Headlines and Titles of Works

Q. For rock fans, such as myself, it is sometimes important to know whether one is to capitalize the “the” preceding a rock group’s name. For instance, the group “the Who.” In the middle of a sentence, do I say “the Who” or “The Who,” given that the “the” is an integral part of the title and furthermore is the first word in the title?

Q. Every institution for which I have worked seems to have a different practice relating to the capitalization of college or university when referring to the specific institution while dropping the proper name. I used to work for Cornell University’s admissions office. That office insisted on not capitalizing university when using the word without Cornell but still referring to CU specifically. For example,

Once I visited Cornell, there was no choice left for me to make. I fell in love with the university—the people were so friendly and helpful. It didn’t hurt that the campus was gorgeous either!

I had previously been told that one should capitalize university or college when referring to a specific institution. If Cornell’s practice is correct, could you please explain why?

Q. I hope you can definitively answer this question. Should the word following a colon in a sentence be capitalized or not?

Q. When I refer to the government of the United States in text, should it be US Federal Government or US federal government?

Q. When referring to a movie or book title while posting to Internet newsgroups, it’s generally impossible to indicate with italics or underscoring. I usually use all upper-case letters (THE LORD OF THE RINGS, FIDDLER ON THE ROOF, for example). What does CMOS suggest?

Q. Hello, my name is Brett and I work for a law enforcement agency in Arizona. My colleagues and I were having a discussion about what does and does not get capitalized in our reports pertaining to laws and arrest charges. I am seeking your guidance on this subject. Could you tell me what gets capitalized and what does not get capitalized in the following sentence: “John Doe was arrested for ADC Parole Violation Warrant 03W3250, Theft of Means of Transportation and Unlawful Flight from Law Enforcement.” Some say the sentence is correct as is; however, others say that the letters in the arrest charges should not be capitalized. Could you please assist me in this matter? Thank you for your help.

Q. My question relates specifically to the term “world-class” and how it is used at my firm. Essentially, the term “world-class” is core to our value proposition, our products and deliverables, and our marketing material. Since this term is very special, we wonder if it is okay to capitalize in the middle of a sentence: “In order for a firm to achieve World-class performance . . .” Our inclination is to always capitalize the W and not the C. Finally, can we exercise our judgment, and just decide how it should appear in all instances regardless of common standards, given the special nature of this term to our business?

Q. We are preparing a publication on imperialism and are doing our best to follow CMOS 16’s instruction that “words denoting political divisions . . .  are capitalized when they follow a name and are used as an accepted part of the name” (8.50). And so we have “the Ottoman Empire,” “the Roman Empire,” “the American empire,” “the Japanese empire,” etc. But we are concerned that such a treatment, in the scope of the whole publication, may appear inconsistent or preferential. (Is it, after all, the British “Empire” or “empire”?) Do you think it would be acceptable in this context to use the lowercase “empire” in all instances? Of course, even as I put that question to you, writing “the Ottoman empire” doesn’t seem quite right. We would be grateful for any advice you might have on this point.

Q. Some years ago my advisor in college drummed into my head that the titles of tables appear above the table, and titles of figures should go below the figure. Can you verify this? Thanks.

Q. Help! I’m teaching a grammar and usage class to my coworkers. I was sailing along, pointing out that it’s correct to use a lowercase s when referring to Washington the state. My next sentence, however, used capitals in this way: “the City of Olympia.” I did so, I admit, out of habit. So when does a name become official? Thank you.