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(02-01-2020, 10:32 PM)Mattias Westlund Wrote: [ -> ]Terry, Nayrb, thank you for clearing that up. It makes sense, when I think about it, to capitalize a title when attached to a specific person. I've never actually made that connection! And I'm not sure books I've read are all 100% consistent in this matter either, which makes things even more confusing. So in other words (using an example from SoD) the Steward Lothandel should be referred to as the Steward, but his office is simply that of a steward. Right?

As for "patrican"... I know. Wink I was trying to come up with something antiquated-sounding but you're right, it's too close. I'll need to think of something else. Terry: Regarding judiciate, thanks! A judiciate was basically a senator in Uldani times; a patrican (or, well, whatever I'm going to call this upper layer of land-owning nobles) that has temporarily given up his lands and duties to serve in the Tribunate, the Uldani senate.

Edit: To be clear, the reason I'm not just using existing Roman titles is that I don't want to overdo it with the Roman influences. Yes, the Uldani were similar in many ways, but not exactly the same. And sure, I could just make up random stuff like blaghor or fnugtweg for titles. But I want it to sound like actual words in English.



Well, technically Lothandel is still just a steward, even if he is the steward. King Arthur is both a king as well as the king (at one time). The title is only ever capitalized if it's part of a proper noun. Here's another link on the subject, although it focuses primarily to professional writing, the rules are basically the same:

https://data.grammarbook.com/blog/capita...ob-titles/

In examples like God (and His pronouns), or the Autarch (from Tad Williams' Shadowmarch) the capitalization is a convention typically associated with divinity. It's a subtle difference because Autarch is a personal title, but a difference nonetheless.

Language is always changing, and there was a time when such titles were capitalized in English writing no matter what. But the rules are of course different today. Then there are the various conventions providing exceptions to whatever rules you can find.

I have a copy of the 16th edition of the Chicago Manual of Style in my lap right now and it says, "Titles and offices--the general rule. Civil, military, religious  and professional titles are capitalized when they immediately precede a personal name and are thus used as part of the name (typically replacing the title holder's first name). In formal prose and other generic text (as opposed to promotional or ceremonial contexts or a heading), titles are normally lowercased when following a name or used in place of a name..." (Section 8.18)

It goes on to give these examples:

President Lincoln; the president
General Bradley; the general
Cardinal Newman; the cardinal
Governors Quinn and Paterson; the governors

The section goes on to clarify that it is perfectly correct to use both first and second names after a capitalized title: President Abraham Lincoln.

Chicago Manual of Style, as I understand it, is the most widely used format in English editorial practice; so most of the books you're reading in English have probably been subjected to its protocols*. The book I have is the one I had to buy for the editing class I was taking (I dropped it because I am a literature major and wanted to focus my attention on my Science Fiction Vanguards: New Wave and Cyberpunk class). In any case, I have the book, and even though it appears it was succeeded by a 17th edition, it seems 16 is still considered valid.

I think it's published online as well, but let me know if you want me to look something up in print.

*This is rather presumptuous of me: you might be reading UK editions of English texts, and editorial practice would then be a bit different. But I don't think capitalization rules are much different in either case. I believe there are some differences with regard to titles and the British Royal Family, but I'll need to do more research on that.
(02-02-2020, 02:01 AM)Nayrb Wrote: [ -> ]
(02-01-2020, 10:32 PM)Mattias Westlund Wrote: [ -> ]Terry, Nayrb, thank you for clearing that up. It makes sense, when I think about it, to capitalize a title when attached to a specific person. I've never actually made that connection! And I'm not sure books I've read are all 100% consistent in this matter either, which makes things even more confusing. So in other words (using an example from SoD) the Steward Lothandel should be referred to as the Steward, but his office is simply that of a steward. Right?

As for "patrican"... I know. Wink I was trying to come up with something antiquated-sounding but you're right, it's too close. I'll need to think of something else. Terry: Regarding judiciate, thanks! A judiciate was basically a senator in Uldani times; a patrican (or, well, whatever I'm going to call this upper layer of land-owning nobles) that has temporarily given up his lands and duties to serve in the Tribunate, the Uldani senate.

Edit: To be clear, the reason I'm not just using existing Roman titles is that I don't want to overdo it with the Roman influences. Yes, the Uldani were similar in many ways, but not exactly the same. And sure, I could just make up random stuff like blaghor or fnugtweg for titles. But I want it to sound like actual words in English.



Well, technically Lothandel is still just a steward, even if he is the steward. King Arthur is both a king as well as the king (at one time). The title is only ever capitalized if it's part of a proper noun. Here's another link on the subject, although it focuses primarily to professional writing, the rules are basically the same:

https://data.grammarbook.com/blog/capita...ob-titles/

In examples like God (and His pronouns), or the Autarch (from Tad Williams' Shadowmarch) the capitalization is a convention typically associated with divinity. It's a subtle difference because Autarch is a personal title, but a difference nonetheless.

Language is always changing, and there was a time when such titles were capitalized in English writing no matter what. But the rules are of course different today. Then there are the various conventions providing exceptions to whatever rules you can find.

I have a copy of the 16th edition of the Chicago Manual of Style in my lap right now and it says, "Titles and offices--the general rule. Civil, military, religious  and professional titles are capitalized when they immediately precede a personal name and are thus used as part of the name (typically replacing the title holder's first name). In formal prose and other generic text (as opposed to promotional or ceremonial contexts or a heading), titles are normally lowercased when following a name or used in place of a name..." (Section 8.18)

It goes on to give these examples:

President Lincoln; the president
General Bradley; the general
Cardinal Newman; the cardinal
Governors Quinn and Paterson; the governors

The section goes on to clarify that it is perfectly correct to use both first and second names after a capitalized title: President Abraham Lincoln.

Chicago Manual of Style, as I understand it, is the most widely used format in English editorial practice; so most of the books you're reading in English have probably been subjected to its protocols*. The book I have is the one I had to buy for the editing class I was taking (I dropped it because I am a literature major and wanted to focus my attention on my Science Fiction Vanguards: New Wave and Cyberpunk class). In any case, I have the book, and even though it appears it was succeeded by a 17th edition, it seems 16 is still considered valid.

I think it's published online as well, but let me know if you want me to look something up in print.

*This is rather presumptuous of me: you might be reading UK editions of English texts, and editorial practice would then be a bit different. But I don't think capitalization rules are much different in either case. I believe there are some differences with regard to titles and the British Royal Family, but I'll need to do more research on that.

Please dismiss my initial reply. This is much better and more detailed. Thank you, Nayrb!
(02-02-2020, 03:59 PM)Terry93D Wrote: [ -> ]Please dismiss my initial reply. This is much better and more detailed. Thank you, Nayrb!

Nah, it was the conversation that inspired me to go looking for a definitive answer. I'm no expert, but because I'm self conscious about my own grammatical weaknesses, I started gathering resources and re-educating myself over the last few months ahead of getting back into school. I mean, the end result is that I'm going to have to teach English, so I should probably have a better grasp on it than I do.

English grammar is confusing. One of the things I find most frustrating is the abundance of terms for one concept: restrictive = essential, for instance. Half the time I'm looking up a glossary of terms just to get my bearings in pursuit of a completely different answer.

Here's a cool site I found that goes in depth into some interesting grammar topics: http://www.grammar-once-and-for-all.com/
Thanks Nayrb, I think I get it now. I need to go back and edit all those places where I've used capitalization incorrectly.
OK, it seems I'm not done wrapping my head around this yet. In chapter 12 Lilian says:

"My father was an Estator of the Realm. A minor nobleman."

The way I'm thinking, Estator of the Realm is the full official title and not just a noun. Should it still not be capitalized?
(02-08-2020, 12:09 PM)Mattias Westlund Wrote: [ -> ]OK, it seems I'm not done wrapping my head around this yet. In chapter 12 Lilian says:

"My father was an Estator of the Realm. A minor nobleman."

The way I'm thinking, Estator of the Realm is the full official title and not just a noun. Should it still not be capitalized?

I think that instance of capitalization is correct, yeah.

e.g. "My father is the king of Britain" v. "My father is the King of Britain," "My father is a king" v. "My father is the King."
(02-08-2020, 04:15 PM)Terry93D Wrote: [ -> ]
(02-08-2020, 12:09 PM)Mattias Westlund Wrote: [ -> ]OK, it seems I'm not done wrapping my head around this yet. In chapter 12 Lilian says:

"My father was an Estator of the Realm. A minor nobleman."

The way I'm thinking, Estator of the Realm is the full official title and not just a noun. Should it still not be capitalized?

I think that instance of capitalization is correct, yeah.

e.g. "My father is the king of Britain" v. "My father is the King of Britain," "My father is a king" v. "My father is the King."

Good questions. The CMoS states that the names of orders are capitalized (8.96). In your case, though, I'm not sure it should be. Consider that a peer of the realm is a member of the order called the House of Lords. It might also depend on the levels of office within the order. If you have "Estator" vs "Grand Estator," for instance, it might need to be capitalized for disambiguation.

See sentence examples: https://www.lexico.com/definition/peer_of_the_realm
(02-08-2020, 05:18 PM)Nayrb Wrote: [ -> ]Good questions. The CMoS states that the names of orders are capitalized (8.96). In your case, though, I'm not sure it should be. Consider that a peer of the realm is a member of the order called the House of Lords. It might also depend on the levels of office within the order. If you have "Estator" vs "Grand Estator," for instance, it might need to be capitalized for disambiguation.

See sentence examples: https://www.lexico.com/definition/peer_of_the_realm

Haha. So basically, I could play it safe and not capitalize anything?

The reason I'm finding this so unintuitive is that in Swedish, unlike its close relative German, we do not captialize unless it's a name (of a person/organization/brand/etc) or it's the first word of a sentence. Ever. That's it. Unlike English, we don't capitalize weekdays, we don't capitalize months, hell, we don't even capitalize English or Chinese or Christmas Eve or whatever. So there is definitely more going on with the upper-case letters in English than in Swedish. And the rules and conventions are therefore a bit hard to grasp.
Also: Nayrb, you mentioned capitalization being used to signify divinity. The belief of the speaker must in that case be significant? Because I don't see a lot of people referring to Greek or Norse deities as Gods, though the same people will write "God" when talking about their Christian variety. So, when Baylon uses his favorite curse "blood of gods!" should that actually be capitalized since he's referring to the pantheon and religious culture of the place he's from? But he's not a devout man so a god and a God is all the same to him.
(02-08-2020, 11:36 PM)Mattias Westlund Wrote: [ -> ]Haha. So basically, I could play it safe and not capitalize anything?

The reason I'm finding this so unintuitive is that in Swedish, unlike its close relative German, we do not captialize unless it's a name (of a person/organization/brand/etc) or it's the first word of a sentence. Ever. That's it. Unlike English, we don't capitalize weekdays, we don't capitalize months, hell, we don't even capitalize English or Chinese or Christmas Eve or whatever. So there is definitely more going on with the upper-case letters in English than in Swedish. And the rules and conventions are therefore a bit hard to grasp.

English is incredibly complicated. I'm constantly learning new things. My biggest issues have always been with commas and semicolons. I've come a long way since I started studying up on it, but it's amazing what issues I run into, even when writing a forum post like this one.

I think we're making good progress on this capitalization thing, though. I'd say stick with the standards outline in my first post from the CMoS, and in the case of "Estator of the Realm," try it out without capitals first and see if it works. If the estators are part of an order, I would capitalize that. I think that if all the fictitious offices and titles in a fantasy story were capitalized it would look clunky and weird.

(02-09-2020, 12:07 AM)Mattias Westlund Wrote: [ -> ]Also: Nayrb, you mentioned capitalization being used to signify divinity. The belief of the speaker must in that case be significant? Because I don't see a lot of people referring to Greek or Norse deities as Gods, though the same people will write "God" when talking about their Christian variety. So, when Baylon uses his favorite curse "blood of gods!" should that actually be capitalized since he's referring to the pantheon and religious culture of the place he's from? But he's not a devout man so a god and a God is all the same to him.

This is actually just a convention in English writing. Capitalizing "God" (Christian) over "gods" goes back to when people were still afraid of being struck by lightning for thinking about any divinities other than the Biblical one. It was done to suggest that the other divinities (especially members of pantheons) were lesser than Him. It's meant to highlight His uniqueness as the only god. It basically makes Him a character (yes, all the pronouns referring to God are actually capitalized by this convention, too). Does that make sense? Sorry if it's a bit confusing... It just kind of is...

So in your case, you should keep "gods" lowercase no matter the piety of the person if you are referring to multiple gods. If you have an analogous Biblical God in your story, then you should capitalize it.

Another way to think about it is that God doesn't really have another name (I guess that's debatable, but that is for Biblical scholars to discuss). Other gods tend to have specific names like Odin, Quetzalcoatl, Shiva, etc.
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