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Q. I have a question regarding an episode my fiction author mentions quite a few times in her story. She’s currently italicizing it: the incident. I think caps would be better: the Incident (“the” not capped). Or would “the” be capped in this case?
A. Italics would work well for the occasional emphasis: “Did you hear about the incident?” But to immortalize an event—especially if the desired effect is irony (or tragicomedy)—we agree that capitalization would be the better choice. As for the initial article, Chicago would normally recommend lowercase “the” for events that occur in real life—for example, the Great Fire of London (see CMOS 8.75)—but the point of a single capital I for a solitary common noun that wouldn’t normally be capitalized risks being lost on readers. To take full advantage of the opportunity for humor (or pathos), you would be justified in making a reasonable departure from Chicago style and referring to The Incident.