. I doubt I will have the power to change this, but coworkers have insisted that common nouns like “incidents” and “requests” be capitalized in all communications because they are capitalized in the original contract. So folks are to “report Incidents or submit Requests,” and “high-priority Incidents” must be reported a certain way. I think the capitalization is unnecessary. Is it correct? I really just want personal and internal vindication, but I’d accept being corrected.

Q. CMOS says that you’re supposed to capitalize after the colon when the colon introduces (1) a quotation or (2) multiple sentences. But when sentences follow the colon how do you know if they’re sequential enough to warrant the capital? It’s usually really hard to tell.

Q. When an author refers to a chapter in the text, such as “You can read more about this in chapter 2,” the word “chapter” isn’t capped, I believe, since the title of the chapter isn’t itself “chapter 2” but something else. What about if the author refers to an appendix whose title is “Appendix A”? Thanks heaps.

Q. We have a difference of opinion in my company about the capitalization of defined terms in policy and procedure documents. One group would like to capitalize all defined terms, for example, “All Statements must be mailed on the 3rd of the month.” This is similar to legal documents and would separate the Statement as a specific item from a nondefined version of a statement. The other group feels this is distracting and does not add to comprehension. What does the Oracle of Style say?

Q. I understand that the term Other is a philosophical term. I am editing an article where the author uses it capitalized throughout. It looks awkward. Here’s an example: “The trope of the Other is typically associated with the arousal of negative feelings of fear and disgust.” My question is this: could it be initially capitalized or in quotes, and then subsequently written lowercase? What does CMS recommend?

Q. Hi, Chicago editors. Three of our editors have a question about capitalization of certain military terms: special ops, officers’ mess hall, president of the mess hall. Two of us believe they should all be lowercase—as should American embassy and/or consulate. Thanks for your help.