Re: To capitalize or not?

Subject: Re: To capitalize or not?
From: "William Sherman" <bsherman77 -at- embarqmail -dot- com>
To: "Jim" <jameswitkin -at- gmail -dot- com>, "techwr-l" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 9 Jun 2016 20:30:33 -0400

Without knowing the product, I'd have to guess that there are several ports and this one is labeled "external port" in some form which is why they say it has a name. It does, but in my experience, it is most likely labeled "EXTERNAL PORT" or "EXTERNAL" rather than "External Port".

Depending on your style guides and how the rest is laid out, you could then either refer to it in any of these ways:

1. ... connect to the external port on the ...

2. ... connect to EXTERNAL port on the ...

3. ... connect to External Port on the ...

If you capitalize it, do not use "the" in front of it, as the proper noun will not have an article in front of it.

Maintain this consistency throughout for all ports, connectors, and controls. Even if wrong, consistency will make it look right.

Then ask them why they called it External Port, as it is still internal to the device. It should be named for its function: Output, Input, Source, Incoming, Outgoing, RS-232, External Controller, External Power, External Keyboard, etc.

----- Original Message ----- From: "Jim" <jameswitkin -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: "techwr-l" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Sent: Wednesday, June 08, 2016 3:06 PM
Subject: To capitalize or not?

I'm having this ongoing debate with my engineer coworkers: when to
capitalize the names of the parts that make up our hardware platform. I'm
describing a server we manufacture for telecom networks. On the back of the
server are various ports and plugs. I am providing instructions for
connecting a specific cable to a specific port, which we call the "external

Question: should reference to this specific port be capitalized (External
Port) or not (external port). My engineer coworkers say yes because we are
referring to a specific port so this is a type of proper noun. All the
other ports on the server have specific names so these should also be
capitalized. I'm not sure this does qualify as a proper noun. Thoughts?

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