RE: capitalization question

Subject: RE: capitalization question
From: "Michael West" <mwest -at- oz -dot- quest -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Sat, 2 Sep 2000 16:48:34 +1100

Carla Gray asks:

> I'm trying to put the finishing touches on our company style guide and
> having a couple of issues with capitalization.


Did someone ask for opinions? Good. I'm waiting
for my help file to compile.

> 1. Capitalization of pieces of functionality

I see no need for capitalizing a term like "the
registration process," and in fact I see reasons
for NOT doing it. It is quite a different thing from
referring to a specific object, such as "the Register
command." If you start capitalizing "pieces of
functionality", where do you stop? You will confuse
the readers, because "the Registration process"
doesn't correspond to any object anything that they
can see or act upon. Save the capitals for when
they serve a purpose.

Likewise for "Add-to-Cart functionality." No caps.
This is, once again, different from "the Add to
Cart command", which should be capitalized.

In some technical publications, the authors will
declare a special convention for capitalization.
This is of course perfectly acceptable practice.
For example, the authors may decide that every
object "type" will be capitalized. As long as it is
explained and followed consistently, no confusion
will result. I don't think this would apply in your
case, however. Still, you might want to consider
making allowances for internal technical
documents as distinct from those intended for
publication and distribution outside.


> 2. Capitalization of position titles

I'd advise you to follow MLA and Chicago. Titles are
capitalized; descriptive words are not. Are you
referring to the title or to the person? If the later,
then don't capitalize. I am a senior technical writer,
not a Senior Technical Writer -- even though my
position title is "Senior Technical Writer."
My title and what I am are two different things.








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