1. Brian
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    Brian Member

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    Capitalization of Century and Room

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Brian, Apr 11, 2010.

    I wasn't sure about this, so I thought I would ask the question here. If I want to talk about a century, should it be capitalized? As in 19th century, this century, next century, a century, a century ago. Are any of those supposed to be capitalized?

    My guess would be that 19th Century is the only one that is capitalized, because it's the only one referring to any one particular century. But I'm not sure.

    Also, if I'm deciding to use a room number of a building, do I write it as room 352 or Room 352? I would guess it's a proper noun when used with a number, but once again, I'm not positive.

    I apologize if this is an extremely obvious question, because my guess is that it is.

    Thanks for any help you can give me,
    Brian
     
  2. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    century is capitalized, if it's part of a title:
    'I'm taking 19th Century Literature this term'...

    it's not, if discussing time periods:
    'in the 19th century, writers were...' it wouldn't be...

    'room' or 'suite' are only capitalized when it's part of an address:
    333 Park Ave. Room/Suite 33

    not when just referring to a numbered room:
    'They're in room 1202 at the Holiday Inn'...
     
  3. Brian
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    Brian Member

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    Thank you for that clarification, but does anyone have an idea why that is so? I would have thought that 19th century as in "in the 19th century" would be capitalized because it is referring to one century in particular. Is there any particular grammatical reason why this is not so?
     
  4. sidtvicious
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    sidtvicious Contributing Member Contributor

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    It is not capitalized because you are literally replacing the phrase "nineteenth century" with the numerical form of "19". To quote the Chicago manual of style, "a numerical designation of a period is lowercased unless it is part of a proper name." Century is not proper because it simply a unit of time, we don't capitalize seconds, hours, minutes etc.
     

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