Q. If a word is not capitalized in the dictionary but is capitalized in the author’s book manuscript, should I capitalize or not? The specific word in question is “cosmos.” Thanks.
A. You might start by asking if the author has any objection to lowercase, preferably before editing has begun. Maybe point out that words and phrases for vast, seemingly limitless spaces—from “cosmos” and “universe” to “nature” and “world”—are generally lowercase, so readers might be puzzled by an initial capital. Even “internet,” once almost always spelled with a capital I, now gets a lowercase i in CMOS and other stylebooks—not a demotion but rather a recognition of its stature as a virtual universe. If the author nonetheless insists, don’t worry. Each book is a world unto itself, and in the end a consistent approach is what matters most.