When you write about or to a governmental agency, do you wonder when to capitalize? Here are some simple rules to help you.
Rule: When you use the complete names of departments, capitalize. You may also capitalize a shortened form of a department. Do not capitalize when these words are used as adjectives or generically.
the United Nations General Assembly
the General Assembly
a congressional committee
Rule: Capitalize civil titles only when used with the name following or when addressing someone directly.
Councilman James Harris
James Harris, councilman
How are you voting, Councilman?
Rule: If you are working on government documents or you are representing a government agency, then you may capitalize words like City, County, and District when they stand alone.
Example: The County will implement the plan approved by the voters last June.
Rule: When you refer back to a proper noun using a shortened version of the original name, you may capitalize it.
The District Water Plan allocates … The Plan calls for …
The Federal Bureau of Investigation has taken the case. The Bureau has sent out a bulletin to other federal departments to enlist their help in capturing the fugitive.
However, if you are not working on government documents or are not representing a government agency, do not capitalize generic or shortened terms.
The county will implement the plan …
The plan calls for …
The bureau has sent out a bulletin …
Posted on Thursday, May 29, 2008, at 2:18 am74 Comments on Capitalization of Governmental Words