Q. Help! I’m teaching a grammar and usage class to my coworkers. I was sailing along, pointing out that it’s correct to use a lowercase s when referring to Washington the state. My next sentence, however, used capitals in this way: “the City of Olympia.” I did so, I admit, out of habit. So when does a name become official? Thank you.
Q. I work for a company that every two or three years puts out what it refers to as a medium-term management plan. When we refer to this plan in running text, such as in our annual report and in-house publications, should we treat this as an essay and place quotation marks around the name (8.175), as a notice and use capitalized headline style (8.196), or as a freestanding publication requiring italics (8.183)?
Q. What would you say to a translator who says that an author’s use of all caps for EMPHASIS should stand? I tried to invoke house style but she is claiming it is, well, LITERARY. I’d like to explain to the author and translator this looks AMATEUR at best, and to say, look, WE JUST DON’T DO THAT.
Q. This is the title of a section heading. Should it be “The Importance of Well-Written Reports” or “The Importance of Well-written Reports”? Should we capitalize “written”?
Q. When spelling out a proper name that is also known by an acronym, is it acceptable to capitalize more than one letter in a word that contributes multiple letters to the acronym? To give an example, the name of an organization named Techno Hub Innovation Kawasaki (THINK) came up in a document that I translated from Japanese to English, and the client wants to spell the organization Techno Hub INnovation Kawasaki. Although the organization’s website itself uses INnovation, it looks wrong to me. Am I right?
Q. Should one capitalize academic degrees? I am reading a quasi-academic journal and am wondering about the capitalization of three words in the following sentence: “He was hoping to use his Associate of Applied Science degree.”
Q. Should “foundation” be capitalized in the following phrase? “With funding from the Ford and Simon foundations.” I thought it should be capped, since it means “from the Ford Foundation and the Simon Foundation,” but a coworker thinks otherwise.
Q. When working in an electronic format that does not allow italics, how should you treat the titles of books?
Q. In a software application that catalogues musical albums in a sidebar column for playback selection the main developer insists on using italics for the album titles. I advised to drop the italics mainly because on today’s low-resolution screens italic typefaces are rendered poorly. I reasoned that the CMOS advice that artwork titles should be set in italics is to be construed as a device of emphasis that sets the respective title off from the flowing text. If the context would consist of titles only (and no surrounding text) there would not be a need for emphasis, hence no italicization. Is this correct?
Q. I am editor for a group of academic writers, who recently squawked when I mentioned the following guideline in the CMOS, 16th edition (8.168): use lowercase and no italics for “the” in a newspaper title, even if it is part of the official title. Their concerns: (1) it seems unscholarly to treat “the” as a generic term when it is part of the official title; (2) doesn’t this flout copyright protocol? (3) why does the rule apply only to American newspapers? I found myself unable to offer concrete reasons for the rule, so I said I would ask the CMOS editors directly.