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edfrzr
09-02-2006, 08:45 AM
Hey guys. When using a term such as: detective, agent, officer, etc., When, exactly, should it be capitalized?

For example(s):

"Hello, (D)detective Smith."

On the way to the station (D)detectives Smith and Brown dicussed the case at length.

I'd like you to meet John Smith; he is a (D)detective.


Thanks for the input.

maestrowork
09-02-2006, 09:09 AM
I don't think "detective" is capitalized at all. It's not really a title, unlike President of the US or Secretary of State. Same with FBI agent, police officer, etc.

Jamesaritchie
09-02-2006, 03:29 PM
I don't think "detective" is capitalized at all. It's not really a title, unlike President of the US or Secretary of State. Same with FBI agent, police officer, etc.

Detective is a rank, and as such should be capitalized when referring to a specific detective, just as lieutenant, captain, etc., are capitalized when referring to a specific individual. John smith is a lieutenant, but it should be "This is Lieutenant John Smith."

Likewise, it should be "This is Detective Smith," if he holds the rank of detective."

It's the same with the FBI. Most FBI field employees are special agents, but when referring to a specific individual, you capitatlize, as in this example from a recent news story: "He wanted to see for himself if Joe (Smith) was lying or telling the truth," said Special Agent David Street. "He said he did not find her."

Jamesaritchie
09-02-2006, 03:43 PM
Hey guys. When using a term such as: detective, agent, officer, etc., When, exactly, should it be capitalized?

For example(s):

"Hello, (D)detective Smith."

On the way to the station (D)detectives Smith and Brown dicussed the case at length.

I'd like you to meet John Smith; he is a (D)detective.


Thanks for the input.

It's "Hello, Detective Smith."

On the way to the station Detectives Smith and Brown dicussed the case at length.

I'd like you to meet John Smith; he is a detective.

When you use rank in reference to a specific individual, it's always capitalized. Detective Smith, Lieutenant Jones, etc.

When you use rank as a generic, it's never capitalized. "We have seven detectives on the force."

Puma
09-02-2006, 05:23 PM
Good response, James.

Now, if you would, would you confirm (or not) my contention on the share your work boards that Mother, Father, Mama, Papa, need to be capitalized if they are the individual's own parent (My Mama told me; I asked my Father), but that a general reference to parents doesn't need to be capitalized (the meeting is for the mothers, it was her father). I've been seeing a lot of uncapitalized specific parents in posted pieces. Thanks for your response. Puma

Jamesaritchie
09-02-2006, 06:05 PM
Good response, James.

Now, if you would, would you confirm (or not) my contention on the share your work boards that Mother, Father, Mama, Papa, need to be capitalized if they are the individual's own parent (My Mama told me; I asked my Father), but that a general reference to parents doesn't need to be capitalized (the meeting is for the mothers, it was her father). I've been seeing a lot of uncapitalized specific parents in posted pieces. Thanks for your response. Puma

I'm afraid it's a rule that isn't followed very often these days, but the actual rule is : Capitalize Mother, Dad, and other titles if you can insert the person's name, and titles like Grandma and Major when they appear with a formal name.

Heather Lewis
09-02-2006, 06:07 PM
Good response, James.

Now, if you would, would you confirm (or not) my contention on the share your work boards that Mother, Father, Mama, Papa, need to be capitalized if they are the individual's own parent (My Mama told me; I asked my Father), but that a general reference to parents doesn't need to be capitalized (the meeting is for the mothers, it was her father). I've been seeing a lot of uncapitalized specific parents in posted pieces. Thanks for your response. Puma

I believe those words only need to be capitalized if you are using them in the place of their given name, as in:

"Don't touch that painting," Grandma said.
"Grandma, why can't I touch that painting?" asked George.

But not capitalized if you write it like this:

"Don't touch that painting," said George's grandma.
"My grandma said I can't touch that painting," George said.

Okay, and a quick Google search turns up this response: http://www.metrodirect.net/writershome/questions/qa-grammar.htm and I'm sure you could find more.

MR

Heather Lewis
09-02-2006, 06:08 PM
Ooops, sorry Jamesaritchie -- posted at the same time! I think we said the same thing. :-)

MR


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Jamesaritchie
09-02-2006, 06:21 PM
Ooops, sorry Jamesaritchie -- posted at the same time! I think we said the same thing. :-)

MR


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Yes, I think we did. Very good explanation on that link.

Puma
09-03-2006, 03:36 AM
Thanks for your response, James, and the explanation that the proper title capitalization isn't followed so much anymore. I had pretty much suspected that. Puma

edfrzr
09-05-2006, 05:59 AM
Thanks all,

James, that was exactly what I thought. But sometimes you get a brain fart. I guess I jus thad to see it in writing again.

Also, thanks for the link I_Shrugged.