Capitalization of Job Titles
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: Capitalize job titles immediately following the name when the word the does not appear in front of the job title.
Examples: Ms. Leong, Chairperson, will join us at the meeting.
Ms. Leong, Chair, will join us at the meeting.
Mr. Hanson, Editorial Advisor for The Independent Journal, helped draft the article.
Rule: When the appears in front of the job title, do not capitalize.
Examples: Mr. Hanson, the editorial advisor, 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.
Examples: Sarah Leong, Chairperson
Craig Hanson, Editorial Advisor
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/her title will be capitalized at all times.
1. The finance director, Sam Woo, delivered our third-quarter projections.
2. Sam Woo, our finance director, delivered our third-quarter projections.
3. Sam Woo, finance director, delivered our third-quarter projections.
Only #3 should be changed: Sam Woo, Finance Director, delivered our third-quarter projections.
To comment on this grammar tip, click on the title.
Posted on Thursday, January 25th, 2007, at 12:14 am