Hi! I’m Kathy Ide. In addition to being a published author, I’m a full-time professional freelance editor. For CAN, I’m blogging about tips for writers based on the manuscripts I edit.

Capitalization Rules for Writers – Part 2

Professional Titles

Civil, military, religious, academic, government, and professional titles are capitalized when they immediately precede a personal name and are thus part of the name. Titles are lowercased when following a name or used in place of a name. Examples:

President Washington; the president General Patton; the general

Cardinal Richelieu; the cardinal Professor Jones; the professor

Governor Johnson; the governor John Kerry, senator from Massachusetts


In promotional or ceremonial contexts (such as a list of donors or corporate officers), titles are capitalized even when following a name. Example:

Cristina Lopez, Manager of International Sales


A title used in place of a personal name is capitalized in such contexts as a toast or formal introduction, or when used in direct address. Examples:

Ladies and Gentlemen, the Prime Minister.

But Captain, that man’s a stowaway.

Hello, Mr. President.

What’s the prognosis, Doctor?


Terms of Respect

Honorific titles should be capitalized. But general terms of respect are not. Examples:

His/Her/Your Majesty

His/Her/Your Excellency

His/Her/Your Honor

my lord, my lady

sir, ma’am

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