Show some (dis)respect: capitalizing official titles

Talk about disrespectful! Or maybe where an individual’s official title is concerned, writers show too much respect. There are two easy rules to follow:
• Capitalize an individual’s official title if it appears immediately before the person’s name.
RIGHT: Commanding the USS Enterprise is Captain James T. Kirk.
WRONG: James T. Kirk is Captain of the USS Enterprise.
RIGHT: The captain of the USS Enterprise gazed at the viewscreen.
WRONG: The Captain of the USS Enterprise gazed at the viewscreen.
• Capitalize the official title if it’s in a quotation in which someone is addressing the person holding that title.
RIGHT: “Save me from the alien monster, Captain!
WRONG: “Save me from the alien monster, captain!”


My name is Rob Bignell. I’m an affordable, professional editor who runs Inventing Reality Editing Service, which meets the manuscript needs of writers both new and published. I also offer a variety of self-publishing services. During the past decade, I’ve helped more than 300 novelists and nonfiction authors obtain their publishing dreams at reasonable prices. I’m also the author of the 7 Minutes a Day… writing guidebooks, four nonfiction hiking guidebook series, and the literary novel Windmill. Several of my short stories in the literary and science fiction genres also have been published.