UniWiki:Manual of Style/Capital letters

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This page is a part of the UniWiki's Manual of Style. It is a general guideline intended to harmonize article style across the UniWiki, though it is best treated with common sense, and exceptions may apply. Any substantive edit to this page should reflect consensus among Wiki Curators, or be approved by the Wiki Manager, Director of Communications, or CEO. When in doubt, discuss first on the talk page.


The UniWiki avoids unnecessary capitalization. However, EVE (and by extension, the UniWiki) is unique in that most ships, modules, and other items in the game are referred to in the title case; that is, each word is capitalized. The UniWiki relies on in-game information to determine what is a proper name; words and phrases that are consistently capitalized in-game are treated as proper names and capitalized on the UniWiki.

There are exceptions for specific cases discussed below.

Do not use for emphasis

See also: UniWiki:Manual of Style/Text formatting

Initial capitals or all capitals should not be used for emphasis. If wording alone cannot provide the required emphasis, italics, or, preferably, the <em></em> HTML tags, should be used:

Not recommended: It is not only a LITTLE learning that is dangerous.
Not recommended: It is not only a Little learning that is dangerous.
Not recommended: It is not only a little learning that is dangerous.
Recommended: It is not only a little learning that is dangerous.

Headings, headers, and captions

Main article: UniWiki:Manual of Style#Section headings

Use sentence case, not title case, capitalization in most section headings. Capitalize the first letter of the first word, but leave the rest lower case except for proper names and other items that would ordinarily be capitalized in running text.

Not recommended: Economic and Demographic Shifts After World War II
Recommended: Economic and demographic shifts after World War II

The same applies to the titles of articles, table headers and captions, the headers of infoboxes and navigation templates, and image captions and alt text. (For list items, see next section.)

It is easier for articles to be merged or split if headings resemble titles.

Initial letters in sentences and list items

The initial letter in a sentence is capitalized. This does not apply if it begins with a letter which is always left uncapitalized (as in "eBay"; see § Items that require initial lower case below), although it is usually preferable to recast the sentence.

When a sentence contains non-final punctuation such as a dash or semicolon, there is no reason to capitalize the following letter, even if it begins a grammatically separate sentence: Cheese is a dairy product; bacon is not. The same usually applies after colons, although sometimes the word following a colon is capitalized, if that word effectively begins a new grammatical sentence, and especially if the colon serves to introduce more than one sentence.

In a list, if each item of the list is a complete sentence, then it should be capitalized like any other sentence. If the list items are sentence fragments, then capitalization should be consistent – sentence case should be applied to either all or none of the items. See UniWiki:Manual of Style § Bulleted and numbered lists.

After hyphenation

In article text, do not use a capital letter after a hyphen except for a proper name: Graeco-Roman and Mediterranean-style, but not Ghandi-Like. Letters used as designations are treated as names for this purpose: a size-A drill bit. (For cases involving titles, see § Titles of people, and § Composition titles.)

Proper names

Proper names of specific places, persons, terms, etc. are capitalized in accordance with standard usage: Winston Churchill, John de Balliol, Wales, Tel Aviv, Three Great Gardens of Japan, etc.

Most adjectives derived from proper names should be capitalized, e.g. the English people, the Kantian imperative, with occasional established exceptions such as teddy bear.

Some terms contain personal names used in a way that does not refer to any specific individual; these are not proper names, and are lower-cased: jack in the pulpit, round-robin.

Capitalization of "The"

Do not ordinarily capitalize the definite article after the first word of a sentence; however some idiomatic expressions, including the titles of artistic works, should be quoted exactly according to common usage. Use the same capitalization as the title of the article.

Incorrect (generic): an article about The United Kingdom (a redirect)
Correct (generic): an article about the United Kingdom
Incorrect (title): J. R. R. Tolkien wrote the Lord of the Rings. (a redirect)
Correct (title): J. R. R. Tolkien wrote The Lord of the Rings.
Incorrect (title): Homer wrote The Odyssey. (a redirect)
Correct (title): Homer wrote the Odyssey.
Incorrect (exception): public transport in the Hague (a redirect)
Correct (exception): public transport in The Hague
Correct (exception 2): competed in The Open Championship (a specific golf tournament conventionally styled this way)
Incorrect (exception 2): competed in The British Open (a redirect from a description not a name)

Titles of people

Offices, titles, and positions such as president, king, emperor, pope, bishop, abbot, and executive director are common nouns and therefore should be in lower case when used generically: Mitterrand was the French president or There were many presidents at the meeting. They are capitalized only in the following cases:

  • When followed by a person's name to form a title, i.e., when they can be considered to have become part of the name: President Nixon, not president Nixon
  • When a title is used to refer to a specific and obvious person as a substitute for their name, e.g., the Queen, not the queen, referring to Elizabeth II
  • When the correct formal title is treated as a proper name (e.g., King of France; it is correct to write Louis XVI was King of France but Louis XVI was the French king)

When an unhyphenated compound title such as vice president or chief executive officer is capitalized (unless this is simply because it begins a sentence), each word begins with a capital letter: On October 10, 1973, Vice President Agnew resigned and Gerald Ford was appointed to replace him. This does not apply to unimportant words such as the "of" in White House Chief of Staff John Doe. When hyphenated, as Vice-president is in some contexts other than U.S. politics, the second (and any subsequent) elements are not capitalized.

Honorifics and styles of nobility should normally be capitalized, e.g., Her Majesty, His Holiness.

Calendar items

See also: UniWiki:Manual of Style/Dates and numbers#Seasons

Capitalize the names of months, days, and holidays: June, Monday, Fourth of July, Michaelmas, the Ides of March. Seasons are uncapitalized (a hot summer) except when personified: Soon Spring will show her colors; Old Man Winter.

Science and mathematics

In the names of scientific and mathematical concepts, only proper names (or words derived from them) should be capitalized: Hermitian matrix or Lorentz transformation. However, some established exceptions exist, such as abelian group and Big Bang theory.

Celestial bodies

The words sun, earth, moon and solar system are capitalized (as proper names) when used in an astronomical context to refer to a specific celestial body (The Sun is the star at the center of the Solar System; the Moon orbits Earth). They are not capitalized when used outside an astronomical context (The sky was clear and the sun felt warm), or when used in a general sense (Io is a moon of Jupiter). However, they are capitalized in personifications, as in Sol Invictus ("Unconquered Sun") was the Roman sun god.

Names of planets, moons, asteroids, comets, stars, constellations, and galaxies are proper names and begin with a capital letter (The planet Mars can be seen tonight in the constellation Gemini, near the star Pollux). The first letter of every word in such a name is capitalized (Alpha Centauri and not Alpha centauri; Milky Way, not Milky way). In the case of compounds with generic terms such as comet and galaxy (but not star or planet), include the generic as part of the name and capitalize it (Halley's Comet is the most famous of the periodic comets; astronomers describe the Andromeda Galaxy as a spiral galaxy).

Compass points

Points of the compass (north, north-east, southeast, etc.), and their derived forms (northern etc.) are not generally capitalized: nine miles south of Oxford, a northern road. They are capitalized only when they form part of a proper name, such as Great North Road.

Doubts frequently arise when referring to regions, such as eastern Spain and Southern California. If these have attained the status of proper names (as with North Korea, Southern California or Western Europe), then the direction word is capitalized. Otherwise it is not, as with eastern Spain or southwest Poland. If you are not sure whether a region has attained proper-name status, assume it has not.

Follow the same convention for related forms: a person from the Southern United States is a Southerner.

(Notice that compound compass points are usually joined in American English, for example northwest, while in British English they are sometimes written as separate words or hyphenated, as in north-west. This also affects names of regions such as Southeastern United States and South East England.)

Institutions

  • Full names of institutions, organizations, companies, etc. (United States Department of State) are proper names and require capitals. Also treat as a proper name a shorter but still specific form, consistently capitalized in reliable generalist sources (e.g., US State Department or the State Department, depending on context).
    • Avoid ambiguous use of terms like "city"/"City" and "state"/"State" to indicate a governing body. Write clearly to indicate "the city council", the "state legislature", or "the state government".
    • The word the at the start of a title is uncapitalized, regardless of the institution's own usage (researchers at the Ohio State University not researchers at The Ohio State University).
    • If you are not sure whether the English translation of a foreign name is exact or not, assume it is rough and use lower case (e.g., the French parliament).
  • Generic words for institutions, organizations, companies, etc., and rough descriptions of them (university, college, hospital, high school) do not take capitals:
Incorrect (generic): The University offers programs in arts and sciences.
Correct (generic): The university offers programs in arts and sciences.
Correct (title): The University of Delhi offers programs in arts and sciences.
  • Political or geographical units such as cities, towns, and countries follow the same rules: As proper names they require capitals; but as generic words and rough descriptions (sometimes best omitted for simplicity) they do not.
Incorrect (generic): The City has a population of 55,000.
Correct (generic): The city has a population of 55,000.
Correct (title): The City of Smithville has a population of 55,000.
Correct ("city" omitted): Smithville has a population of 55,000.
Exception ("City" used as proper name for the City of London): In the medieval period, the City was the full extent of London.

Military terms

The general rule is that wherever a military term is an accepted proper name, as indicated by consistent capitalization in sources, it should be capitalized. Where there is uncertainty as to whether a term is generally accepted, consensus should be reached on the talk page.

  • Military ranks follow the same capitalization guidelines as given under titles of people above. For example, Brigadier General John Smith, but John Smith was a brigadier general.
  • Formal names of military units, including armies, navies, air forces, fleets, regiments, battalions, companies, corps, and so forth, are proper names and should be capitalized. However, the words for types of military unit (army, navy, fleet, company, etc.) do not require capitalization if they do not appear in a proper name. Thus, the American army, but the United States Army. Unofficial but well-known names should also be capitalized (the Green Berets, the Guard).
    Correct: the Fifth Company; the Young Guard; the company rallied.
    Incorrect: The Company took heavy losses. The 3rd battalion retreated.
  • Accepted full names of wars, battles, revolts, revolutions, rebellions, mutinies, skirmishes, risings, campaigns, fronts, raids, actions, operations and so forth are capitalized (Spanish Civil War, Battle of Leipzig, Boxer Rebellion, Action of July 8, 1716, Western Front, Operation Sea Lion). The generic terms (war, revolution, battle) take the lowercase form when standing alone (France went to war; The battle began; The raid succeeded). As a rule of thumb, if a battle, war, etc. has its own Wikipedia article with capitalized name, the name should be capitalized in articles linked to it as it is in the article name.
  • Proper names of specific military awards and decorations are capitalized (Medal of Honor, Victoria Cross).

Acronyms

See also: UniWiki:Manual of Style/Abbreviations#Acronyms

On the UniWiki, most acronyms are written in all capital letters (such as NATO, BBC, and JPEG). The UniWiki does not follow the practice of distinguishing between acronyms and initialisms. Do not write acronyms that are pronounced as if they were a word with an initial capital letter only, e.g. do not write UNESCO as Unesco, or NASA as Nasa.

  • Some acronyms (mostly trademarks like Yahoo! and Taser) conventionally or officially use a mixture of capitals and lower-case letters, even non-letters; for any given example, use the spelling that is most commonly used (e.g., LaTeX, M&Ms, 3M, and InBev). Do not mimic trademark stylization otherwise.
  • Non-trademarked acronyms that have become assimilated into English as everyday words may be written as common nouns when it is conventional to do so (e.g. scuba and laser, but ZIP code and bank PIN).

Use only commonly-used acronyms; do not make up new ones (for example, the World Pool-Billiard Association is the WPA, and it is not referred to as the "WPBA").

"Also known as", when abbreviated on second or later occurrences, or in a table, should be given as a.k.a. or AKA (whichever reads easier in the context). Do not use aka, A/K/A, or other unusual renderings.

Expanded forms of abbreviations

Do not apply initial capitals in a full term that is a common noun just because capitals are used in its abbreviation.

Incorrect  (not a proper name):    We used Digital Scanning (DS) technology
Correct:   We used digital scanning (DS) technology
Correct: (proper name): produced by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)

Similarly, when showing the source of an acronym or syllabic abbreviation, emphasizing the letters that make up the acronym is undesirable:

Incorrect: FOREX (FOReign EXchange)
Incorrect: FOREX (foreign exchange)
Correct: FOREX (foreign exchange)

If it is necessary to do so, for example, to indicate the etymology, use italics: FOREX (from "foreign exchange").

All caps

Avoid writing with all capitals, including small caps, when they have only a stylistic function. Reduce them to one of the other title cases or normal case, as appropriate.

  • Reduce newspaper headlines and other titles from all caps to sentence case or title case. For example, replace the headline "WAR BEGINS TODAY" with "War begins today" or "War Begins Today".
  • Reduce track titles on albums where all or most tracks are listed in all capitals. For which words should be capitalized, see Composition titles, below.
  • Reduce proclamations, such as those for the Medal of Honor, from all capitals.
  • Reduce text written in all capitals in trademarks.
  • Reduce Latin quotations and terms from all capitals.[1] See also UniWiki:Manual of Style/Text formatting § Foreign terms.
  • Do not write with all capitals for emphasis; italics are preferred (see Do not use for emphasis above).

Certain words may be written with all capitals or small capitals. Examples include:

  • Acronyms and initialisms (See above)
  • Certain citation styles (e.g. that of the Linguistic Society of America or Bluebook) require that certain parts of the citation, such as author names in alphabetical reference sections be written in small caps. If an editor has chosen this style, it should be respected per Wikipedia:Citing sources.

Items that require initial lower case

In contexts where the case of symbols is significant, like those related to programming languages, mathematical notation (for example, the mathematical constant e is not equivalent to E), or the names of units of physical quantities or their symbols, the correct case should always be retained, even in situations where normal rules would require capitalization, such as at the beginning of a sentence. Try to avoid putting such lowercase symbols at the start of a sentence within running text.

Some individuals do not want their personal names capitalized. In such cases, Wikipedia articles may use lower case variants of personal names if they have regular and established use (for example, k.d. lang). When such a name is the first word in a sentence, the rule for initial letters in sentences and list items should take precedence, and the first letter of the personal name should be capitalized regardless of personal preference.

Composition titles

For title case, the words that are not capitalized (unless they are the first or last word of the title) are:

  • Articles (a, an, the)
  • Short coordinating conjunctions (and, but, or, nor; also for, yet, so when used as conjunctions)
  • Prepositions containing four letters or fewer (as, in, of, on, to, for, from, like, over, with, etc.) but see below for instances where these words are not used as prepositions
  • The word to in infinitives.

The following words should be capitalized in English-language titles:

  • The first and last word of the title
  • Every adjective, adverb, noun, pronoun and subordinating conjunction (Me, It, His, If, etc.)
  • Every verb, including forms of to be (Be, Am, Is, Are, Was, Were, Been)
  • Prepositions that contain five letters or more (During, Through, About, Until, Below, etc.)
  • Words that have the same form as prepositions, but are not being used specifically as prepositions

In hyphenated terms, capitalize each part according to the applicable rule (e.g. The Out-of-Towners), unless reliable sources consistently do otherwise for the work in question (e.g. The History of Middle-earth). For titles with subtitles or parenthetical phrases, capitalize as if they were separate titles (e.g. "(Don't Fear) The Reaper").

If a work is known by its first line of text and lacks a separate title, then the first line, rendered in sentence case, should be used as its title.

Incorrect:   Remember Not, Lord, Our Offences
Correct:   Remember not, Lord, our offences

Notes

  1. ^ The alphabet in which Latin was originally written had no lower case.