Proper Names

Q. What is the correct capitalization of “Zoom” and its derivatives when it refers to the essential meeting software that we are all using during the coronavirus pandemic? I’m certain that it is capitalized as a noun—e.g., “I have a Zoom conference at 3:00 p.m.” What about when it’s used as a verb—e.g., “People are zooming/Zooming into online classes all day long.” Thank you!

Q. Hello, this question is in regard to paragraph 8.54 of the Manual. One of the examples of a generic term for a geographic entity is “the Hudson River valley.” I was wondering why “valley” is not capitalized, despite being part of the proper name. I am most likely just missing a really big point here, but it feels like the equivalent of saying “the Grand canyon.” Thank you so much for your help and your time!

Q. What is the best way to use a possessive with royalty that commonly has extra descriptors after their name? E.g., Philip II of Macedon; Alexander the Great; Elizabeth I; or Gregory I, “the Great.” Sometimes the number or descriptor has become part of the individual’s name. I couldn’t find this easily on the website so I am asking. Any help is much appreciated.

Q. I know that we should follow the spelling of names of organizations, even when the spelling isn’t Chicago style (e.g., United Nations Development Programme). But what about when translating non-English-named institutions? For example, the French institution CNRS translates itself as “National Centre for Scientific Research.” Would you use “Centre” or “Center”?

Q. Dear Editor, I was wondering if you could help me with a style query. I am copyediting a 10-chapter document on fish. The author has asked me to include the scientific name in parentheses after the common name of fish species. It seems to me that repeating this each time the fish is mentioned would make the text bulky (the names are repeated often in each section). Can we mention the scientific name of the fish in parentheses just once in each chapter, or should we keep repeating this style after each species is noted? I hope I’m being clear. . . . Many thanks for your advice on this!

Q. With regard to capitalizing city and state, we as reporters are taught to be “consistent,” which can be near impossible. Here is my particular dilemma: The City of Anywhere is being sued. Is city capped throughout as a governmental agency being sued? I thought so, fine, until the matter came up that someone gets paid by the state. Great, now what? Cap one but not the other? It’s really quite maddening and I am in a state of frustration.

Q. What does CMOS say about names of pets? I can’t find it in the index or the section on names.

Q. Dear Chicago experts, do we italicize a ship’s name in quoted dialogue? My client says it should be italicized generally, but not in dialogue.

Q. While CMOS states that a ship’s name should be set in italics, what if it is used as a part of the name of a larger body, such as the Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group? Would the ship’s name be italicized in that instance?

Q. When pluralizing surnames, are there instances when using an apostrophe could be considered appropriate? For example, “We’re going to dinner with the Laos” is potentially confusing. This sentence could easily be reworded (We’re going to dinner with the Lao family), but I’m wondering if Lao’s could be allowed in this context; that is, when pluralizing short, traditionally Asian surnames that could be misread when an s is added (e.g., the Gus, the Hans).