Capitalization Exercise (626)

In each of the following sentences, correct one or more words that should begin with uppercase or lowercase letters but are not.

Answers and Explanations

1.
Original: John congratulated Jane on her promotion to Sergeant in Centerville’s police department.
Correct : John congratulated Jane on her promotion to sergeant in Centerville’s police department.

Military and similar ranks are capitalized only when appearing immediately before a name as a title (for example, "Sergeant Jane Smith").

2.
Original: He wrote in a style that can be described only as homeric.
Correct : He wrote in a style that can be described only as Homeric.

Adjectives derived from personal names are always capitalized (for example, to indicate the four suffix forms, "Sartrean," "Lincolnesque," "Freudian," and "Napoleonic"). But units of measurement (such as "watt"), and other nouns (such as "molotov cocktail"), taken from personal names are styled in lowercase.

3.
Original: The US central command has stated that the Iraqi president’s regime is no longer in power.
Correct : The US Central Command has stated that the Iraqi president’s regime is no longer in power.

Specific names of organizational entities such as military commands are capitalized.

4.
Original: John Smith, the Bike Coalition’s Executive Director, is pictured riding his bicycle along a newly striped bike lane on Market Street.
Correct : John Smith, the Bike Coalition’s executive director, is pictured riding his bicycle along a newly striped bike lane on Market Street.

Job titles are not capitalized when they appear in descriptive phrases after the name of the job holder. (Also, as mentioned in the comment for the first item in this quiz, the title is also not capitalized when it is preceded by an adjective—"Bike Coalition," in this case—because it becomes part of the description: "Bike Coalition executive director John Smith . . . .")

5.
Original: The Secretary of State approached the podium during the interruption.
Correct : The secretary of state approached the podium during the interruption.

Job titles are not capitalized in isolation even when they refer to a specific person. (Many organizations, and some publications, capitalize such titles for high-ranking executives or officials, but most publishers observe the lowercase style.)

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