Jane Straus - When to Capitalize People's Titles

When to Capitalize People's Titles

Jane Straus is the author of The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation and Enough is Enough! and developer of GrammarBook.com

When should you capitalize someone's title? I get this question quite often so here are some guidelines:

Capitalize a person's title when it follows the name on the address or signature line.

Example: Sincerely,
                Margaret Haines, Chairperson

Margaret Haines, Chairperson
                1234 South Wallace St.
                Portland OR 97232

Capitalize the titles of high-ranking government officials when used with or before their names. Do not capitalize the civil title if it is used instead of the name.

The president will address Congress.
                   All senators are expected to attend.
                   The governors, lieutenant governors, and attorneys general called for a special task force.
                   Governor Connelly, Lieutenant Governor Martinez, and Senators James and Hennessy will attend the meeting.

Rule: Capitalize a title when used as a direct address even when the person is not named.

Will you be holding a press conference, Madame President?
                   Please give us your opinion of this latest development, Senator.
                   We need your response quickly, Mr. President.
                   We need your response quickly, President Obama.



Jane Strauss