Choice Style Guide: Capitalization

CAPITALIZATION

Consult Webster’s.  If Webster’s says “often” or “mostly” or “usually,” capitalize.  If it says “sometimes,” use discretion.

Hyphenated compounds in proper names or in titles: per Chicago 16 ed., capitalize the second element (e.g., "A Two-Thirds Majority of Non-English-Speaking Representatives"). See Chicago 8.161 for exceptions to this rule.

Brand names that begin with a lower-case letter:  Retain the lower-case even when that name begins a sentence (e.g., "iPods are everywhere these days.")

The specialized vocabulary of a particular discipline may include words that are capitalized only in that discipline, e.g., Other or Scripture (Bible studies).  If uncertain whether the capitalized form is generally accepted within that discipline, query the reviewer or someone else well qualified.

Capitalize the generally accepted names of historical periods and movements.

Capitalize the name of a specific art or architectural movement, group, or style (the Impressionism of Monet).  Lowercase such a term when it is used in a general sense (John Manley’s paintings are impressionistic in manner).  The prefix neo is lowercased unless specifically adopted by a group or movement as part of its name: the Neo-Impressionism of Seurat, but John Manley works in a neo-Dada manner. 

 

CAPITALIZATION OF COMMON NAMES AND TERMS


Age of Reason
ancient Greece
antiquity
anti-Semitism
art nouveau
baroque period
Berlin Wall
Bible
biblical
big bang
Bronze Age
classical period
Civil Rights Movement
Cold War
Colonial (18th-century US)
Common Core 
communism
communist
Communist Party
Confessing Church
Counter Reformation
cubism
Dark Ages
Enlightenment (18th-century philosophical movement)
Epistles (as section of Bible or specific reference, i.e., Epistle to the Romans)
euro (currency)
Evangelical
existentialism
Expressionism
fascism (general concept)
fascist
Fascism, Fascist Party (20th-century Italy)
fauvism
Festschrift
Final Solution
fin de siècle
Gilded Age
gold rush
Golden Age
Gospels
Gothic (only in context of art and architecture; lowercase in reference to novels or films)
Great Depression or the Depression
Great Society (aka Lyndon Johnson's Great Society)
Hellenistic period
Impressionism
Impressionist
Industrial Revolution
internet
iPod
left wing (n.)
left-wing (adj.)
the Left
Listserv (trademark)
Marxism
Marxist
Marxism-Leninism
Middle Ages; High Middle Ages; late Middle Ages; early Middle Ages
modernism
Native American, Native
naturalism
the net
New Criticism (context of literary criticism)
New South (1865 ff.)
New Testament
New World
Nobel Prize
the North (US)
Northern/Northerner (capped only in Civil War contexts)
Old Testament
Old World
Open Source Initiative
open source platform
the Other
pope
Post-Impressionism
postmodern
Progressive Era (early-20th-century US movement)
Progressive Party
Progressives
Populism (late-18th-century political movement)
Populist
Populist Party
pro-choice
Prohibition
pro-life
Reformation; Counter Reformation
Renaissance; High Renaissance
the Revolution (American)
right wing (n.)
right-wing (adj.)
the Right
Roaring Twenties
Romanticism (18th-century movement)
Romantic
Semitism
socialism
socialist
surrealism
Ten Commandments
Third World
transcendentalism
Victorian era
war on terror
the web
webcast
web page
website
Who's Who
World Series
World Wide Web

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