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Earthling
02-26-2019, 01:17 PM
I've read three trade published books in the past month that don't capitalise Earth when I would've thought it should be capitalised. I've given away two so I can only provide an example from the third, which is Gravity by Tess Gerritsen:


Data was recorded within the various lab racks, using video or automatic sampling devices, and the results downlinked directly to researchers on earth.

The novel is set in space so it is definitely referring to Earth the planet, not earth as in soil. I've always seen Earth as the planet's name and capitalised it like I would capitalise Dave or Anne.

If I'd seen this in one book I'd probably shrug and put it down to an oversight, but having seen it in multiple books in a short period it seems to be deliberate.

I can't find where (or if) planet names are covered in the Chicago Manual of Style. Can anyone explain what I'm missing?

ironmikezero
02-26-2019, 10:38 PM
CMOS; 16th Ed., page 443, Sec.8.139

Usually lower case (often preceded by the, or in common idioms); otherwise, as a proper name it is capitalized.

LSamDee
02-26-2019, 11:06 PM
Yes, the only proper lower case version is the reference of earth as soil. The planet should be capitalized, but maybe all these fast trends are doing away with it? I personally still capitalize it and always will unless instructed otherwise.

starsknight
02-27-2019, 05:52 AM
CMOS; 16th Ed., page 443, Sec.8.139

Usually lower case (often preceded by the, or in common idioms); otherwise, as a proper name it is capitalized.

And in the 17th edition, not much has changed. It's 8.140 there, but same rules.

My guess would be it's an oversight rather than a changing trend based on how often I still see Earth capitalized. But I could be wrong; time will tell.

Earthling
02-27-2019, 12:32 PM
Thanks all. Still a little puzzled but reassured that I'm not missing something obvious!

MaeZe
02-27-2019, 12:45 PM
I am skeptical. The planet Earth is a proper name. The earth squishing between my toes is common dirt.

I believe someone is misapplying the CMOS.

dpaterso
02-27-2019, 12:55 PM
I've read three trade published books in the past month that don't capitalise Earth
You've read three poorly edited books, sounds like! Write to the publishers! Get people fired!

-Derek

Earthling
02-27-2019, 01:02 PM
You've read three poorly edited books, sounds like! Write to the publishers! Get people fired!

-Derek

I'm on it.

Dear Sirs

Don't you know who I am? ...

Chase
02-28-2019, 10:46 PM
An alternate opinion is this third rock from Sol, "the sun," is named Terra. Most peoples refer to the planet they stand on as "the earth," lower case exactly like "the moon" is named Luna.

If we lived on Mars, it would be our "the earth," but we'd have "the big moon" and "the little moon." :greenie