Capitalization

Q. What is the proper pronoun form to use to refer to God? I was taught to capitalize the pronoun “He” when “God” was the antecedent. However, I checked a number of standard grammar handbooks and can’t find any information on this point. Have the rules changed?

Q. I understand the general rules about titles (academic, civic, etc.), but I am working on a project that has quite a few instances of the following: “We are pleased to have the Minister of Food, Agriculture, and Livestock here with us today. . . . We appreciate the support of the Prime Minister of India.” I would lowercase “prime minister of India,” but what to do about the minister of food, agriculture, and livestock? Should it be the minister of Food, Agriculture, and Livestock, all lowercase, or title case? Thanks for your help.

Q. Throughout a book I am editing, there are numerous references to rules and laws that the author defines, for example, the Law of Cause and Effect, the Rules of the Game. She also capitalizes other words that are normally lowercased: Light (as in “toward the Light”) and Habit (when referring to a behavior that keeps us from following the rules of the game). I realize that she is capitalizing to place an emphasis on these words and make them stand out, but I am not entirely comfortable with this. Do you have any suggestions?

Q. When should the word “century” be capitalized? I know it would not be capitalized in this case: “It’s not happened in this century.” But what about this: “Were many people rich in the eighteenth century?” or “What did people wear in eighteenth-century Pennsylvania?”

Q. Can you revisit the issue of capitalization of “city of” and “state of” when used to identify an employer? Under 7.40 in the 14th edition, words such as “city” and “state” “are capitalized when they are used as an accepted part of the proper name.” Presumably you mean accepted by the powers of CMOS. In my example, Jan Johnson works for the (c)ity of Johnsonville, and I would like to offer her recognition in a conference brochure along with Rick Ricker of the state department of transportation. Suffice to say that heated debate is generated when one questions the way things always have been done.

Q. I am an editor of a nineteenth-century writer’s manuscripts. We are trying to determine whether we should regularize certain capitalizations, as they are not consistent even within contemporary editions and impressions; the manuscripts provide hardly any evidence because we cannot tell whether the writer’s letters are capped or lowercased. Problems include North/north, South/south, Union/union, etc. It is our feeling that since we are dealing with no clear pattern, even within an edition, we should probably retain copy-text renderings, and include justification for this choice in our textual introduction. Any insights? Many thanks.

Q. For front matter, we have eleven or twelve endorsements from prominent deans, presidents, and directors of various international programs. I realize that we generally leave those titles lowercased unless we’re talking about a Named Chair of So and So, but this one is killing me: Senior Fellow at the Blah-Blah Institute. Should I lowercase “senior fellow”?

Q. I doubt I will have the power to change this, but coworkers have insisted that common nouns like “incidents” and “requests” be capitalized in all communications because they are capitalized in the original contract. So folks are to “report Incidents or submit Requests,” and “high-priority Incidents” must be reported a certain way. I think the capitalization is unnecessary. Is it correct? I really just want personal and internal vindication, but I’d accept being corrected.

Q. CMOS says that you’re supposed to capitalize after the colon when the colon introduces (1) a quotation or (2) multiple sentences. But when sentences follow the colon how do you know if they’re sequential enough to warrant the capital? It’s usually really hard to tell.

Q. When an author refers to a chapter in the text, such as “You can read more about this in chapter 2,” the word “chapter” isn’t capped, I believe, since the title of the chapter isn’t itself “chapter 2” but something else. What about if the author refers to an appendix whose title is “Appendix A”? Thanks heaps.