Re: Editor's problems

Subject: Re: Editor's problems
From: Barb Philbrick <burkbrick -at- AOL -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 21 Jan 1997 22:32:36 GMT

In article <9700208538 -dot- AA853801743 -at- corsair -dot- mantech-wva -dot- com>,
marners -at- corsair -dot- mantech-wva -dot- com writes:

> 1. When to capitalize "government?"
At the beginning of sentences. <g> Offhand, I can't think of any other
instance in which I'd cap it. The AP Stylebook uses the example "the U.S.
government" (note lack of cap) under the entry "government." AP doesn't
have the specific example of federal government, but they only cap
"federal" if it's part of a department title (Federal Deposit Insurance
Corp., Federal Reserve Board). They specify that "federal court" is always

> 2. When two words are hyphenated together (we do life-cycle a lot
> even though it's not correct) and the words are part of a
> title, would you cap both or just the first

Chicago Manual of Style (14th edition, section 7.128) states that "First
elements are always capitalized; subsequent elements are capitalized
unless they are articles, prepositions, coordinating conjunctions, . . . ;
second elements attached by hyphens to prefixes are not capitalized unless
they are proper nouns or proper adjectives."

That's a mouthful! Hopefully the examples will help. They gave the
examples "Twentieth-Century Literature," "Run-of-the-Mill Responses,"
Strategies for Re-establishment."

> I've had writers use "database" as part of the expanded acronym.
They'll use
> both the "D" and the "B" and write it "DataBase."

I can't find a reference to this in Chicago or AP, but I'll give you an
opinion (free!). I find this practice to be condescending. If the phrase
is followed by the acronym, I can figure it out. I don't need caps (unless
they make sense, such as a product name) or, worse yet, bolding,
underlining, and italicizing the first letters (hopefully you laugh, but
I've seen it done).

> I have the same
> question with words that are slashed together (Design/develop).
> it make sense to cap one and not the other?

Again, couldn't find a specific reference, but yet another free! opinion.
I'd use the same rules listed above for hyphens. As a broader issue, I
would avoid the slash (a.k.a. virgule or solidus). One style manual
(unfortunately, I don't remember which one) lists 24 contradictory,
accepted meanings for the virgule. Say what you mean, which is typically
and, or, per, or divide. (Some of the other uses are to indicate alternate
spellings, breaks in lines of poetry, fractions, and abbreviations (for
example, C/kg)).

Hope this helps,

Barb Philbrick

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