1. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Capitalize social classes or not?

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by GingerCoffee, Aug 30, 2014.

    We don't capitalize "the rich", but what if the designation is more specific like in the Indian caste system? I've seen Untouchables capitalized.

    In my novel I have owners, know-profs, labor, and off-griders. In addition there are Founders and Tressers. The latter two I'm capitalizing like one would capitalize Americans and Mexicans. But I'm wavering with the social classes and I'm wondering what other people think.

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. cutecat22
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    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    Hmmmm. Would you capitalise terms of endearment?

    I had this conversation a while ago with someone else. They would not capitalise terms of endearment like love, flower, darling, sweetheart as they were terms that were used by lots of people for lots of people but they would capitalise a nickname that was specific to one person.

    So if it's a name for a set of people like Jewish, English, Scottish then capitalise but if it's almost a term of endearment or a slang term for a certain group, don't capitalise. Maybe. :meh:
     
  3. AnonyMouse
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    AnonyMouse Contributing Member Contributor

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    I struggled with this in my writing as well. In my science fiction world, the are a number of names for certain groups or types of people. I ultimately decided that the word should only be capitalized if it is an official designation for that group of people, i.e. a word that is legally definied and not merely tagged on via public opinion.

    For example, if your world classifies people who make X amount of dollars as "The Rich," I would capitalize that, because it is a discrete term. If "the rich" just means a person with "lots of money" (a subjective value, with no concrete definiton) I would not capitalize that.

    This is just a rule of thumb, however. A certain amount of subjectivity still comes into play.
     
  4. Kat Hawthorne
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    Kat Hawthorne Member

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    GingerCoffee, are you using the words as adjectives, or nouns? Adjectives do not need to be capitalized, but proper nouns do. To make the decision in your manuscript, figure out if you have used the word as a description, or a title. That might make the figuring a little simpler.
     
  5. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Nouns. I'm still debating how to manage the labels.

    There are Owners - they literally own the planet.
    Know-Profs - knowledge professionals.
    Labor - self explanatory
    Off-griders - they live outside the system, using barter, squatting, travel in the subway tunnels instead of on the trains and so on.

    Even though these are formal groups, there are times it seems the words should be more descriptive than names. And if you consider labels like liberals and conservatives, those words are not capitalized very often. Libertarians, Democrats and Republicans, on the other hand, are capitalized.

    So I'm wavering, undecided, uncertain.

    I probably ought to come up with more creative names and use the above labels as informal descriptors.
     

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