Q. Should I capitalize “the states” when used alone (referring to the United States)? I’m copyediting a novel in which the author capitalizes “the States” when used alone. I think it would be lowercased.
A. Actually, “the States” is capped when it means the United States. It’s only when referring to individual states collectively that you should lowercase: “Each of the states elects two senators,” as opposed to “I’m going back to the States.”