Capitalization

Q. Searching through CMOS, I can’t determine if this sentence is properly capitalized: “It is the sign that sat squarely on the Earth’s eastern horizon when you were born.” (It’s for an astrological publication.) Specifically, should the words earth, eastern, and horizon be capitalized, and is the “the” before Earth correct? Thank you.

Q. Hi, I see that CMOS 8.36 discusses kinship names and when to capitalize versus when to lowercase. I’m wondering about a term like “sir” or “ma’am” used in direct address: “Yes, ma’am” or “Yes, Ma’am”? I think probably the former, but what do you recommend? Thank you.

Q. I see that CMOS 8.155 has “Google Docs” as an example. Would you also cap the singular “Google Doc,” or because it’s not the name of a program and just referring to a document in the Google Docs platform, would it be “Google doc,” akin to “Word doc”?

Q. Why do you folks at CMOS continue to describe words whose initial letters are capitals as “capitalized.” I suppose it’s easier than the more precise formulation and could be defended as commonly understood—but it’s not. This usage is at best confusing. Words are often truly capitalized, and I’m sure that most English speakers unschooled in CMOS’s peculiar practice will take “capitalized” to mean what it says. And if “France” is said to be “capitalized,” what is “EPA”? Super-capitalized?

Q. Should the term “Fourth Estate,” as a collective noun for journalism and journalists, be capitalized?

Q. Should the word “nation” be capitalized?

Q. Do you capitalize graduating classes? For example, is it “Class of 2020” or “class of 2020”?

Q. Elsewhere in the Q&A you wrote, “The day I was introduced to the The was the day I learned that irony was finished.” This is just wrong and makes no sense whatsoever. To call The The “the The” is absolutely wrong. Further, The Who should be “The Who.” It’s a proper name, and “the Who” is just wrong. Fix this.

Q. Does CMOS weigh in on whether email subject lines should be capitalized in sentence style or headline style?

Q. I am convinced “the prophet Isaiah” in CMOS 8.93 is a typo. So my question is: Really? Is “prophet” really down in “the prophet Isaiah”? Or “apostle” in “the apostle Paul”? Thank you for your time.