1. Halcyon
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    Halcyon Contributing Member Contributor

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    Capital letter...

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Halcyon, Apr 23, 2011.

    Hey guys

    Just curious about this one...

    I was looking at a company website earlier today, and the company name is deliberately written without a capital letter at the beginning of it, which I'm sure is perfectly permissible.

    However... whilst reading the paragraph which described the company, they had worded it so that the company name appeared at the beginning of one of the sentences, and therefore, because the company name has no capital, the sentence began without a capital letter.

    Is this ever a technically correct thing to do? :)
     
  2. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i can't cite a specific rule to cover that, but as an editor, i would certainly ask the writer to reword the sentence so the name didn't come first... or suggest putting it in "" to show that it's not a typo...
     
  3. Pea
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    Pea super pea!

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    You could italicize the company name whenever it's mentioned. I've seen some books that do that for anything named such as a ship, company, newspaper name etc.
     
  4. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    No, italics would be used for the title of an artistic work, a book, a movie, or a musical piece. Company titles, country name, geographical features, and the like are not italicized.

    I'm with Maia about trying to avoid the situation by rewording. However, the most likely situation it would arise is ad copy. In an advertisement, the company name would probably be rendered in a proprietary font (specified as part of the trademark) anyway, so the grammatical issues would be moot.
     
  5. lameri
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    lameri Senior Member

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    The rule is that it should anyway be capitalized, except if the next letter is capitalized like in iPhone. In that case, it is OK to leave it in lower-case letters, but the best is to try to avoid the situation by placing (iPhone) in a different position in the sentence, not at the beginning. Again, for other company names with no capital letters at all, you always capitalize them.

    http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/about16_rules.html
    Names like iPod
    Brand names that begin with a lowercase letter followed by a capital letter now retain the lowercase letter even at the beginning of a sentence or a heading. 8.153.
     
  6. Pea
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    Pea super pea!

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    Thanks for correcting.

    *quietly edits manuscript*
     
  7. digitig
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    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't think advertising copy would be the most likely situation. There are probably more business letters, reports and so on produced than there is ad copy. I've had this issue with a client, a company that uses no capitals in its name. I produced a lot of technical reports for them, and the only solution I was happy with was to make sure the company name never appeared at the start of a sentence, as you and others have suggested. Another place where the use of passive voice is justified. :) In fairness to the company, they didn't seem to mind either way; they were only interested in the technical content of the reports, but I was determined that the reports would look professional as well as be correct.
     

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