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Using Capital Letters #6, by Dennis Oliver

Using Capital Letters (#6)


Capital (or upper-case) letters are important in English,
and there are many situations when you should use
them. To add to the situations presented previously,
here's another common use for capital letters: the
first letter of titles.


Personal Titles

Capitalize the first letters of personal titles.
Use them with
surnames (family names) or
complete names, but not
given names.


Mr. Tso / Mr. Jonathan Tso

Ms. Tso / Ms. Cecilia Tso

Mrs. Tso / Mrs. Grace Tso / Mrs. Jonathan Tso

Miss Tso / Miss May Tso



"Mr." is for both married and single men
and "Ms." is for both married and single
women. "Mrs." is for married women, while
"Miss" is for single women. If you are unsure
whether or not a woman is married, use Ms.

The title "Mrs." may be used with either the
wife's or husband's given name:
Mrs. Grace Tso / Mrs. Jonathan Tso

The personal title "Master" is sometimes
used for young boys--but only in very
formal situations.


Religious Titles

Capitalize the first letters of religious titles
in both full and abbreviated forms.


Reverend O'Brien / Rev. O'Brien
Father O'Brien / Fr. O'Brien
Brother Mark / Br. Mark
Sister Mary / Sr. Mary
Deacon Patrick / Dn. Patrick
Bishop O'Brien / Bp. O'Brien
Archbishop Montgomery / Abp. Montgomery

Rabbi Gold

Imam Dehbozorgi



These titles may be used with surnames
only and also with complete names:

Reverend Thomas O'Brien

Deacon Patrick Sutko

Rabbi Zvi Gold

Imam Ruhollah Dehbozorgi

In some Christian groups (for example, the
Orthodox), it is more common to use religious
titles without surnames for archbishops,
bishops, monks, nuns, and similar religious
offices. If surnames are used in these situations,
they are generally written in parentheses ( ):

Bishop Athanasios (Theodoropoulos)

Sr. Maria (Skobtsova)


Royal Titles

Capitals are also used for the first letters of
royal titles.


Queen Elizabeth II
Emperor Akihito
Prince Hans-Adam II
Emir Isa bin Sulman al-Khalifa
Grand Duke Jean




These titles above can also be written
as follows:

Elizabeth II, Queen of England;

Akihito, Emperor of Japan;

Hans-Adam II, Prince of Liechtenstein;

Isa bin Sulman al-Khalifa,
Emir of Bahrain;

Jean, Grand Duke of Luxembourg


There are many royal titles other than
those above--for example,

Duke, Count, Duchess, Countess,
Earl, Viscount, Lord, Lady, etc.


Government Titles

Also begin government titles with capitals.


Prime Minister John Howard
President Hugo Banzer Suárez
President Eduard Shevardnadze
Governor Christine Todd Whitman

Senator John McCain
Representative Patsy Takemoto Mink



Government titles are often abbreviated:

Pres. = President;
Gov. = Governor;
Sen. = Senator;
Rep. = Representative.

These titles are common in the U.S.

There are many other government titles--
such as MP (Member of Parliament).

All the titles above can be used with both
surnames and complete names:

Pres. Suárez / President Suárez /
President Hugo Banzer Suárez

Sen. McCain / Senator McCain /
Senator John McCain


Academic Titles

Capital letters are also used to begin academic
titles (either fully spelled or abbreviated). These
titles may also be used with both surnames and
complete names:

Prof. Harvey / Professor Harvey /
Professor Jonathan Harvey

Dr. Wilson / Doctor Wilson /
Doctor Judith Wilson

Dan Tarrant / Dean Arthur Tarrant

Provost Schmidt / Provost Anna Schmidt


Professional Titles

Professional titles are begin with capitals.


The Hon. Paul Haddad /
The Honorable Paul Haddad

David Huang, Esq. / David Huang, Esquire



The title "The Hon." is an abbreviation for
The Honorable. In the U.S., it is commonly
used for
judges and mayors. It is always used
complete names.

The title "Esq." is an abbreviation for Esquire.
In the U.S., this title is used for attorneys
and comes
after complete names--not
before them.


Military Titles

Military titles (both abbreviated and complete
forms) also begin with capitals and may be
used with surnames or with complete names.


Gen. Friedland / General Mark Friedland

Maj. Kirkpatrick / Major Marian Kirkpatrick

Col. Smart / Colonel Jeremy Smart

Adm. Nguyen / Admiral Nguyen

Capt. Dillinger / Captain Susan Dillinger

Sgt. Peake / Sergeant Alonzo Peake

Cpl.Johanssen / Corporal Amy Johanssen

PFC Meakins / Private First Class Jerry Meakins

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