Civil, military, religious, academic, government, and professional titles are capitalized when they immediately precede a personal name and are thus part of the name. Titles are lowercased when following a name or used in place of a name. Examples:
* President Washington; the president General Patton; the general
* Cardinal Richelieu; the cardinal Professor Jones; the professor
* Governor Johnson; the governor John Kerry, senator from Massachusetts
In promotional or ceremonial contexts (such as a list of donors or corporate officers), titles are capitalized even when following a name. Example:
* Cristina Lopez, Manager of International Sales
A title used in place of a personal name is capitalized in such contexts as a toast or formal introduction, or when used in direct address. Examples:
* Ladies and Gentlemen, the Prime Minister.
* But Captain, that man’s a stowaway.
* Hello, Mr. President.
* What’s the prognosis, Doctor?
Terms of Respect
Honorific titles should be capitalized. But general terms of respect are not. Examples:
* His/Her/Your Majesty
* His/Her/Your Excellency
* His/Her/Your Honor
* my lord, my lady
* sir, ma’am
Kathy Ide is a published author, ghostwriter, and freelance editor. She speaks at writers’ conferences, teaches online writing and editing courses, and mentors new writers. She’s the founder and coordinator of The Christian PEN: Proofreaders and Editors Network (www.TheChristianPEN.com) and the Christian Editor Network (www.ChristianEditor.com). Learn more at www.KathyIde.com.