Should i capitalize award names?

Consult Chicago regarding titles of works, personal names, titles and offices, place-names, organizational names, and names that may be relevant to specific fields of study, such as history, science, religion, government, etc.

Arabic names:  Surnames of Arabic origin (which are strictly surnames rather than family names) are often prefixed by such elements as Abu, Abd, ibn, al-, or el- (with hyphen).

  Since these are integral parts of a name, just as Mc or Fitz are parts of certain English names, they should not be dropped when the surname is used alone.

  There continues to be much inconsistency in the rendering of Arabic names in the media, even in frequently used proper names such as al Qaeda / al-Qaida.

al-Islam Bahr al-Safi    Yasir Arafat     Salman Rushdie Osama bin Laden Muhammad (the Prophet) Muhammad Ali (the boxer) Palestine Liberation Organization (not Palestinian) Qur'an, Qur'anic (or Koran, Koranic)

Aziz ibn Saud, or Ibn Saud

  • But:
  • al Qaeda or al-Qaida    Harun al-Rashid, or Harun

Al Fatah (drop the al when an English article is used, e.g., the Fatah statement)

Art:  Titles of photographs, works of art, and of art exhibitions are italicized.  “Catalogue” ends in -ue in “exhibition catalogue” and “catalogue raisonné.”  This is an exception to the standard spelling of “catalog.”

Awards:  Capitalize the names Pulitzer Prize, Academy Award, and Guggenheim Fellowship (but not Guggenheim grant).

Business terminology:  Terms used to describe various business entities are not necessarily interchangeable. 

business:  a generic term signifying virtually any commercial, industrial, or trade enterprise engaged in as a means of livelihood

company:  a broad term signifying an association of persons carrying on a commercial, industrial, or trade enterprise or business; generally, an entity that can own property and sue or be sued in its own name, thus also possibly a general partnership, a limited partnership, or a corporation

corporation:  a body formed and authorized by law to act as a single person and endowed by law with the capacity of succession : an entity recognized by law as constituted by one or more persons and as    having various rights and duties together with the capacity of succession (e.g., Wal-Mart Stores, Exxon Mobil, General Motors, Chevron, Citigroup, Bank of America, Procter & Gamble, Coca-Cola, Halliburton)

firm:  a business partnership of two or more persons not recognized as a legal entity distinct from the members composing it, often no more than a company that is closely identified with one or a number of individuals who operate it, regardless of the precise form of business organization, and very often a family business (e.g., the law firms of Baker & McKenzie, Sidley Austin Brown & Wood, Fulbright & Jaworski; RNL architectural firm, Einhorn Yaffee Prescott Architecture & Engineering)

Computer terms:  Capitalize (but do not italicize) the proper names of hardware, software, networks, devices, systems, and languages. Capitalization should correspond to that displayed by the software or device.

  1. Cap the initialisms used for file extensions.
  2. Internet Explorer PowerPoint HTML JPG PDF Java UNIX Linux
  3.           MATLAB

Ethnic groups:  Do not hyphenate two-word names for various groups of people even if they are used as adjectives.  Note the male/female versions of Latino/a, Chicano/a. The gender neutral term Latinx may be used at the reviewer's discretion.

African American culture

Asian American poets

Exhibitions and events:  Names of exhibitions and events are capitalized.  Titles of art exhibitions are italicized.  Substantive conference names are enclosed in quotes.

 The book was published in conjunction with the exhibition Ansel Adams at 100.  … the World's Columbian Exposition of 1893, commonly known as the Chicago World's Fair, …

 The “Sharia in America: Principles and Prospects” symposium will take place in August.

Miscellaneous proper names: Burma or Myanmar?  “Myanmar” has gained widespread, though not exclusive, use. Many publications acknowledge the traditional name in parentheses: Myanmar (also known as Burma) or (formerly known as Burma). The former is recommended.

         Kraków or Cracow, per MW 

Nobel Prize, Nobel Prizes:  Capitalize prize when mentioned with Nobel, even without a category mentioned; do not cap when not linked with the word Nobel.  Also cap in e.g., Nobel Prize winner, Nobel Prize-winning physiologist.  The six prizes established under the terms of Alfred Nobel’s will are:

  • Nobel Peace Prize Nobel Prize in Chemistry Nobel Prize in Literature Nobel Prize in Physics Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine
  •  Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel
  • Scientific names of plants and animals: phylum, class, order, and family names—capitalize genus names—capitalize and italicize
  • species, subspecies, and variety names—lowercase and italicize

Ships, trains, aircraft, and spacecraft:  Capitalize and italicize the names of specific ships and other vessels, but not SS, USS, HMS, etc., preceding the names.  Do not italicize the names of makes and classes of cars, trains, aircraft, or space programs.  Boats differentiated by a number usually take a roman numeral.  Spacecraft take an arabic numeral.

Project Apollo

Apollo 13

USS New York Boeing 747

Trademarks:  A trademark is a legally protected brand, symbol, or word used by a manufacturer or dealer.  Capitalize a brand name/trademark. Use a generic equivalent unless a trademark name (i.e., a brand name) is essential.

  1. Realtor Listserv Major League Baseball Ritalin The Gallup Poll UNIX Yahoo! Pentium
  2. PowerPoint

Capitalization – University of Victoria

In recent years, there has been a significant and widespread shift in style away from a more formal style to one using less capitalization and punctuation. This approach is followed by the Chicago Manual of Style and Canadian Press, among many other authorities. It is reflected in this UVic style guide and in the recommendations pertaining to capitalization below.

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3.2 The case for lower case

This guide recommends a lower case style for several reasons:

  • When too many words are capitalized, they lose their importance and no longer attract attention.
  • Readability studies have shown that copy is more easily read when it isn't peppered with initial caps or all caps.
  • Using lower case letters in no way diminishes the stature or credibility of an individual's position or a department's reputation.
  • When writing promotional or marketing materials (such as brochures or print ads), emphasis can be achieved more effectively by the skillful use of white space, typeface and typestyle than by excessive use of initial caps or all caps.

3.3 The general rule

  • The general rule is to capitalize common nouns when they represent a complete formal name and use lower case in subsequent partial or informal forms.
  • the Ministry of Advanced Education; the ministry; the education ministry
  • the Government of Canada; the Canadian government; the government
  • the Government of British Columbia; the BC government; the government
  • the University of Victoria; the university
  • the Senate of the University of Victoria, the UVic senate, the senate
  • the Faculty of Fine Arts, the fine arts faculty, the faculty [To avoid confusion, use a construction such as “faculty members” when referring to people as opposed to the academic unit.]

3.4 What not to capitalize

Common nouns should not be capitalized, even when they are used in terminology specific to the university context, such as “grade-point average,” “winter session,” “letter of permission,” “record of degree program” and “university fellowship.”

See also Appendix B: Word list.

3.5 Capitalization after colons

Do not capitalize the first letter of a common noun after a colon in running text, even if the colon is followed by a complete sentence.

3.6 Capitalization of job and position titles

In running text, capitalize formal job titles directly preceding a name and not set off by a comma. Use lower case in other instances.

  1. Prime Minister Paul Martin; the prime minister; Paul Martin, prime minister
  2. Executive Director of UVic Communications Bruce Kilpatrick; Bruce Kilpatrick, executive director of communications; the executive director
  3. See Lists: Vertical lists and capitalization.

3.7 Capitalization and quotations

Capitalize the first word of a quotation that is a complete sentence.

3.8 Capitalization at UVic

3.8.1 Academic programs

Formal academic programs within faculties and departments and interdisciplinary academic programs follow the general rule for capitalization. Refer to the University of Victoria Undergraduate Calendar for the complete formal names of programs.

  • the Russian Studies Program, Russian studies
  • the Medieval Studies Program, medieval studies
  • the Arts of Canada Program, arts of Canada

3.8.2 Academic subjects

  1. Do not capitalize academic subjects except when referring to a subject that is also a proper noun.

  2. English, biology, French, history, physics, Spanish, law, Latin
  3. When referring to the course offerings of a specific UVic department (as opposed to offerings in the general field of study or at other institutions), be explicit or use the standard course code.

  4. “Prerequisites include at least six course credits in HIST,” or “Prerequisites include at least six course credits in the UVic history department.”
  5. Top
  6. Follow the general rule of capitalization: only capitalize the full formal title of the award or honour.
  7. University of Victoria Fellowship, university fellowship

3.8.4 Building names

  • Only the full, formal name of the building should be capitalized. Use lower case for all informal references:
  • the Lam Auditorium; the auditorium
  • Gordon Head Residences; the residence buildings
  • Refer to buildings and other university venues named after people by using either the family name or the person’s full name, but use one or the other convention consistently within a publication.
  • Strong Building, David F. Strong Building
  • Stewart Complex, Ian Stewart Complex
  • Matthews and McQueen Lecture Theatre, Trevor Matthews and Bob McQueen Lecture Theatre

The authoritative source for official names of university buildings and venues is

3.8.5 Committee names

  1. The names of committees, task groups and other working groups need not be capitalized.

  2. the planning and priorities committee
  3. the nominations and committee governance committee
  4. The names of committees may be capitalized in such formal documents as the University of Victoria Undergraduate Calendar and communications of or with university governing bodies.

3.8.6 Degrees, certificates and diplomas

  • The general rules of capitalization apply.
  • Doctor of Philosophy, doctorate; Master of Fine Arts, master’s degree; baccalaureate
  • Diploma in Cultural Resource Management, cultural resource management diploma
  • Professional Specialization Certificate in International Intellectual Property Law, intellectual property law certificate
  • See Appendix A: UVic academic degrees.

Distinctions within degree programs, such as major, minor, honours; concentrations or specialties; co-op designation; with distinction, etc. should not be considered part of the official program name and should not be capitalized in running text.

  1. honours in political science, political science honours program
  2. minor in medieval studies
  3. major in environmental studies

3.8.7 Department and unit names

Follow the general rules of capitalization. Please refer directly to the department for its formal name.

  • Department of English; the English department; the department
  • School of Earth and Ocean Sciences; earth and ocean sciences; the school
  • Faculty of Fine Arts, the faculty
  • Co-operative Education Program & Career Services (the university’s central co-op office); UVic co‑op; Humanities, Fine Arts and Professional Writing Co-op (co-op program areas);
  • Professional writing co-op, co-op
  • Exceptions: the Faculty of Law and the Faculty of Business have adopted as brand identifiers “UVic Law” and “UVic Business” and these two alternative forms continue to be used.
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3.8.8 Job titles

Please contact individual departments directly for formal job titles in their units.

Capitalize formal job titles directly preceding a name and not set off by commas. Use lower case in other instances.

  1. Executive Director of UVic Communications Bruce Kilpatrick; Bruce Kilpatrick, executive director of communications; the executive director
  2. See also Lists: Vertical lists and capitalization.
  3. Always hyphenate the titles “vice-chancellor” and “vice-president.”
  4. When referring to UVic vice-presidents, do not set off their area of responsibility with commas; however, the same rules of capitalization apply.

The vice-president academic and provost will have authority to …

  • The vice-president external relations will chair the committee.
  • Gayle Gorrill, vice-president finance and operations, has been appointed to the board.
  • In running text, use academic ranks (assistant, associate, full professor) only when the context makes it necessary.

The preferred academic title is Dr. for a PhD, MD or equivalent. For those with a postgraduate degree but no PhD, MD, etc., “Professor” or “Prof.” is the preferred title.

Exceptions may be made in order to conform to the appropriate level of formality in communicating with a particular audience. 

Editorial Style Guide

These guidelines are designed to help Sigma Tau Delta members prepare copy for Sigma Tau Delta publications (print and electronic).

They are intended to ensure consistency of style, and are based on the most current Modern Language Association MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers as well as on organizational preference.

In any circumstance where this guide does not provide enough information, members should defer to the most recent MLA guidelines. The following quick reference provides preferences and examples for frequently occurring inconsistencies.


As a general rule, abbreviations made up of lowercase letters should have a period after each letter, without spaces between letters: e.g., i.e. For abbreviations made up of predominately capital letters, use neither periods after letters nor spaces between letters: BC, NJ, US, DVD, PhD.


Abbreviate whenever possible: MA, BA, MFA, MBA, PhD.


  • Capitalize all majors and minors; use lowercase for general reference.
  • She has a BA in English with minors in Creative Writing and Secondary Education. He has an MA in Mass Communication with an emphasis in electronic publishing. The position requires a bachelor's degree in a related field.


Spell out the names of colleges and universities.


  • He is pursuing a BA in English at Tennessee State University.


Use the two-letter ZIP Code style to abbreviate states when used with a city or town. Note: Use two commas to set off the name of a state when it follows the name of a city.


  • David Rodriguez, a junior at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, IL, is pursuing a BA in English.


Use a.m. and p.m. (with periods) to designate time.


  • The program is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.



Capitalize the full official name. Do not capitalize award when plural or standing alone.


  • He won the Student Leadership Award.
  • They announced the Student Leadership and Outstanding Advisor awards. The award recognizes outstanding service at the local level.


Capitalize all references to the ΣΤΔ Board of Directors.


  • The management of the Society is vested in the Board of Directors.
  • A Board meeting is always scheduled immediately preceding or during the annual convention. All Board members are expected to attend; attendance is optional for non-Board members.

Central Office

Always capitalize Central Office (CO).


Capitalize chapter when part of a ΣΤΔ chapter's name.


  • She is a member of the Omega Xi Chapter at Spelman College. She is a member of the chapter at Spelman College.


Do not capitalize freshman, sophomore, junior, senior, undergraduate, or graduate.


Capitalize the full official name. Do not capitalize the noun when plural or standing alone.


  • The Student Leadership Committee provides the students' voice within the Society. He spoke to the Executive and Service committees.
  • The committee chair will send a meeting notice.

Common Reader

Capitalize all references to a specific common reader once it has been selected.


  • Red: Passion and Patience in the Desert, by Terry Tempest Williams, is the Common Reader for 2018. Next year's common reader will be announced in the spring.


Always capitalize references to the ΣΤΔ Constitution and Bylaws.


  • Any member may initiate a proposed amendment or addition to the Constitution.
  • One of the charges of the Strategic Planning Committee is to recommend constitutional revisions.


Capitalize when immediately preceded by Sigma Tau Delta, a date, or city. (Note: Only the international event is referred to as a convention; regional events are referred to as conferences.)


  • The Sigma Tau Delta 2020 International Convention will be held in Las Vegas. The theme of the Las Vegas Convention is Transformative Landscapes.
  • The 2020 Annual Convention will be in Las Vegas.
  • Consider submitting a paper for the convention in Las Vegas. Check the convention website for additional information.
  • The annual international convention is Sigma Tau Delta's signature event.

Convention Chair

Capitalize chair when immediately preceded by convention.


  • The Convention Chair establishes the theme and selects the keynote speakers.
  • The chair of the convention establishes the theme and selects the keynote speakers.
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Capitalize all degree and program names.


  • She is an English Education Major at Minot State University.
  • She also is pursuing a Minor in Women's Studies.
  • He is a student in the Creative Writing program at Chadron State College.


Capitalize department names.


  • The Department of English is located in the Arts & Sciences Building. Applications are available in the English Department.


Capitalize region when part of a ΣΤΔ region's name (i.e., Eastern Region, Far Western Region, High Plains Region, Midwestern Region, Southern Region, and Southwestern Region).


  • The Southwestern Region held a conference in October 2018.

To Capitalise or Not To Capitalise: A Useful Guide | Proofed’s Writing Tips

The question of when to capitalise a word can be tricky. As such, sometimes even the most exacting of grammar nerds will need to consult a guide.

The rules for this are varied and many. As a result, if you’re trying to write an essay and you’re unsure about a word, check the rules below to see whether a capital is required.

Which Words Should Be Capitalised?

The following situations always require a capital letter:

  • The first word in a sentence
  • The first-person pronoun ‘I’, along with the contractions ‘I’m’ and ‘I’ll’
  • Countries (e.g. ‘France’)
  • Cities (e.g. ‘Paris’) and other unique places or landmarks (e.g. ‘the Eiffel Tower’)
  • Languages, (e.g. ‘French’, ‘Spanish’ or ‘German’)
  • Proper nouns related to nationality, (e.g. ‘Frenchman’ or ‘Englishman’)
  • Months and days of the week (e.g. ‘We met on a Thursday in June’)
  • Special dates and historical periods (e.g. ‘Christmas Day’ or ‘the Iron Age’)
  • Important historical events (e.g. ‘World War One’)
  • The names of companies, brands and institutions (e.g. ‘Coca Cola’)
  • Abbreviated titles (e.g. ‘Mr’, ‘Ms’ or ‘Dr’)
  • Honorifics in salutations or before a name (e.g. ‘Dear Sir’ or ‘Doctor Quinn’)
  • People’s names (e.g. ‘Donald’ or ‘Hillary’)
  • Special honours and awards (e.g. ‘Bachelor of Physics’)

Although this list covers the most common examples, there are also other situations where terms should be capitalised.


Queen’s follows the CP approach of a modified down style, meaning uppercase is used sparingly in text.

CP’s basic rule:

Capitalize all proper names, the names of departments and agencies of national and provincial governments, trade names, names of associations, companies, clubs, religions, languages, races, places, addresses. Otherwise, lowercase is favoured where a reasonable option exists.

The modified down approach creates a cleaner, more comprehensible text.

Leaders in writing style standards note that it is easy to get lost in a sea of capitals when too many words are capitalized; in the end, those capitalized words lose their importance and don’t attract the reader’s attention. It is also understood that a down style does not diminish a person’s stature or academic position.

General rule

Capitalize common nouns when they represent the full version of a formal name and use lowercase when the partial or informal versions of a name appear.

  • Queen’s University; the university
  • City of Kingston; the city
  • Government of Ontario; the Ontario government; the government
  • Board of Trustees; the board
  • University Council; the council

Job titles and positions

Capitalize an individual’s title when their position precedes their name.

  • Dean Richard Reznick; Principal Daniel Woolf; Professor Jonathan Rose (Political Studies)

Capitalize an individual’s title when it directly follows their name, separated by a comma.

  • Tom Harris, Vice-Principal (Advancement); Martha Whitehead, Vice-Provost and University Librarian

Lowercase a title when it appears on its own, separated from the individual’s name.

  • The dean expects results by 2014; Tom Harris was appointed vice-principal of advancement in 2010.

Faculties, academic programs, departments, and groups/units

Capitalize the full name of the faculty or department; capitalize when it's clear the reference is to a faculty or department rather than a field or discipline; lowercase the partial or informal version.

  • Faculty of Arts and Science; Arts and Science; the faculty
  • Cultural Studies Program; the program
  • Bachelor of Fine Art Program; Fine Art; the fine art program; the program
  • Department of Chemistry; Chemistry; the chemistry department; the department
  • Groundwater Group; the group

Do not capitalize faculties, schools, departments, or offices when referring to more than one.

  • Department of English, Department of Sociology; Faculty of Education, Faculty of Law


  • the departments of English and sociology; the faculties of education and law

Building and site names

Capitalize the full formal name; lowercase the partial version.

  • Stauffer Library; the library
  • Nixon Field; the field; the rugby field

Academic degrees

Capitalize full degree names; lowercase general references.

  • Bachelor of Education; bachelor’s degree
  • Master of Science; master’s degree
  • Doctor of Philosophy; doctorate
  • Certificate for International Education Professionals; the certificate

Honorary degrees

  • Doctor of Laws; honorary doctorate; LLD
  • Doctor of Science; honorary doctorate; DSc
  • Doctor of Divinity; honorary doctorate; DDiv

See a full list of degree citations visit Degrees.

Awards and distinctions

Lowercase common references to grants, bursaries, awards, prizes, and medals when they stand alone. Capitalize names of full awards and honours.

  • The award was presented at a ceremony in Grant Hall.


  • The Steve Cutway Accessibility Award was presented at a ceremony in Grant Hall.

Headlines and article titles

Use sentence case, with only the first word capitalized.

  • Global health a focus at Queen’s summer institute


  • Global Health a Focus at Queen’s Summer Institute.

Certain publications, however, will use title case, with the majority of words capitalized, due to their design platforms.

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