Q. Your rule that titles such as captain must be in lowercase is giving me trouble in a work about drilling oil wells. I have dutifully rendered a title such as Well Superintendent as lowercase, only to have multiple reviewers complain that they tripped over it in phrases such as “the well superintendent then called the office,” gaining a first impression that I was distinguishing the well superintendent from the ill superintendent. Also, the individual with that title is generally known as the “WS,” and it seems inconsistent to have the full title in lowercase and the abbreviation capitalized.
A. We can’t say it often enough: when a style doesn’t work for you, don’t use it! As for alleged inconsistency when full titles are lowercased and abbreviations are capitalized, that is the norm.