TechWhirl (TECHWR-L) is a resource for technical writing and technical communications professionals of all experience levels and in all industries to share their experiences and acquire information.
For two decades, technical communicators have turned to TechWhirl to ask and answer questions about the always-changing world of technical communications, such as tools, skills, career paths, methodologies, and emerging industries. The TechWhirl Archives and magazine, created for, by and about technical writers, offer a wealth of knowledge to everyone with an interest in any aspect of technical communications.
Subject:Re: Fig. or Figs.? From:Beverly Parks <bparks -at- HUACHUCA-EMH1 -dot- ARMY -dot- MIL> Date:Fri, 27 Oct 1995 13:12:54 MST
This may be getting away slightly from the original question,
but it's still on the same topic...
The words figure, table, chapter, and their plurals should not
be capitalized in running text. It is correct to capitalize
those words if they appear as the first word in the
caption under the particular figure or table, or if the word
"chapter" is used at the beginning of a chapter
(i.e., Chapter 1. Introduction). See figure 2-1; refer to
table 3; this is covered in more detail in chapter 4--all these
usages should be lowercase.
They are only labels, not titles. The only reason they are
capitalized in captions is because they are the first word.
"Technical Editing" by Judith A. Tarutz
"The New York Public Library Writers Guide to Style and Usage"
"The U.S. Government Printing Office Style Manual"
(Those are the only references I have on hand at the moment.)
Another example just came to me: Most of us have seen books
whose page numbers are preceded by the word "Page" (big yuck).
Would anyone capitalize "page" in the text when refering the
reader to a particular page? "See Mr. Smith's remarks on Page 3."
Bigger YUCK. Page is just a label...like figure, chapter, and
(Hey, that last sentence rhymes!)
=*= Beverly Parks -- bparks -at- huachuca-emh1 -dot- army -dot- mil =*=
=*= Huachuca : That's pronounced "wah-CHEW-ka" =*=
=*= "Unless otherwise stated, all comments are my own. =*=
=*= I am not representing my employer in any way." =*=