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Common mistakes in capitalization

Posted by Maria Murnane | August 1, 2016

Many people, authors included, tend to capitalize words that shouldn’t be capitalized, probably because they aren’t aware of the rules. Here’s a quick refresher course regarding mistakes I see all the time:

Job titles

Job titles are capitalized only when they come directly before the person’s name. For example:

  • Correct: Luca Maestri is the chief financial officer at Apple.
  • Incorrect: Luca Maestri is the Chief Financial Officer at Apple.
  • Correct: Apple Chief Financial Officer Luca Maestri will speak at the conference.
  • Correct: Joe Biden is the vice president of the United States.
  • Incorrect: Joe Biden is the Vice President of the United States.
  • Correct: Vice President Joe Biden will attend the event.

*For you authors out there, “author” is NEVER capitalized unless it comes at the beginning of a sentence–I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve seen it written incorrectly in a bio.

Seasons

Seasons of the year aren’t capitalized unless they are at the beginning of a sentence. For example:

Correct: I love summer.

Incorrect: They plan to get married next Fall.

Correct: Winter 2015 was brutal!

Correct: I hope this coming winter is milder.

Degrees and majors

Degrees and majors are not capitalized unless the subject is a language. For example:

  • Correct: I have a master’s degree in English.
  • Incorrect: He is majoring in Psychology.
  • Correct: She is studying French and economics at Berkeley.
  • Incorrect: She hopes to earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Music.

No matter who publishes your book, you (most likely) will be in charge of writing all the accompanying marketing materials, as well as all the content for your website. The above examples may seem trivial, but they matter! Keeping your work free of errors will help ensure it looks professional, which is important when presenting yourself to the world as a professional writer.

-Maria

 

This blog post originally appeared on CreateSpace.com. Reprinted with permission. © 2016 CreateSpace, a DBA of On-Demand Publishing, LLC. All rights reserved.

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