When to capitalize generation names

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The Millennial Generation: How to Capitalize on a Third of Your Workforce

When to Capitalize Generation Names

Mark Miller | VP of Marketing, Emergenetics International

The millennial generation are entering the workforce in droves. According to Forbes, Millennials will make up 46% of the workforce by 2020. Even now the millennial generation accounts for over 33% of the workforce.

Companies can no longer afford to think of this group as interns and individual contributors. And soon, companies will be dealing with Generation Z.

This new generation, born after 1995, raised in an Internet-ready world, could accentuate many of the characteristics of the millennials.

This means huge potential for innovation and advances technologically, as these employees will be geared to work in a constantly connected workplace, where teams are not driven by location or expertise but rather through the nimble ability to work across boundaries. However, there are challenging aspects that companies will have to deal with as the workforce becomes younger, leaner and more imperative to the success of the organization.

Common criticisms for millennial workers—being self-involved, quick to change and lose focus, overconfident, digitally connected but lacking in the experience of actual collaboration—will potentially be even more apparent in this new generation. Companies that understand leadership in a different lens and a new way, will also understand the promise that this generation holds.

But try telling that to a Baby Boomer manager who has been with the company for 20 years, holds an advanced degree, has traveled and seen the way business works and can’t see eye-to-eye with someone less than half his age. Then ask a millennial or a 20-year old worker to figure out how to best learn from what they may see as the stodgy “old guard.”

It’s a fact that no matter how difficult it will be facilitate this kind of collaboration, knowledge transfer will need to happen in order to facilitate productivity and keep companies strong.

What this means for organizations now is to embrace the potential of tomorrow’s leaders and the knowledge of today’s leaders—trainers, leaders and the organizations are at an imperative to facilitate an environment where mutual learning can take place. But what questions should we be asking ourselves in order to gear up?

I was just at an incredible forum with innovative leaders and thinkers from across industry. We sat around a table and discussed many of the trends that will shape the workplace (and life as a whole) of the next 10, 15 or even 50 years. It seems crazy to think of a 16 year old as a leader, but more and more companies are going beyond “prepare” mode and into “action” mode.

One leader at the meeting, who heads HR for a multibillion dollar clothing company, said that their company had an internship program for Generation Z and Millennials.

He mentioned a story of a 19-year old Chinese intern who was able, outside of what his internship specified, to devise a new way (using completely new code) to complete a manual, complicated process that took several hours each week.

How much money will this save the company? How much time? Without an openness to learn from this generation, they’d still be doing things the old way. And, that intern was able to teach their workers how to use the system and even improve upon it.

This is mentoring at its finest, and that strategy will be what will facilitate knowledge transfer, accentuate different approaches, diversify skill sets and position companies for the future.

Mentoring used to be done from the top-down, but with the vastly different mindsets, behavioral tendencies, skills and experience, mentoring can be done in a holistic manner. Organizational development specialists, HR and Learning and Development talk a lot about “reverse-mentoring,” where the younger generation can actually mentor older generations.

However, we are getting to a place where organizations can have the capacity to create a 360 degree mentoring process. When communication lines are opened and mutual respect and trust is created, employees from throughout the organization should be able to provide a mentorship opportunity to others.

The ability to impact the organization and create a difference is a clear priority for the millennial generation and Generation Z, so tap into this desire by putting the structures in place to facilitate active knowledge and perspective sharing.

See also:  What’s on the dark side of the moon?

Want to see more on mentoring and how different generations work?

When to Capitalize Generation Names

My life is super exciting, so Friday night I was looking through the galleys of the new edition of the Chicago Manual of Style, and I noticed a little change from the previous edition. In the past, Chicago said to lowercase “generation X,” even though other style books said to capitalize it. With the new edition in September, Chicago is going to be in line with the Associated Press, making editors’ lives easier: capitalize “Generation X.” And if you call us “Gen Xers” on second reference, capitalize that too. 

But knowing when to capitalize the name of a generation isn’t as straightforward as you’d think. Although “Generation X” is capitalized, “baby boomer” and “millennial” are lowercase, but then “the Greatest Generation,” which generally means Americans who became adults during World War II, is often capitalized.

So what’s going on? Well, my best guess is that “baby boomer” and “millennial” are made-up names that describe the generations, but “Generation X” and “the Greatest Generation” were both popularized by books that have those titles, so there’s some pressure or feeling that they should be capitalized. The Oxford English Dictionary does show people occasionally using both of these names before the books came out, but it was really the books that made these names popular.

‘Generation X’ Was a Book Title

Generation X” was the title of a novel published by Douglas Coupland in 1991.

The publisher’s description says the main characters “Andy, Claire, and Dag, each in their twenties, have quit ‘pointless jobs done grudgingly to little applause’ in their respective hometowns and cut themselves adrift on the California desert.

In search of the drastic changes that will lend meaning to their lives, they've mired themselves in the detritus of American cultural memory.”

‘The Greatest Generation’ Was a Book Title

“The Greatest Generation” was the title of Peter Brokaw’s best-seller that profiled military heroes,  community leaders, and ordinary citizens who served their country during World War II. Before they were called “the Greatest Generation,” they were sometimes called the “G.I. Generation” or the “World War II Generation.”

Single Letters Are Usually Capitalized

Why are the first letters in "Generation X" capitalized but those in "baby boom" not capitalized?

At least in The New York Times Manual of Style and Usage (1999), the generation names are indeed treated inconsistently:

baby boom. As allusions to the population surge after World War II—between 1946 and 1964—baby boom and baby boomer are overused; ration them.

Generation X. The term for people born in the 1960's and 1970's. Also: Gen X; Gen Xer(s). All of the terms are faddish, and the short forms are slang as well.

Somewhat similarly, The Associated Press Stylebook (2002) has this for baby boomer:

baby boomer. Lowercase, no hyphen.

The 2002 edition of this style guide doesn't address Generation X at all, but I'm fairly sure that more-recent editions recommend initial-capping the term.

Why the inconsistency? I think several factors are relevant. One is timing: According to Merriam-Webster's Eleventh Collegiate Dictionary (2003), baby boom was coined in 1941 whereas Generation X first appeared in 1989:

baby boom n (1941) : a marked rise in birthrate (as in the U.S. immediately following the end of World War II) — baby boomer n

Generation X n (1989) : the generation of American born in the 1960s and 1970s — Generation Xer n

MW's first-occurrence dates make clear that the generational terms arose decades apart, in very different contexts. Since baby boom first appeared five years before the World war II ended, it clearly did not start its life as a generation name.

When observers did recognize the postwar increase in birthrate as a significant phenomenon, their focus was initially on the increase itself—not on the cohort of human beings born during the first years of it.

And by the time observers adopted the generational name baby boom/baby boomers for children born between 1946 and 1964, the lowercase style for the terms was well established.

I note, too, that William Benet, The Reader's Encyclopedia, second edition (1965), spells the term lost generation—used in reference to “the generation of men and women who came to maturity during World War I (1914–1918)”—in lowercase.

Generation X, on the other hand, came into the world as a generation label, if we may trust the Eleventh Collegiate.

That's not strictly true, of course, since Billy Idol's poppy-punky band Generation X debuted in 1976—but Billy Idol was born in 1955, so he was a Baby Boomer, not a Gen Xer, except when he was on stage.

It's also true that generation X has long been used as a designation for first-generation populations in (for example) animal breeding operations or genetic experiments with Drosophila fruit flies. Thus, Glen Black, American Beagling (1949) [combined snippets] has this description:

APA Style 6th Edition Blog: Do I Capitalize This Word?

by Chelsea Lee

Dear Style Experts,

I am writing a paper in APA Style, and I have a question about the capitalization of a specific word. Can you tell me how to capitalize it? Also, I need to know what the proper APA Style spelling of the word is. Thanks for your help!

— Wally in Washington, DC

Dear Wally, 

Your first stop in answering questions about the capitalization or spelling of a specific word in an APA Style paper should be the dictionary.

APA uses Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary (2005) as its standard reference for capitalization and spelling, along with the APA Dictionary of Psychology for psychology-related terms. Along with the guidance provided in the Publication Manual (see pp.

101–104 for capitalization rules), follow the capitalization and spelling you see in those dictionaries for words in your APA Style paper. If more than one option for capitalization and spelling is provided, use the first entry.

Now, you might wonder, why is it helpful to look up a word in a dictionary if you want to know how to capitalize it and not just how to spell it? Well, it’s helpful because the dictionary tells you whether a word is a proper noun (i.e.

, a specific person, place, or thing), and proper nouns are capitalized in English and therefore in APA Style (see Publication Manual sections 4.16 and 4.18).

Their opposite, regular or “common” nouns (which refer to general persons, places, or things), are lowercase in English and thus in APA Style as well.

What to Capitalize

Here are some examples of different types of (capitalized) proper nouns, along with some (lowercased) regular or common noun corollaries:

Noun type Proper noun example Common noun example
Author or person Freud, Skinner, von Neumann the author, the investigator, the mathematician
Company,  institution, or agency American Psychological Association, University of Washington, Department of Sociology the association, a university, a sociology department
Product Advil, Xerox, Prozac (brand names) ibuprofen, photocopy, fluoxetine (generic names)
Test or inventory Beck Depression Inventory, Child Behavior Checklist a depression inventory, a behavior checklist
Website or database

Capitalization – Other APA Guidelines

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As announced in February, Walden University will use the new, seventh edition of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association as the accepted standard for citations, references, and writing style guidelines starting in the summer terms (May 4 for semester-based programs and June 1 for quarter-based and Tempo programs).

See also:  Could we live on mars?

So, what does this mean for doctoral students writing their capstones? Students actively working to complete their doctoral capstone studies or projects will have a grace period during which they have the option of continuing in APA 6 or moving to APA 7. This grace period will end on December 31, 2020.

If a student will have final URR approval of their final study or project by the end of 2020 (after Final Overall Quality Committee Rubric Analysis and before CAO Approval), they have the option of completing that study in APA 6 or APA 7, and they should consult with their chair while making this decision. Beginning January 1, 2021, all capstone writers will follow APA 7 guidelines.

The Walden form and style editors will provide support for both APA editions beginning with summer term starts through the end of the year, with templates in both editions beginning June 1. They will also provide instructions for adjusting text in an APA 6 doctoral capstone template to comply with APA 7 guidelines so students in progress can avoid needing to start with a new template.

  • For the remainder of 2020, when uploading capstone manuscripts at any stage in Taskstream, committee chairs, second committee members, and URRs should indicate which edition of the APA style manual a student used in the General Comments section by writing “APA 6” or “APA 7.”
  • The Writing Center is providing webinars to help capstone students and their committees make the adjustment from APA 6 to APA 7.
  • APA 7 at a Glance: Changes and Support for the Switch for Doctoral Capstone Students
  • May 6, from 1-2:00 p.m. ET

APA 7 at a Glance: Changes and Support for the Switch for Doctoral Committees

  • Monday, April 27, from 1-2:00 ET

Update from March 17, 2020. Edited May 1, 2020.

Editorial Style Guide

In general, the Amherst College Office of Communications follows the Associated Press Stylebook for its publications. The style guide below covers points that are of particular concern at Amherst, as well as exceptions we make to AP style.

abbreviations / acronyms / initialisms Many offices, departments, centers, student organizations, etc. come to be known by shortened names (e.g., the Center for Humanistic Inquiry becomes “the CHI”; the Department of Law, Jurisprudence and Social Thought becomes “LJST”; Valentine Dining Hall becomes “Val”).

These abbreviations can be useful, but be aware that readers might not automatically understand what they mean, especially if the readers or the organizations are new to the Amherst community.

Always use the full name on first reference, and introduce an abbreviation only if that abbreviation is going to appear later in the document.  

academic titles  Whenever practical, use a faculty member’s full official title on first reference. Endowed professorships are always capitalized; other titles are capitalized only when they appear immediately before a person’s name (e.g., “Rhonda Cobham-Sander, the Emily C.

Jordan Folger Professor of Black Studies and English”; “Associate Professor of Biology Josef Trapani”; “Josef Trapani, associate professor of biology”). Do not abbreviate “Professor” as “Prof.” And, though most Amherst professors have doctorates, we generally use the title “Dr.” only for medical doctors.

alumna / alumnae / alumnus / alumni /  alum   “Alumna” is the feminine singular term for someone who has attended a school; “alumnae” is its plural, meaning multiple women who have attended a school.

“Alumnus” is the masculine singular term. “Alumni” is plural, used for multiple men or for a mixed-gender group (so it does not make sense to refer to an individual as “an alumni”). The shortened, gender-neutral forms “alum” and “alums” can be used in less formal contexts.

There is no such thing as a “former alumnus”; use simply “alumnus” or “former student.”

Amherst (magazine) The title of the College’s quarterly magazine is simply Amherst (italicized, as all magazine titles are). The title does not include words such as Magazine, Quarterly, Alumni, Bulletin or Notes.

Art and the History of Art  What used to be called the Department of Fine Arts, and then the Department of Art and Art History, is now known as the Department of Art and the History of Art.

artist-in-residence / playwright-in-residence / writer-in-residence 

So hyphenated.

and / &  

In general, spell out the word “and” rather than using “&” (e.g., “Department of Theater and Dance”; “Archives and Special Collections”; “peanut butter and jelly”). Exceptions are when the official title of an organization, product, business, book, film, etc. includes “&” (e.g., Procter & Gamble; Roger & Me), or when the ampersand is useful for clarity (e.g., “She is a double major in law, jurisprudence & social thought and theater & dance”). 

  • Biddy Martin Though the Amherst College president’s first name is Carolyn, she is almost always identified, even on first reference, by her nickname, Biddy.
  • Career Center See Loeb Center for Career Exploration and Planning.
  • College Police  The offical name of the College’s police department is Amherst College Police.

commas In most instances, we omit the serial comma (also known as the “Oxford comma”) when making a list within a paragraph (e.g.: “The workshop is open to students, faculty and staff” instead of “The workshop is open to students, faculty, and staff”). class years  Leave the word “class” lowercase (e.g.

, “the class of 1957”; “members of the class of 2003”; “the class of ’91”; “the most recent graduating class”). Also, note the direction in which the apostrophe curves: “the class of ’19,” not “the class of ‘19.”College / the College Capitalize the C only within the full name of a specific college (e.g.

, Hampshire College) or in reference to Amherst College as “the College.” Use a lowercase c when referring to colleges in general (e.g., “She will soon complete her college applications”; “He is the first member of his family to attend college”).Commencement This is the official name for the ceremony at which students graduate from Amherst.

  Commencement Weekend is the long weekend of events on campus leading up to and including each year’s Commencement ceremony.

Connecticut River Valley / Pioneer Valley / The Valley “Pioneer Valley” is a colloquial and promotional name for the part of the Connecticut River Valley that runs through Massachusetts—the valley in which Amherst and its surrounding towns are located. Use “Pioneer Valley” only if it is part of the official name of a business or organization. Otherwise, use “Western Massachusetts,” “Connecticut River Valley” or simply “The Valley.”   

course titles  Place quotation marks around course titles (e.g., “Philosophy of Science”; “Chaucer: The Canterbury Tales”).

dates  Here are examples of the various formats we use for dates:

  • Tuesday, Aug. 18 Note the comma.
  • Aug. 18, 2020 Note the comma.
  • The deadline of Aug. 18, 2020, is strictly enforced. Commas set off the year from the rest of the sentence.
  • August 2020 Do not abbreviate the month or use a comma when mentioning only the month and the year.
  • Aug. 18 In many contexts, the year is understood and does not need to be included.
  • March 18 Do not abbreviate the names of months that have five or fewer letters.
  • summer 2020 Do not capitalize the names of seasons.
  • the Fall 2020 semester Do capitalize “Fall” and “Spring” when referring to academic semesters.
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dean of the faculty  Make sure to include “the” in the middle of the phrase.

department names Capitalize “the Department of _______,” but use lowercase for “the _______ department” (e.g., “This event is sponsored by the Department of History”; “They took many courses in the history department”). 

departments / majors / programs This page can help to clarify whether a particular major at Amherst has its own department, exists alongside other majors within the same department, or is a program that might involve courses in multiple departments.

Classics, for instance, is a department that offers several different majors, and Amherst has a “neuroscience program” rather than a “neuroscience department.” emerita / emeritus  This term denotes that a retired individual has retained a rank or title.

“Emerita” is the feminine form, and “emeritus” is masculine. Place it within the person’s title (e.g., Leah Hewitt, professor emerita of French) except when it is an endowed professorship, in which case it goes after the title and a comma (e.g., William H.

Pritchard ’53, the Henry Clay Folger Professor of English, Emeritus).

first-generation student Amherst uses this term for any (self-identifying) student who does not have a parent or guardian who has obtained a four-year college degree within the United States. Do not abbreviate it to “first-gen” unless the context is informal and you are sure that your audience is familiar with the term.

first-year student(s)  We generally use the term “first-year student(s)” or “first-year(s),” rather than “freshman” or “freshmen.”

Five College Consortium / Five Colleges, Inc.  Spell out the word “Five.” “Five College” is not hyphenated.

Global Education Office  Amherst’s study abroad office is now called the Global Education Office or the Office of Global Education.

hyperlinks  When inserting a link into online text, there is no need to use a separate phrase such as “Click here” or “Follow this link.” Instead, insert it directly into the phrase that best describes the linked page (e.g., “The Mead Art Museum will be open this week.”)

Latinx and Latin American Studies This is the name of an interdisciplinary program major established at Amherst in 2017. “Latinx” is a gender-neutral or gender-inclusive term used instead of “Latino” or “Latina.”

Loeb Center for Career Exploration and Planning What used to be called the Career Center is now known as the Loeb Center for Career Exploration and Planning.

Mammoth(s) Amherst College’s mascot is the Mammoth (e.g., “Will a student dress up as the Mammoth?”). The plural should be used in reference to our athletic teams (“the Mammoths are playing against the Ephs”), the idea being that every Amherst athlete is a Mammoth.

In a phrase (or a logo depicting a phrase) such as “Mammoths hockey,” do not use an apostrophe after “Mammoths.

” The first letter is capitalized when referring to the mascot or athletic teams but lowercase when referring to the actual animal (“The Beneski Museum displays the skeleton of a mammoth”). 

Mount Holyoke College  Do not abbreviate “Mount” as “Mt.” (except in the college’s web address, mtholyoke.edu, and its email addresses).

names of people  In general, after first reference, identify a person by last name only (e.g., Jane Doe ’21 becomes “Doe”; Associate Professor of Economics Jun Ishii becomes “Ishii”).

In some cases—such as when multiple people in an article have the same last name or the tone of an article is casual or personal—it might be best to use first names.

In any case, be consistent within an article or publication; do not, for example, refer to faculty members by last names and students by first names.

parents The format for identifying someone as a parent of an Amherst student or graduate is illustrated by the following (fictional) example: Lee Smith ’90, P’17 ’20, is a member of the class of 1990 who has children in the classes of 2017 and 2020.

phone numbers When giving a phone number in a piece of writing, always include the area code in parentheses . Use en dashes rather than hyphens between parts of the phone number. E.g.: (413) 542–2927.

Powerhouse The name of the student activity space on the east side of campus, the Powerhouse, is spelled as one word, with a lowercase h.

pronouns The Queer Resource Center offers this guide to personal pronouns as they relate to gender. Make an effort to ask about and use every person’s correct pronouns when speaking and writing.

“They,” “them” and “their(s)” are acceptable not only as plural pronouns (as in “The students all said they would return to their dorms”), but also as singular pronouns for a person whose gender is unknown (“Someone left their phone behind when they exited the building”) or for a person who specifically uses those pronouns (“Taylor remembers the day they received their acceptance letter from Amherst”).

  1. Science Center Capitalize this phrase in reference to the science facility built on the east side of campus and opened in fall 2018.
  2. Sexuality, Women’s and Gender Studies What used to be called the Department of Women’s and Gender Studies (abbreviated “WAGS”) is now known as the Department of Sexuality, Women’s and Gender Studies (“SWAGS”).
  3. times of day  Here are examples of the formats we use:
  • 3:30 a.m.; 3:30 p.m. Note that “a.m.” and “p.m.” are lowercase, with periods.
  • 3 a.m.; 3 p.m. When a time is exactly on the hour, don’t include the colon and double-zero.
  • 1:15 to 3:15 a.m.; 1:15 to 3:15 p.m. When both times in a range are a.m. or both times are p.m., write “a.m.” or “p.m.” only after the second time.
  • 9:15 a.m. to 3:15 p.m.; 9:15 p.m. to 3:15 a.m. When one time in a range is a.m. and the other is p.m., make this clear.
  • 3:30 in the morning; 3:30 in the afternoon Including “a.m.” or “p.m.” would be redundant here.
  • noon; midnight To avoid confusion, do not refer to these as “12 p.m.” and “12 a.m.” Also, “12 noon” and “12 midnight” would be redundant.

study abroad  See Global Education Office.

Town of Amherst  Use this phrase to distinguish the town from the College, and capitalize “Town.” Ordinarily, a reference to a small town would include the state (e.g., “the Sugar Loaf, N.Y., resident”), but in College publications, it is understood that Amherst College and the Town of Amherst are in Massachusetts, so the state need not be listed.

University of Massachusetts Amherst / UMass  Though many universities use dashes or commas between the names of the universities and their cities, notice that in this case, there is no punctuation between “Massachusetts” and “Amherst.” The abbreviation “UMass” can be used after first reference, if the tone of the article is not especially formal. Do not put the abbreviation entirely in capital letters (“UMASS”).

upperclass students  This term refers to students in the sophomore, junior and senior classes.

However, it can be erroneously interpreted as referring to students from higher socioeconomic classes. For that reason, avoid using it except when necessary.

In many cases, “sophomores, juniors and seniors” is an effective substitute. Do not use  “upperclassman” or “upperclassmen.”

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