Writing Quiz #2: Job and Office Titles

By Mark Nichol

Correct any capitalization errors in the following sentences.

1. Faith Hope is Executive Director at the Charity Foundation.

2. John Doe is the Roberta Roe Professor of Anthropology at Oxford.

3. Former Vice President Al Gore is an author and an environmental activist.

4. The evening’s highlight was a talk by Economist Adam Smith.

5. The first lady will attend the event.

Solutions

1.
Original: Faith Hope is Executive Director at the Charity Foundation.
Correct : Faith Hope is executive director at the Charity Foundation.

When a job or office title follows the bearer’s name, it is almost invariably not capitalized.

2.
Original: John Doe is the Roberta Roe Professor of Anthropology at Oxford.
Correct : John Doe is the Roberta Roe Professor of Anthropology at Oxford.

Titles for holders of endowed professorships are capitalized in all references; this sentence was originally correct.

3.
Original: Former Vice President Al Gore is an author and an environmental activist.
Correct : Former vice president Al Gore is an author and an environmental activist.

When an adjective precedes a job or office title, the title is also treated as a description and is not capitalized.

4.
Original: The evening’s highlight was a talk by Economist Adam Smith.
Correct : The evening’s highlight was a talk by economist Adam Smith.

Words that identify a person’s occupation or role but are not specific titles are not capitalized.

5.
Original: The first lady will attend the event.
Correct : The First Lady will attend the event.

Honorifics (also including “Your Honor,” “Her Royal Highness,” and the like) should always be capitalized.

More on Capitalization
Rules for Capitalization in Titles
Tips for Treating Titles of People
How to Style Titles of Print and Online Publications

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