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From The Globe and Mail Style Guide


The Globe and Mail Style Guide


 Entries in this section are broken down into these major headings: political terms; royalty; non-political officeholders; organizations and their members; education terms; arts and publishing; courts and judges; dates, holidays and historical periods; geography; numbered labels (Grade 1, Act 2); police and military; religions and clergy; science, nature and medicine; signs, slogans and mottoes; sports; trade names.

Political terms

 Upper-case the names of legislative bodies at all three levels, but upper-case the commonly accepted shortened names only at the federal level (Parliament, the Senate, the House of Commons, the Commons, the Alberta Legislature, the legislature, Moncton City Council, the council). Follow the same practice when using these as adjectives (a Commons committee, a council resolution), but note that the adjective parliamentary is lower-case. Upper-case the proper names of foreign political bodies, but not their English translations (the U.S. House of Representatives, but Poland's parliament, the Sejm). Upper-case such nicknames as the Red Chamber, but lower-case such merely descriptive phrases as the upper chamber, the lower house.

 Upper-case the proper names of other elected or appointed bodies (the Toronto District School Board, the Wheat Board, the Canada Council), but lower-case their generic second references (the board, the council). Likewise, upper-case only the proper names of royal commissions (the Royal Commission on Newspapers; but the Kent commission, a royal commission on the newspaper industry).

 Lower-case government, cabinet and the names of standing committees (the legislature's finance committee, the cabinet's priorities and planning committee). But upper-case the proper names of special committees, formed for a specific length of time and a specific investigation.

 Government departments at the federal and provincial level are upper-case, since they have a legal corporate identity for the purpose of contracts etc. (the Department of Finance, the Finance Department, Finance; but the department). Lower-case the word "departments" when naming more than one (the departments of Health and Finance). We do not upper-case departments of municipalities, counties and regions (Vancouver's health department). We use upper case for translations of department names in non-English-speaking countries (the Russian Foreign Ministry, the French Foreign office). Japan's Ministry of International Trade and Industry is widely known as MITI, which is acceptable in second reference.

 Upper-case political titles both before and after a name, provided there is only one person holding such a title in that jurisdiction. (Finance Minister Susan Black; Colin Green, Saskatchewan's Minister of Parks, Recreation and Culture; the Labour Minister, James Brown.) At the federal and provincial levels, such titles are also upper-case without the name if the title stands for a specific person or the personification of a department. (The Finance Minister was applauded. Payment is made to the Revenue Minister.) But when speaking of the position generically, or in the plural with no names attached, use lower case. (He is looking for a new education minister; a meeting of the 11 attorneys-general.) The same rules apply to the translated political titles of office-holders in non-English-speaking countries. Upper-case plural titles appearing before names (an initiative of Mayors Mary Smith and Albert Jones). Qualified terms such as president-elect and premier-designate are lower-case, even before a name: president-elect Chelsea Clinton.

 At the municipal level, or when there is more than one person with a political title in the same jurisdiction, we use upper case only before the name. (Alderman Ronald Glover, but Ronald Glover, alderman for Ward 5. The mayor said; the alderman said.) Similarly, lower-case "the minister" used without the name and portfolio, since several people hold that generic title. And lower-case "the ministry" when it stands alone.

 Deputy is upper-case only for the official cabinet positions of Deputy Prime Minister and Deputy Premier. Acting is always lower-case, and so is the position title accompanying it (acting prime minister Joe Brown). The position title is also lower-case when preceded by the word former or late (former prime minister Pierre Trudeau). Departmental deputy minister is lower-case, even before names (deputy finance minister Frederick White). Note that the portfolio name is also lower-case here, unless it is the department itself that is being emphasized and the word could be replaced by the full department title (Frederick Gorbet, the deputy minister at Finance).

 Parliamentary titles, such as Liberal Leader, Opposition Leader, Whip and House Leader, follow the same rules, taking upper case as a title before the name, and also as a description standing alone if it is unique in that jurisdiction. (NDP Whip James Green; the whip said, the three House leaders; the Liberal Leader said, but the leader said.) The titles of their deputies are lower-case, as are those of ministers' parliamentary secretaries. Speaker is always upper-case, for clarity, but the word deputy attached to it is not.

 Opposition is upper-case when we are referring to the Official Opposition in a British-type parliamentary democracy, meaning the second-largest party or coalition. But it is lower-case when referring collectively to all the non-government parties.

 Parliamentary papers and procedures are usually upper-case, as in Question Period, Speech from the Throne, Throne Speech. But lower-case white paper when the official title is not used (the minister's white paper on future defence spending). Lower-case the common stages of legislative passage, such as second reading, report stage, committee of the whole, royal assent.

 The full names of bills and laws are upper-case, and so are some commonly accepted shortened names (the Criminal Code, the Charter). In generic references without the name, lower-case the words the bill, the act. The Constitution is always upper-case when referring to that of Canada, the United States and other English-speaking countries in which that is the document's official title. But do not use upper case in translation (China's constitution).

 Political parties and movements, plus their nicknames or shortened names, are upper-case (the Progressive Conservatives, the Conservatives, the Tories, the Peronistas). But use lower case when referring to general philosophies (conservative, liberal, socialist). Capitalize Communist when referring to a party of that name or an official member, but lower-case communism, communistic, and communist philosophy, teaching or leanings.

 Ambassador is upper-case only before a name (U.S. Ambassador Edward Ney; but Edward Ney, the U.S. ambassador; the ambassador said). Always lower-case embassy, even when it appears with the name of the country (the Iranian embassy).

 Crown is upper-case, both as a noun and as an adjective, when referring to the government or the prosecution in court. (The Crown, a Crown corporation, the Crown attorney.) It is lower-case only when referring to the headgear.

 Federal and national are upper-case only when an integral part of a title (National Employment Service; Federal Bureau of Investigation). They are lower-case as adjectives used merely to distinguish from provincial or state (the federal Finance Department).

 Province, State, City, County, Town etc. are upper-case in those rare instances when we must give the official corporate name of a jurisdiction (the Province of Saskatchewan, the City of Hamilton). They are lower-case standing alone, even when referring to the government or corporate entity (he is suing the province), and in their adjectival form even when accompanied by the name (an Edmonton city bylaw, an Alberta provincial inquiry).


 Upper-case Royal Family and Royal Household (and, by extension, the Royals, which we use only in direct quotes), but only in reference to that of Canada and other Commonwealth monarchies. Lower-case royalty, royal tour, royal car etc. Note that the former Royal Yacht Britannia was an official name, but lower-case "the royal yacht" in second reference.

 Upper-case the Queen, the King, the Prince, the Sultan, the Sheik etc. in second reference to a specific person. This applies to all monarchies.

Non-political officeholders

 Titles of officers in companies, clubs and organizations and appointed government bodies are lower-case, even before names (Chrysler president Kurt Weiss; CMA chairman Raymond Braun; chief grain commissioner Milt Schwartz). But upper-case first references to high statutory offices that are unique to a jurisdiction, especially those whose incumbents report to Parliament or a legislature. These include Auditor-General, Privacy Commissioner, Ombudsman, Governor of the Bank of Canada and the like. In second reference, upper-case a full title when referring to a specific person (the Auditor-General said) but not a generic word (the commissioner reported).

Organizations and their members

 Upper-case the names of organizations and their commonly accepted short forms (the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, the Teamsters, the Grand Orange Lodge of Ontario, the Orangemen). Upper-case the shortened form for people if we are denoting official membership (a Teamster, a Scout), but not if we are merely describing a philosophical leaning or an occupation. (One can be a steelworker without being a Steelworker, a member of the union.)

 For military organizations, we use lower case for generic or occupational descriptions as opposed to ranks, even when they echo the service's official name (the Royal Marines, three marines; the Canadian Coast Guard, two coastguardmen). But upper-case adjectival forms standing for the organization (a Marine investigation). See ranks.

Education terms

 Upper-case the full names of schools at all levels and the full names of their internal colleges, but lower-case the names of faculties, including faculties that call themselves schools (such as schools of law, medicine, nursing). But note Osgoode Hall Law School. Upper-case Professor when it appears before a name as an honorific, but not when standing alone or combined with "emeritus." Lower-case other titles and descriptions: president, principal, freshman, class of '94, alma mater. Lower-case degrees (bachelor of arts) but upper-case their abbreviations (BA, BSc, PhD). Upper-case the full names of chairs, fellowships and awards.

Arts and publishing

 In titles of films, TV and radio programs, books, plays, poems, works of art, record albums, tapes, songs and other musical compositions, upper-case the first and last words and all the principal words in between. That is, do not upper-case articles or short conjunctions and prepositions (Zorba the Greek, Breakfast at Tiffany's). Longer conjunctions and prepositions, such as because, around and through, are jarring in lower case, and so should be capped.

 If a title is all caps, we upper-case only the first letters of words. If a title is all lower-case, as in the 5th estate, we conform; however, the first word must be upper-case if the title begins a sentence. For titles of French works, follow the style of that language and upper-case only the first word and proper names.

 Magazine is upper-case only if it is part of the name (Harper's Magazine, but Maclean's magazine). All-cap names are changed to upper and lower, but we allow names that are all lower-case.

 Note that we use italics, in body type only, for titles of plays, films, books, short stories, poems, dance works, musical works (including songs), works of art, records, videos and TV and radio shows. We do not use italics for the names of periodicals, including magazines and newspapers, or for the titles of articles in them. We do not use italics for parts of works of art, such as chapter titles of books or the names of symphony movements, or for the names of exhibitions and festivals.

 Newspaper names are run with the city included, regardless of whether it is an official part of the paper's name; our treatment of the word "the" indicates whether the name we are using is the official one. Upper-case "The" when the official name includes the city (The Hamilton Spectator) but lower-case it when we have inserted the city ourselves (the Montreal Gazette). In second reference, "the" is upper-case only for papers without city names (The Globe, The Gazette, but the Star, the Spectator). Use lower case when the paper's name is used as an adjective (the story in The Globe, but the Globe story).

 When reporting headlines, subheads, captions, the titles of magazine articles, chapter headings and the like, upper-case the first letter of each word, regardless of the style used in the particular publication.

 In Globe bylines, writers' names and the word "BY" are upper-case. In double bylines, the word "and" is lower-case. The prefix Mac or Mc is upper-and-lower if the root name begins with a capital (MacDonald is written BY MARY MacDONALD), but the prefix is all caps if the root name is lower-case (Macdonald is written BY MARY MACDONALD). Other prefixes, such as VAN and DE, are all caps.

Courts and judges

 Upper-case the names of all courts and their commonly accepted shortened names, such as Supreme Court, Superior Court, Divisional Court, Court of Appeal (but appeal court), Provincial Court, Family Court, International Court of Justice, the World Court. But lower-case court names in non-English-speaking countries that we have translated into the English equivalent (China's supreme court).

 Court and bench when standing alone are usually lower-case, but for clarity be prepared to use upper case in direct quotations when the speaker is using the Court or the Bench as personifications, especially in parallel constructions with the Crown.

 Upper-case the Chief Justice in second reference without the name, for both the federal and provincial levels, but lower-case the judge in second reference. Upper-case Your Honour and His Honour (these terms usually arise only in quotes).

 Lower-case jury, foreman, grand jury, coroner's jury, court reporter, bailiff.

Dates, holidays, historical periods

 Upper-case the names of all civic holidays, and all days or periods observed by commonly recognized religions (Canada Day, Palm Sunday, Yom Kippur, Holy Week, Ramadan). For clarity, upper-case the English translations of foreign holidays (Lithuania's Independence Day).

 Upper-case other special days that are not official holidays but have a similar air, such as Halloween, May Day, April Fools' Day, New Year's Eve. But lower-case more mundane days such as election day, nomination day, enumeration day, garbage day.

 Upper-case special names given to days, weeks, months and years for purposes of fund raising, education etc. (Apple Day, Heart Month, the Year of the Child).

 Upper-case days and other periods of time that have been given historical labels (the Night of the Long Knives, D-Day, the Age of Reason, the Renaissance, the Reign of Terror, the Age of Steam, the Stone Age, the Middle Ages). But note that there have been several ice ages, so these are lower-case.

 Upper-case decades when speaking of them as a distinctive period (the Gay Nineties, the decadence of the Twenties, the Hungry Thirties, the Dirty Thirties). But these same decades can be lower-case when used simply as time periods (He worked at several papers in the twenties, thirties and forties). When the century is included, use figures (the 1930s). Lower-case centuries (the ninth century, the 21st century). See AD, numbers.


 North, south, east and west are lower-case when referring to simple directions (the tanks rolled east), and so are northern, southern, eastern and western when not referring to a district that is distinctive for reasons other than simple direction (the storm moved from eastern Alberta into southwestern Saskatchewan). But upper-case these words when they refer to areas that are commonly considered to be set apart by climate, political administration, economics, language or even outlook. These include the West, the East, Western Canada, Central Canada, Eastern Canada, the North, down North, the Far North, the Far East, Southern California, West Texas, the Eastern Townships, the West End (in London), the South Side (in Chicago). For most provinces, upper-case Northern and Southern. For Ontario, upper-case Northern, Southern, Eastern, Northeastern, Northwestern, Southwestern, Central. Local attitudes and usage are our guide. For example, England has the North and the South, but other directional adjectives are lower-case (southeastern England).

 Lower-case the adjectives eastern, western, northern and southern when not attached to a geographical name or a well-defined region (say Western Canadian businessmen, but western businessmen, eastern arrogance, southern cooking, northern hospitality). The exception is the upper-case adjective Western when it means of the Western world or Western alliance.

 Lower-case coast (north coast, east coast etc.) when referring to actual shorelines (the west coast of Cape Breton, oil shipments along the west coast of Canada). But use upper case when referring to geographical areas (people on the West Coast; he got a job on the Coast). This is especially required in local names for coastal regions that do not lie in the direction that the name implies, such as British Columbia's North Coast and South Coast, which are actually the northern and southern sections of the West Coast. In Nova Scotia, the South Shore faces southeast, running from Halifax to Yarmouth.

 Upper-case the names and nicknames of geographical and political regions, such as the Avalon Peninsula, the Mackenzie Delta, the Prairies, the Prairie provinces, the Maritimes, Peace River Country, the Annapolis Valley, Silicon Valley, the Wheat Belt, the Bible Belt, and England's Midlands, Lake District, West Country, Constable Country. But lower-case words such as prairie, delta, valley, peninsula and country when simply referring to physical features or characteristics (the entire Saugeen valley is good pheasant country). When listing the name of more than one geographical feature or street, retain the upper case for the generic noun (Lakes Huron and Erie, Hudson and James Bays, Peel and Sherbrooke Streets).

 Upper-case Greater in the official name of a city-centred region, such as Greater Vancouver Regional District, Greater London, but not in such merely descriptive terms as greater Chatham.

 Upper-case Dominion, both as noun and adjective, when referring to Canada.

Numbered labels

 In general, upper-case labels that include a number, such as Grade 1, No. 2. In documents such as statutes, charters and constitutions, and in books and other published material, upper-case formal numbered headings, such as Part 2; Chapter 3; Act 2, Scene 3; Section 205 (d) (iii); but not labels for divisions that are not headings, such as page 162, paragraph 4, line 2. An exception is made for newspaper pages, which are upper-case by convention (Page 1, Page 7). The word verse is upper-case for such works as the Bible in which verses are formally numbered, but not when referring to verses of poems and songs.

Police and military

 Upper-case the formal names of police and military forces, and those of divisions such as corps, divisions, brigades, regiments, battalions, companies, platoons (D Company, Company A, 52 Division). Also upper-case their nicknames (the Patricias, the Old Contemptibles, the Big Red One). But lower-case names of occupational groups such as a signals squad, a reconnaissance detail, and such police subdepartments as morality squad, traffic section, homicide division. Do not upper-case "police department" without the name of the municipality. Also see ranks.

Religions and clergy

 For all monotheistic religions, upper-case the word God, such proper names as Jehovah and Allah, and such alternative names as Father, Holy Spirit, Almighty, Saviour, Christ, King of Heaven. Also upper-case alternative names for the principal figures in various religions, such as the Enlightened One referring to Buddha, the Holy Prophet in Islam, the Apostle Paul. Upper-case the Twelve Apostles, but lower-case "the apostle" used without a name. Upper-case Virgin, Blessed Virgin, Madonna and other such references to Mary.

 Upper-case He, Him, His and Thou when referring to God, Allah and Christ, but lower-case who and whom.

 For ancient pagan religions and modern religions with more than one deity, lower-case the word god (the god Jupiter, the goddess Sakti), and also lower-case all pronouns.

 Upper-case the names of all modern religions (Christianity, Shintoism, Islam) and all their sects and denominations (Protestant, Anglican, Sunni, Reform). Upper-case shortened forms referring to members (a Witness, a Mormon), but not the terms applied to non-members (gentile) or non-believers (atheist).

 Upper-case the names of the sacred books of all modern religions, the names of their various versions, and the words Holy and Sacred when used to modify them (the Bible, the Holy Koran, the King James Version, the Pentateuch). But lower-case such adjectives as biblical and talmudic, and such generic terms as sacred scrolls.

 Upper-case major events depicted in religious writings or religious history, such as the Exodus, the Crucifixion, the Resurrection, the Hegira, the Diaspora. But lower-case the regular observances of current adherents, such as mass, holy communion, confession, baptism, compline, seder, minyan.

 Lower-case heaven, limbo, purgatory and hell, except when used as an appellation for the Deity, as in "I thank Heaven." But upper-case such proper names for heaven and hell as Paradise, Hades, Asgard, Elysian Fields.

 Upper-case Church in reference to a religion or denomination (The United Church of Canada, the Christian Science Church), but lower-case when standing alone.

 Clerical titles are upper-case when accompanied by the person's name (Father Brown, Brother Michael, Rabbi Small). High offices are also upper-case without the name when given in full and referring to a specific person (the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Pope, the Dalai Lama). But in second or generic references to offices held by many people, say the archbishop, a brother, the rabbi, the mullah. See religious titles.

 Religious holidays are upper-case. See note above on dates, holidays.

Science, nature, medicine

 Latin scientific names have the first letter of only the genus in upper case, even when the name of a subspecies is derived from a proper name, such as that of the Canadian beaver, Castor fiber canadensis. They should be in italics. The levels of classification above genus, such as classes and families, are upper-case, e.g. Mammalia, Rodentia. (We avoid using scientific names in most stories unless the specific species is at issue, but they sometimes appear in direct quotes.)

 In medicine, Latin names have tended to hang on in everyday jargon more than they have in other scientific disciplines. In considering capitalization, there is a distinction between formal Latin classifications, in which the genus is upper-case as usual, and the same names standing alone or with non-Latin adjectives, in which case they are lower-case. We would say Streptococcus anaerobius, but describe it as the war-wound streptococcus (no italics). Say Streptococcus bovis, but call the same bacterium Bargen's streptococcus.

 Diseases and conditions are lower-case (cancer, chickenpox), but adjectives derived from the names of people and places are upper-case (Kaposi's sarcoma, Parkinson's disease, Parkinsonism, Spanish flu).

 Lower-case generic drug names, but upper-case brand names. These are listed in the Compendium of Pharmaceuticals and Specialties, available in the Globe library.

 The generic English names of animals and plants, and common adjectives attached to them, are lower-case (ruby-throated hummingbird, ring-necked gull, rainbow trout, quarter horse, bull terrier, polar bear, morning glory, yellow daisy, winter wheat, durum wheat). But adjectives from the names of countries, regions, cities, races and individuals usually remain upper-case (Labrador retriever, Lab, Pekingese, Great Dane, St. Bernard, German shepherd, Percheron, Holstein, Arctic owl, black-eyed Susan, Queen Anne's lace; but note jack-in-the-pulpit). Developed varieties of fruits, vegetables and grains are always upper-case (Beefsteak tomatoes, Empire apples, Golden Delicious, Red Fife wheat).

 The seasons are lower-case (spring, autumn), and so are the milestone days in the yearly orbit (spring equinox, summer solstice).

 Upper-case Earth when naming the planet (Earth's atmosphere), but not when it means soil. In familiar expressions, decide which meaning applies: down to earth; but it costs the Earth. Upper-case the names and nicknames of planets, stars, groups of stars and other bodies in space (Mars, the Red Planet, the Big Dipper), and also the adjectives derived from them (Martian, Jovian). But lower-case universe, sun and moon and the adjectives pertaining to them (lunar, helio-), since these words are generic. Lower-case other generic terms such as black hole, supernova, nebula, red giant, quasar, pulsar, even when these are accompanied by a name (The Andromeda nebula is the most distant thing visible to the naked eye).

 Upper-case the signs of the zodiac and their commonly accepted English names (the Crab, the Twins). See zodiac.

 Lower-case the names of the imaginary lines dividing Earth, such as equator, meridian, parallel, tropic, unless they have a proper noun attached to them (Tropic of Capricorn, the Arctic Circle). An exception is the International Date Line.

 Upper-case the well-defined regions of Earth, such as the Northern Hemisphere, the Arctic, the North Temperate Zone.

 Upper-case the names of eras, periods and epochs in the Earth's development (Paleozoic, Carboniferous, Pliocene), and also such informal period names as the Age of Mammals, the Stone Age. But note that ice age(s) is lower-case.

Signs, slogans, mottoes

 Picket and protest signs, commercial signs, official notices and the like come in a variety of capitalization styles, but are most often all initial caps. In reporting them, we upper-case only the first word and proper names ("Ban the bomb"; "Locked out by Eaton's").

 The same rule applies to slogans chanted by crowds and to mottoes. (With shouts of "Solidarity forever," the crowd advanced. The corps's motto is "Always faithful.")


 Upper-case official titles of leagues and divisions (the American League, the NHL's Atlantic Division), but lower-case second references and generic uses (the league, both divisions, a grapefruit league, a Class AA league). Lower-case the term major leagues, the majors.

 Upper-case such words as Series, Games and Cup when they stand for specific major events (the World Series, the Series; the Pan-American Games, the Games; the World Cup, the Cup). Also upper-case adjectival uses (Games officials; the most confused Cup game since the notorious Fog Bowl).

 But lower-case such words as cup and trophy in second reference to the actual hardware (He has won the trophy four times).

 Use upper case for baseball's All-Star Game, a proper name, but lower-case all-star in other references.

 Use caps when referring to Game 1, Game 2 of a series.

Trade names

 Always upper-case registered trade names, unless the official spelling starts with a lower-case letter: eBay, iMac. In such cases, the first letter is upper-case if it begins a sentence. For the trade names of drugs, the Globe library has the standard index for the industry, the Compendium of Pharmaceuticals and Specialties, known as the CPS. For all other trade names protected in Canada, consult the Canadian Trade Index.

 The use of upper case implies that the exact brand is involved (Aspirin, Xerox, Fiberglas, Coke, Kleenex). For the sake of safety and accuracy, prefer generic terms (ASA, fibreglass, pain pill, copier, cola, tissue) unless the brand name is at issue in the story. Some exceptions are made for features. See trademark, but trade name.

 Upper-case common nicknames for brand names (Caddy, Jag).

 If a trade name is all caps, we upper-case only the first letter of each word. But also use upper case after hyphens (Band-Aid; Jell-O).

 Some names have entered the public domain for informal generic references, such as photostat, laundromat and nylon. Some product names have undergone this process in the United States but are still protected brand names in Canada, so it is best to check.

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