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Stone and Silt
by Harvey Chute

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Big Al's Books & Pals 2014 Readers' Choice Awards: Young Adult Nominee

A ruthless murder and a stolen shipment of gold.

At school, sixteen-year-old Nikaia Wales endures the taunts of bullies who call her a “half-breed.” At home, she worries about how her family will react if she reveals her growing feelings for the quiet boy next door.

Those are soon the least of her troubles. Nikaia discovers a hidden cache of gold, and when police find a corpse nearby, her father becomes a suspect. Worse, Elias Doyle is circling, hungry to avenge his brother’s death.

Nikaia desperately searches for clues to save her father. In her quest to find the killer, she learns about the power of family, friendship, and young love....

Author Topic: Picky capitalization question  (Read 416 times)  

Online Paranormal Kitty

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Picky capitalization question
« on: July 16, 2017, 09:48:18 PM »
When you use a generic nickname (honey, sweetie, etc.), should that be capitalized or not? Examples: "Here's your order, sweetie." "Not so fast, missy." "Good morning, sunshine." These aren't nicknames that the person is normally called, just something that you might call a stranger or that you might call someone on occasion. Capitalized or not? There are dozens of instances of this in my WIP, so I want to do it correctly.

Offline Sleeping Cat Books

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Re: Picky capitalization question
« Reply #1 on: July 16, 2017, 10:21:20 PM »
No, don't capitalize these. They aren't being used as names, or in place of names, just as generic forms of address.
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Re: Picky capitalization question
« Reply #3 on: July 17, 2017, 05:09:15 AM »
I believe when using such words in place of a name, rather than as a general term, they would be capitalized. Mom, Dad, Son, President Trump, the President. That's what I was taught in school, anyway.
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Offline Decon

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Re: Picky capitalization question
« Reply #4 on: July 17, 2017, 06:31:09 AM »
In answer to the OP, I'd go with Chicago style 15 th edition and lower case nicknames or expressions of endearment, or derogatory names. The exception to me would be Dad, Mom, Son, etc

President is a tricky one.

I would write.

"What does the president say about this?"

or

"What does President Trump say about this?"



I scratch my head on this one.

Take him the County Sherriff's Office for processing."


"Take him to the county for processing."

"Take him to county for processing."  or  "What does county say about this?"

I always understood from the Chicago Style manual that after mentioning the full title which is capitalized that you should lower case if a full title is shortened, yet some say it is being used as a noun and not a common noun in the latter examples and should be capitalized?

I wish someone could give me a link to something authoritative as to what is correct
« Last Edit: July 17, 2017, 06:54:51 AM by Decon »


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Offline Steve Margolis

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Re: Picky capitalization question
« Reply #5 on: July 17, 2017, 07:42:20 AM »
IMO, capitalization is sometimes a personal preference. Just stay consistent through the book.
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Re: Picky capitalization question
« Reply #6 on: July 17, 2017, 08:03:51 AM »
When you use a generic nickname (honey, sweetie, etc.), should that be capitalized or not? Examples: "Here's your order, sweetie." "Not so fast, missy." "Good morning, sunshine." These aren't nicknames that the person is normally called, just something that you might call a stranger or that you might call someone on occasion. Capitalized or not? There are dozens of instances of this in my WIP, so I want to do it correctly.
I would say no. If they were usual nicknames, yes, but not for this. My late brother called all females sweetheart, but I don't see in my mind that word being capitalised! :)


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Offline WHDean

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Re: Picky capitalization question
« Reply #7 on: July 17, 2017, 09:48:14 AM »
I believe when using such words in place of a name, rather than as a general term, they would be capitalized. Mom, Dad, Son, President Trump, the President. That's what I was taught in school, anyway.

That is consistent with Chicago style and everywhere else I know of. The important distinction is between using a kinship word in place of the person and using kinship words as slang for kinship relations: "I love Mom [= Jane Smith who is my mother]" and "I love my mom [= my mother]." An article, pronoun, or possessive distinguishes the two forms: Dad, Father, Mom, Mother, Brother Joe, Sister Jill, etc. versus my dad, his father, their mom, the mother of, so-and-so's brother, etc.

I scratch my head on this one.

Take him the County Sherriff's Office for processing."

"Take him to the county for processing."

"Take him to county for processing."  or  "What does county say about this?"

I always understood from the Chicago Style manual that after mentioning the full title which is capitalized that you should lower case if a full title is shortened, yet some say it is being used as a noun and not a common noun in the latter examples and should be capitalized?

I wish someone could give me a link to something authoritative as to what is correct

Consider, first, that there are three kinds of words and two contexts (well, more than three and two, but let's keep it simple). The three kinds of words are proper names or titles of entities, short-forms of those names, and references to those entities. The two contexts, for our purposes, are novels and formal or ceremonial contexts (which can also be portrayed in novels). Here are some unambiguous examples of each:

(1) Take him to the Hazard County Sheriff's Office for processing (proper title in either context)

(2) Take him to the County Sheriff's Office for processing (short form of name not found in novels but found in formal documents; e.g., procedures manual issued by a state's attorney)

(3) Take him to the county sheriff's office for processing (reference to a place; found in a novel)

(4a) Take him to County (=Hazard County Sheriff's Office) for processing.

(4b) Take him to county (= jail) for processing.

Notice that the article (i.e., the) is omitted in both 4s. The 4a example uses a short form of a proper name. You can do it this way in formal contexts and novels. The 4b example just uses county as another word for jail. You could stick to this form in all instances in novel to stay on the safe side, assuming you're following Chicago.   

As for authorities, you'll have to read through Chapter 8 Names and Terms in Chicago (16th ed.) to sort it all out because you're covering different usages here. But every style guide for fiction says much the same.