Capitalization in Titles of Works

Q. I’m helping a French writer edit a book he has written in English. I’ve been following the convention of writing French words and phrases in italics and also using italics for movie titles, book titles, etc. Now I come upon a French song title, and I can’t figure out what to do with it. Here is the phrase: He called it “La non-demande en mariage.” Do I keep the quotation marks? Do I italicize the French song title? Both?

Q. According to CMOS, the honorific title First Lady should be capitalized in all instances. Does that mean that the phrase “the president and First Lady” is correctly capitalized?

Q. Should the word “nature” be capitalized in this sentence? “My research goal is to advance a global energy solution copied from Nature itself: artificial photosynthesis.”

Q. I am copyediting a website that includes testimonials from authors of various books. If this were a print publication, there would be no question that the book titles would be italicized. However, since it is a website, are the rules different? The Yahoo! Style Guide, which deals specifically with digital content, recommends enclosing book titles in double quotation marks. Several other style guides I have come across recommend using italics. I am the person expected to create the style guide for the organization. What do you say?

Q. Lately, more and more titles are styled in lowercase—the Broadway show bare , for example, and Ann Hamilton’s 2001 installation the picture is still. When this sort of title appears in a headline or at the beginning of a sentence, would you allow authors to retain the lowercase styling? It sure looks weird, but people do love their high-maintenance names. (Yes, Ke$ha, I am talking about you.)

Q. Can you please confirm the correct spelling of “TIME magazine”? CMOS 8.169 has Time magazine. However, TIME customer service tells me that TIME Magazine is correct. I think “magazine” should be lowercased, since it does not appear anywhere on the cover, and I do not think it is part of the official name of the magazine, even though they capitalize it on their website. What do you think?

Q. My organization holds a lot of events, and we refer to them often on our website and in our member newsletter. Some are large programs (Last Remaining Seats film series); others are one-time events (Haunted Scavenger Hunt). In trying to determine how to format event titles, the closest comparison I found in CMOS was titles of exhibitions, which should be italicized (our events are more like museum exhibitions than world’s fairs). Would you agree that we should italicize all events, regardless of their size or duration?

Q. A manuscript I’m working on right now features a quote in running text which refers to the twentieth century. Since the quote is from the New York Times, it says “20th century”—which does not match the number style for the rest of our book. Is spelling out the number a permissible change to the quote?

Q. According to 8.84 of the 15th edition of CMOS, the names of major sporting events are capitalized. But none of the examples provided include major sporting events made up of multiple games. For the World Series, for example, would it be Game Four of the 1948 World Series, or game four of the 1948 World Series?

Q. I am editing an article, and the terms “Cause of Death,” “Manner of Death,” “Natural,” “Accident,” “Suicide,” “Homicide,” and “Undetermined” are all capitalized. If the term is reused later in the article, e.g., “This is a Natural death” and “There has been no finding as to the Manner and possible Cause of death,” should I capitalize “Natural,” “Manner,” and “Cause” in this latter usage?