Capitalization - current trends? (And: cross-references)

Subject: Capitalization - current trends? (And: cross-references)
From: "Hart, Geoff" <Geoff-H -at- MTL -dot- FERIC -dot- CA>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 5 Mar 2001 09:13:04 -0500

Stephen Anders questioned something in his style guide: <<"Never use
capitals on any work except at the beginning of sentences and headings,
unless it is a proper noun." Thus I cannot use the usual 'Title Case' for
books, chapters, figures and
tables. One problem with this is that cross references get much harder to
see. Is this common style now? Is it workable/acceptable?>>

"Title case" has always been a misleading name, since it's actually a common
style preference, but not a universal rule. In fact, the style
recommendation your user guide cites is a more "correct" rule, since it
follows the actual rules of grammar concerning capitalization (i.e.,
capitalization serves a role, namely to introduce the start of a sentence or
identify a proper noun). I much prefer this approach, particularly since it
avoids all kinds of nitpicky nonsense about how many letters a preposition
must have before you capitalize it. But neither approach is wrong.

The techwhirler tie-in for this question is whether it can really make
cross-refs harder to spot. Speaking whilst wearing my editorial hat, I don't
consider that a problem, since the surrounding wording ("for more
information see..." or "see also", for instance) must make it clear that
something is a cross-reference. Similarly, if you're referring to section
titles, you can enclose them in quotation marks to make sure the words act
as a unit; quotation marks are just as easy for readers to see as "title
case". So again, it comes down to a question of style preference, not

--Geoff Hart, FERIC, Pointe-Claire, Quebec
geoff-h -at- mtl -dot- feric -dot- ca
"User's advocate" online monthly at

"Do I contradict myself?/ Very well, then I contradict myself,/ I am large,
I contain multitudes." -- Walt Whitman


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