Capitals and lower case

 ‘A balance has to be struck between so many capitals that the eyes dance and so few that the reader is diverted more by our style than by our substance. The general rule is to dignify with capital letters organisations and institutions, but not people. … Even these, however, leave some decisions to individual judgment. If in doubt, use lower case unless it looks absurd. And remember that “a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds” (Emerson).’ 

From The Economist’s rules

Internet: capital or not?

The internet no longer needs a capital ‘I’ in standard Australian writing (Style Guide, 6th edition).

As Pam Peters puts it in The Cambridge Guide to English Usage:

‘The global digital network … grew out of a more local system developed by the US military during the 1970s as part of a defense strategy, which was simply the internet. … Given that internet had no capital letter in the first place, and the generic nature of its use, the decapitalised form makes sense. … Though Internet dominates in British and American English at the turn of the millennium, it can only be a matter of time for it to be decapitalised.’ 

Comments following a post on capitalising proper nouns (Grammar Girl) discusses this, with the final comment: ‘Small “i” is the wave of the future.’


For in-page titles and headings (such as news articles), only capitalise the first word and any proper nouns. Do not end the heading with a full stop.

Titles of books, magazines, reports

Capitalise the main words. Use italics for titles of books, films, plays and periodicals.

Use regular font (not bold, not italics) in quotation marks for article titles, report titles, chapter titles and shorter poems.

Titles of jobs

Lowercase in general:

            The chief accountant resigned.

But when referring to a person and their job title, this should be in capitals:

Joe Smith, Head of External Affairs

Titles of people

Capitalise the specific president of any country, lower case a general mention:

            Many admired Professor Brown.

            UQ will employ a new professor.

Finally, an old rhyme and a suicide note:

If an S and an I and an O and a U
With an X at the end spell Su;
And an E and a Y and an E spell I,
Pray what is a speller to do?
Then, if also an S and an I and a G
And an HED spell side,
There’s nothing much left for a speller to do
But to go commit siouxeyesighed.

(from Spelling Jokes)

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