JS Tip 442: Capitalization, Part 2

From the Writing Workshops: cAPItaliZING tWo

A lot of responses from last week’s tip. Thank you. 

Our friend Bruce May asked about capitalizing titles: “President.” “Dean.” “Lord High Executioner.”

Two suggestions:

One. Follow your local protocol. Different organizations have different standards. Some say, “Always capitalize ‘President’ when referring to our beloved company President.” (Yes, it looks and sounds goofy, but that’s what the boss wants.)

So find and follow your local protocol. Start with HR. They may know. If they don’t know, consider the next suggestion.

Two. Capitalize titles immediately before a person’s name. Do not capitalize titles anywhere else.

We met with Dean Vernon Wormer of Faber College.


We capitalized “Dean” because it’s immediately before Vernon Wormer’s name.


We met with Vernon Wormer, dean of Faber College.


We didn’t capitalize “dean” because it’s not immediately before Vernon Wormer’s name. It’s elsewhere.

The Chicago Manual of Style (the authority for business and technical writing) backs this up: “Titles are capitalized only when used as part of the name” (Section 8.21).

We appreciate your comments and suggestions. We love this stuff.


Mark Brooks