A “the” at the beginning of a word or phrase that would normally be capitalized—including the name of an organization or the title of a work—presents a dilemma. When is the “the” capitalized? In Chicago style, the answer comes down to a few rules that can help you decide in each case.
A defining feature of any style is how it capitalizes words in the titles of books, articles, and other works. Most recommend a variation of title case, or what CMOS has traditionally referred to as headline style.
This month’s quiz focuses on proper nouns and the terms derived from and associated with them, including adjectives. Proper nouns are generally capitalized, whereas the related terms may or may not be, depending on context and meaning.
Few readers will be puzzled by the capital D in the first example and the small d (and s) in the second. “Detective MacSwain” is treated like a name, a proper noun; “detective” (like “sleuth”) is a common noun. But what form would you choose in the following examples?
Few people will accept that up means down simply because you say so in writing, not even if you’re perfectly consistent about it. Still, when it comes to editorial principles, consistency is second only to being right.
“The full names of administrative bodies are capitalized. Adjectives derived from them are usually lowercased, as are many of the generic names for such bodies when used alone . . .