Q. When writing a name that has a mix of capital and lowercase letters, such as “LeBron James,” in all caps, should it be written as “LeBRON JAMES” or “LEBRON JAMES”?
A. We get this question a lot (and we’ve answered it in the past). When a question keeps popping up, that’s usually because it concerns an editorial gray area for which there is no definitive answer. The problem in this case is that applying all caps is bound to obscure any detail that depends on a mix of capitals and lowercase. For example, the meaning of a headline that reads “UK to help US” is clear. But in all caps, ambiguity threatens: “UK TO HELP US.” In “LeBron,” the independent role of “Le” as a particle (an article or preposition used with a name) is overwritten when it becomes “LEBRON.”
The verdict? Prefer “LEBRON.” Even the most attentive editor can’t promise to account for every potential all-caps scenario in every document and make the necessary adjustments—for example, by applying a lowercase letter (LeBRON) or a small capital (LEBRON) or a space (LE BRON) or punctuation (“UK to help U.S.”). Life’s too short—and too filled with more important matters—without adding that to your workflow. (Though we would advise rewording that UK/US headline.)
Not that you can’t make a one-time intervention in a headline or other prominent place if you have the authority to do so. But if you need confirmation that it’s okay to stick with all caps, check out this detail from the front of the 2020 LeBron James “I Promise” Wheaties cereal box: