Capitalization

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.

Q. Should “tea party” be capitalized? I cannot find it referenced in CMOS, but I’ve noticed that AP news stories lowercase “tea party,” “tea partiers,” and so forth.

Q. Should I capitalize specific named academic degrees such as “Master’s Degree in Built Environment” and “Bachelor of Fine Arts”? This information will be engraved on a plaque on a prominent painting at our headquarters, so it’s essential to get it right.

Q. Combining 8.21 or 8.22 with 8.32 in the 16th edition suggests that you would condone these sentences: “The queen had tea with the Queen Mother.” “The president and the First Lady waved to the crowd.” Is that a correct interpretation of Chicago style?

Q. In section 8.28 of the 16th edition, the Manual specifies that academic degrees are lowercased when referred to generically. I infer from the converse that specific degrees then are capitalized. However, I am confused by the examples: a master’s degree and a master of business administration. Wouldn’t the latter be a specific degree? What is an example of a degree that would be capitalized?

Q. I live in the western part of Michigan. My boss thinks we should use West Michigan in a newsletter article, but I think it should be west Michigan. Who is correct? Many thanks.

Q. I am writing a report for a U.S. government agency. My contacts want me to capitalize “federal,” as in “Federally funded.” This looks incorrect to me. I couldn’t find a specific rule in the Manual, though the examples I saw seem to support my opinion. I would appreciate your guidance. Thanks!

Q. “These are results of two previous double-blind, repeat-dose studies of XYZ (studies 000 and 001).” Although the word studies before 000 and 001 is not capped, do you ever cap a preceding word before the study number, and if the preceding word is a plural, such as studies, should it be capped before the respective number/name? Thanks.