For most U of G-specific capitalization rules, see “Titles and Names.”

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Use title case (capitalize initial letters, everything else lower case) in headlines: Prof Discovers Ways to Help Heart Failure Patients.

Capitalize principal words (nouns, pronouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, and the first and last words of the title) as well as short verbs and nouns: Is, Are, Be, It, etc. Capitalize prepositions and conjunctions of four letters or more in headlines: With, Into, From.

Don’t capitalize articles (a, an, the) or prepositions and conjunctions of fewer than four letters: Food for Thought. Capitalize these short words (for, to, at, in) only when they appear as the first or last word in a title or when they appear immediately after a colon or semicolon.

Food from Thought: Capitalize Food From Thought in a headline about the U of G project, but use lower case “from” in body copy and captions in reference to this specific project. Body copy: The Food from Thought team has received new funding. Headline: Food From Thought Team Receives Funding.

If a title contains hyphenated words, capitalize both words: New Book Tells Story of History-Filled Guelph Guitar (not: History-filled).

If a title is in French, only the first word is capitalized.

Titles of Creative Works

For titles of books, plays, movies, songs, academic papers, journal articles, theses, lectures and book chapters, follow capitalization rules as above for headlines when writing principal words and prepositions and conjunctions.

The University

On subsequent references to the University of Guelph, write the University: the University has a rich history.

Phone Extensions

Abbreviate and capitalize extension in front of a phone number, and include commas before and after the extension: Call 519-824-4120, Ext. 56580, for more information.


Capitalize street, road, etc., in addresses, but use lower case with plurals: She lives on College Avenue and works at Edinburgh and Stone roads.


Italicize titles of books, plays, movies, magazines, journals, newspapers, albums, songs, symphonies, artworks, video games, and TV and radio shows. Also names of ships, spacecraft, aircraft and trains. Also scientific names of organisms (Homo sapiens, E. coli).

Titles of academic papers and journal articles, book chapters, theses, courses, lectures and seminars, etc., are not italicized but are enclosed in quotation marks. Long sacred works such as the Bible and the Qur’an are not italicized. No italics for titles of academic papers or conferences/lectures/courses.


Capitalize formal government titles when they precede a name: Premier Kathleen Wynne, President Donald Trump, Minister of Energy Glenn Thibeault, Mayor Cam Guthrie. But use lowercase when referring to a title generically: the minister of energy, the president, Dr. Slater, professor of anthropology.

Titles preceded by former, late, etc., are also lower case: former prime minister Joe Clark, late president Richard Nixon.

All references to the current Governor General and the Queen or King are capitalized: Governor General Mary Simon; King Charles.

Don’t capitalize government in generic references to governments, but as official entities, they are the Government of Ontario and the Government of Canada.

Geographical Regions

Capitalize regions that are known as specific geographical areas: Western Canada, the North or Far North, the West (region of Canada or the world), East Coast, Niagara Escarpment, the Prairies, the Western Hemisphere.

Use lower case for derivatives of these specific areas or if the words indicate mere direction or position: southern or northern Ontario, the western provinces, the western world, eastern Europe, the east coast (the shoreline).

Arctic is capitalized both as a noun and as an adjective.

Indigenous Peoples is always capitalized


Spring, summer, fall and winter are not capitalized.


Canada’s military forces are capitalized: Canadian Forces, the Forces, Canadian Navy.

For other forces, use lower case when army, navy and air force are preceded by the name of the country: British air force, U.S. navy, German army.


Capitalize city only when referring to the incorporated entity: The City of Guelph has introduced a new bylaw. He lives in the city of Guelph.

Capitalize Earth when referring to the planet: The space shuttle returned to Earth. Otherwise, it’s lower case: earth science. Mars is the red planet, not the Red Planet.


No initial cap unless part of the formal governmental title: the Province of Ontario. Otherwise, province and provincial take lower case.


Capitalize a noun followed by a number denoting place in a numbered series: Room 447, Day 1, Part 2, Grade 3, Phase 1, Act 2, Chapter 10. Use lower case in plural: phases 2 and 3, grades 9 to 12.

Page, paragraph, sentence, size, verse and line are all lower case when followed by a number.


All the names of religions are proper names and take an initial cap: Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Baha’i, etc.

Black People

Capitalize the word “Black” in referring to Black people: Black population, Black studies, Black person. Use lowercase for associated words such as Black studies program or Black heritage. Use caps for all words in a formal title: Guelph Black Students Association.

Web Terms

Proper forms for web terms are as follows: email, website, internet, World Wide Web, online, home page.

Proper/proprietary Names

Proper names that have acquired independent meaning are lower case: french fry, brussels sprouts, scotch whisky.

Proprietary trade names are capitalized: Aspirin, Band-Aid, Frisbee, Kleenex, Plexiglas, Styrofoam, Velcro, Xerox. Use generic words instead of trade names when possible

Lower case vitamin and capitalize the type: vitamin A. Also: it’s Type 2 diabetes.