With capitalization of job titles, there are rules and then there is the “rule.” The rules are based on some precedent while the “rule” is based on ego. Let’s go over the rules that have precedent first.
Rule: Capitalize job titles immediately preceding the name when used as part of the name.
Example: We asked Chairperson Leong to join us at the meeting.
Rule: Titles immediately following the name do not ordinarily require capitalization.
Ms. Leong, chairperson, will join us at the meeting.
Ms. Leong, chair, will join us at the meeting.
Mr. Hanson, editorial adviser for the Independent Journal, helped draft the article.
Rule: When the appears in front of the job title, do not capitalize.
Mr. Hanson, the editorial adviser, helped draft the article.
The chairperson, Sarah Leong, will join us at the meeting.
Mr. Cortez was the senior managing director of the Baskin Group.
Rule: Capitalize titles in signature lines.
Sarah Leong, Chairperson
Craig Hanson, Editorial Adviser
Rule: Do not capitalize titles when used descriptively.
Example: Ms. Leong, who will chair the meeting, is always on time.
“Rule”: The “ego rule” is that you may have to ignore the above rules in real life. If someone in your office (as in your boss) wants his or her title capitalized in all situations, then do so. Generally, the higher in rank someone is in an organization, the more likely his or her title will be capitalized at all times.
Correct any errors in the following sentences.
1. Thank goodness for Finance Director, Sam Woo.
2. Sam Woo, our finance director, delivered our third-quarter projections.
3. Sam Woo, Finance Director, delivered our third-quarter projections.
Pop Quiz Answers
1. Thank goodness for Finance Director Sam Woo.
2. Sam Woo, our finance director, delivered our third-quarter projections. (CORRECT)
3. Sam Woo, Finance Director, delivered our third-quarter projections. (CORRECT) or Sam Woo, finance director, delivered our third-quarter projections.
Posted on Thursday, January 25, 2007, at 12:14 am242 Comments on Capitalization of Job Titles