Capitalization

By Professor Jen F.

There's been a proliferation of people capitalizing words that do not need to be capitalized. Let's start with the obvious words that do need capitalizing:

There are, of course, exceptions to every rule, so don't sue me if I've missed something.

When using someone's title in place of their name in dialogue, it should be capitalized: "Excuse me, Doctor, can you help me?" or "At ease, Lieutenant. You may be seated." or "Thank you, Sir."

If you refer to someone generically by their title, then you don't capitalize it: "The nurse said to take two aspirin and call her in the morning." or "The commander stepped out of the office."

In one recent "Star Trek" 2009 fic I read, the author capitalized mind meld. There's no reason to do so unless the words are part of a title or are the first words of a sentence, and even then only the first word would be capped.

Sometimes words are capitalized if the word/s or phrase needs to be emphasized. One example is in my article about point of view. In the first sentence of the first paragraph, point of view was capitalized in order to make it stand out. I opted to change it because, really and truly, it doesn't need to be capped.

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