In honor of the Associated Press Stylebook changes on capitalizing internet and web (lowercase starting today), here are some other guidelines for capitalization. One rule of thumb to guide you: In general, avoid unnecessary capitals.
Proper and Common Nouns
- Capitalize proper nouns and proper names: John, Mary, Nelson, Facebook.
- Capitalize common nouns such as party, river and street when part of a proper name: Democratic Party, Ohio River, Poynter Street.
- Lowercase common nouns when they stand alone: the party, the river, the street. Lowercase the common noun element of names in all plural uses: the Democratic and Republican parties, Nelson and Poynter streets, lakes Erie and Ontario.
- In general, capitalize formal titles used directly before a name. Lowercase and spell out when not used with an individual name: The president issued a statement.
- Use lowercase at all times for terms that are job descriptions rather than formal titles. Note that first lady is a courtesy title and is never capitalized.
Have you missed a Coffee Break Course? Here’s our complete lineup.