Capitalize sparingly. In texts, limit capitalization to proper nouns and formal names of departments or people. Resist the urge to use capitalization to signify importance.
Capitalize the principal words in a title that appears before the name of a particular person. Don’t capitalize a title elsewhere.
Vice President Robin Holmes
Robin Holmes, vice president for [not of] student life
Assistant Professor Keith Kirby
the assistant professor or Keith Kirby, assistant professor
An exception is in the heading or closing of a letter:
When a title is used in apposition before a name, not as a part of the name but as a descriptive tag, it is lowercased.
Professor Andrea Marcovicci
history professor Andrea Marcovicci
President John Wesley Johnson
UO president John Wesley Johnson
Academic Degrees and Honors
Don’t capitalize general references to academic degrees and honors. Do capitalize the abbreviated degree after someone’s name. See also Academics.
I have bachelor of arts and master of fine arts degrees.
Korinna Goudy, MFA
For reduced-cost mailings, the United States Postal Service requires that addresses appear on envelopes in all-capital letters and, except for the hyphenated ZIP code, without punctuation.
OFFICE OF ADMISSIONS
1266 UNIVERSITY OF OREGON
EUGENE OR 97403-1266
Groups of People
The names of racial, linguistic, tribal, religious, and other groups of people are capitalized. Don’t hyphenate them. The following list is not exhaustive.
- African American or Black
- Alaska Native
- American Indian or Native American
- Asian (from the Far East, Southeast Asia, India, China, or Korea)
- Asian American
- Caucasian or White
- Chicana, Chicano
- Latina, Latino
- Mexican American
- North African
- Pacific Islander
- people of color
- people with disabilities [not the handicapped, the disabled, or the differently abled]
According to The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Latina refers to a woman of Latin American descent. Latino refers to a Latin American person of either sex. Although Spanish nouns have one of two grammatical genders—masculine or feminine—English nouns do not. Spanish rules cannot reasonably determine English usage. The construction Latino/a, aside from being an unpronounceable abbreviation, is both nonstandard and redundant. The same rule applies to the use of Chicano/a. Avoid their use.
Greeks (capitalized) are both people from Greece and members of fraternities and sororities. The latter belong to Greek-letter organizations.
Capitalize north, south, east, and west when they are part of specific geographic regions or official names of organizations. Don’t capitalize general compass directions.
|the Far West||the west entrance|
|the Western Hemisphere||the western United States|
|the West Eugene Neighborhood Association||west Eugene|
Capitalize Earth when referring to the planet. Capitalize World War II and Second World War.
Only a few buildings include the word building in their official names (e.g., Volcanology Building, MarAbel B. Frohnmayer Music Building). Don’t confuse names of administrative units with names of buildings.
|Administrative Units||Building Names|
|UO Libraries||Knight Library|
|School of Law||William W. Knight Law Center|
Rooms and Spaces
The word room is often unnecessary in addresses. If you use it after a room name, it should be capitalized.
Walnut Room, Erb Memorial Union
101 Chapman Hall
Room 101, Chapman Hall
Formal names of spaces are authorized by the UO president.
Dave Rowe Room
Leona E. Tyler Conference Room
Paul Olum Atrium
Capitalize only the formal names of departments, institutes, schools, centers, and government agencies. Don’t capitalize words that aren’t part of the formal names.
|University of Oregon||the university|
|Center for Asian and Pacific Studies||the center|
|School of Music and Dance||the music school|
|Department of Political Science||the political science department|
|Oregon Legislative Assembly||the state legislature|
the Summer Session office
summer session (the June-through-August academic session)
Some administrative units include the full name of a person. In such cases there are two acceptable formal names.
|Charles H. Lundquist College of Business||the Lundquist College or the college|
|Robert Donald Clark Honors College or
Robert D. Clark Honors College
|the honors college or the college|
|Clark Honors College||the honors college|
For more details on capitalization of formal, informal, and abbreviated names of institutions and organizations, see the Chicago Manual of Style.
Only a few offices include University of Oregon in their official names. They also have two references, formal and informal.
|University of Oregon Alumni Association||the association|
|the Alumni Association||the association|
|University of Oregon Foundation||the foundation|
|Board of Trustees of the University of Oregon||the board|
Don’t capitalize names of academic majors and minors except for proper nouns.
He has a major in Japanese and a minor in dance.
Capitalize the full name of official programs or projects. Always lowercase program when the word stands alone or when using only part of the formal name.
In some UO programs, confusion stems from use of the same term for two different things, such as First-Year Interest Groups, the program, and a first-year interest group, a group of three courses within that program. The former term, the title of an official program, is uppercased and takes a singular verb. The latter term is analogous to course or seminar, and is lowercased. To clarify: bologna, a sausage, is lowercased even though the name is derived from Bologna, the city.
The terms Freshman Seminars and First-Year Interest Groups would be capitalized if program, the term that naturally follows each, is implied, or when the term takes a singular verb.
The Freshman Seminars program is designed to introduce first-year students to thought-provoking, challenging, and interesting subjects.
A general reference to individual seminars, first-year interest groups, or colloquiums would be lowercased.
A first-year interest group consists of 25 first-year students.
Follow headline style when capitalizing the first letters of words in titles. The first and last words of the title are always capitalized, regardless of their function. Capitalize the first letter of all other words except for those functioning as articles (e.g., the, a, an), prepositions (e.g., about, against, at, by, for, from, in, of, on, over, through, to, under, with—except when they are stressed or used as adverbs or adjectives), and some conjunctions (and, but, for, or, nor). When newspapers and periodicals are mentioned in text, an initial the, even if part of the official title, is lowercased (unless it begins a sentence) and not italicized.
the Register-Guard (note the name is hyphenated)
the New York Times
A River Runs Through It (the preposition through is stressed)
Rebel without a Cause
Four Theories concerning the Gospel according to Matthew
Exhibitions and Lectures
Museum exhibition titles are capitalized in headline style. In running text, they are italicized. In lists where the exhibition titles stand alone, they are set in roman type.
The titles of lecture series and individual lecture titles are capitalized in headline style. The titles of lecture series are set in roman type; individual lecture titles are enclosed in quotation marks.
Institutional and Company Names
The full names of institutions, groups, and companies and the names of their departments, and often the shortened forms of such names (e.g., the Art Institute), are capitalized. A the preceding a name, even when part of the official title, is lowercased in running text. Such generic terms as company and university are lowercased when used alone.
- the University of Chicago; the university; the University of Chicago and Ohio State University; the University of Wisconsin at Madison; the University of California at Berkeley
- the Board of Trustees of the University of Oregon; the board of trustees; the board
- the Art Institute of Chicago; the Art Institute
- the Beach Boys; the Beatles; the Grateful Dead, the Dead; the Who (but Tha Eastsidaz)
- the General Foods Corporation; General Foods; the corporation
- the Chicago Bulls; the Bulls
- the Library of Congress; the library
- the Manuscripts Division of the library
- the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art; the museum
Parts of names given in full capitals on the letterhead or in the promotional materials of particular organizations may be given in upper- and lowercase when referred to in other contexts (e.g., the Rand Corporation rather than the RAND Corporation). Company names that are spelled in lowercase letters in promotional materials may be capitalized (e.g., DrKoop.net rather than drkoop.net). Names such as eBay and iPod, should they appear at the beginning of a sentence or heading (a construction that should be avoided if possible), need not take an initial capital in addition to the capitalized second letter. Company or product names with additional, internal capitals (sometimes called “midcaps”) should likewise be left unchanged (GlaxoSmithKline, HarperCollins, LexisNexis).