1. katica
    Offline

    katica Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2009
    Messages:
    172
    Likes Received:
    11

    Do I capitalize this or not?

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by katica, Jun 16, 2011.

    I'm writing a story about a necromancer and she's a member of this specific group of necromancers called speakers.

    When I say "Cassie is a speaker" is it like that or like "Cassie is a Speaker"? I think it's the first one, but I am unsure.
     
  2. Trish
    Offline

    Trish I've been deleted.. again Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2011
    Messages:
    1,986
    Likes Received:
    224
    Location:
    New York
    Well I think it depends. If there are multiple groups (say Speakers, Will Changers, Enforcers, and Guards - off the top of my head, nothing to do with your story of course) I would capitalize as I, personally, would look at it as a type of royalty/tribe designation I guess.

    If it's something you're going to be mentioning over and over and it's more of a personality trait type thing in that group, then I would do the first one.

    To simplify, if it's a title I would capitalize if it's not I wouldn't. I could be completely wrong though. Never had it come up, actually.
     
  3. katica
    Offline

    katica Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2009
    Messages:
    172
    Likes Received:
    11
    I'm not sure what it is exactly. All necromancers in my story are separated into four groups, she just happens to be in the speaker category, but there's also three other groups that other necromancers are in. Each group represents which powers the necromancer chose to specialize in. It's more like a sub-category for a necromancer to fit into under the overall necromancy branch of magic . . . . if that makes sense.

    And its something I reference repeatedly.
     
  4. Mallory
    Offline

    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2010
    Messages:
    4,274
    Likes Received:
    191
    Location:
    Tampa Bay
    Normally, you don't capitalize titles, unless it's being used in an instance where it's part of somone's name.

    "This is insider information and can't be revealed to anyone not a speaker" - Lowercase.
    "Greetings, Speaker Fabian" - Capital.

    It's just like other titles, such as doctor/professor/president/general/etc.

    "I broke my wrist, I need a ride to the doctor," is not going to be capitalized, but "I need Doctor Kane to set my wrist" is.
     
    1 person likes this.
  5. Trish
    Offline

    Trish I've been deleted.. again Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2011
    Messages:
    1,986
    Likes Received:
    224
    Location:
    New York
    Okay so I don't know if this will actually help you or confuse you, but think of them like Native Americans. The Cheyenne (always capitalized) had 6 military groups such as Fox Warrior Society, Elk Warriors Society, Shield Warriors Society, Bowstring Men, Dog Warriors Society, and Contrary Warriors Society. All of them are Cheyenne, all are military, but their individual designated groups are capitalized as well when written.

    I hope that helps....
     
  6. Venusian31
    Offline

    Venusian31 Member

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2011
    Messages:
    30
    Likes Received:
    1
    I believe it should be capitalized. As you stated, she is a member of a specific group called Speakers, which makes speakers, in this case, a proper noun. Proper nouns are always capitalized. It would be different if you were referring to a general group of people such as speakers at a conference.
     
  7. thewordsmith
    Offline

    thewordsmith Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2009
    Messages:
    874
    Likes Received:
    124
    Location:
    State of Confusion
    I 2d that!
     
  8. Suadade
    Offline

    Suadade Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2011
    Messages:
    101
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    Sweden
    I'd say - I, with my liberal, mostly self-taught english usage - that this is an aesthetic question. Do you feel the importance of the group warrants a capital letter? Do you think a capital letter looks good? Go with what you like best.
     
  9. mammamaia
    Offline

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    Messages:
    19,316
    Likes Received:
    1,014
    Location:
    Coquille, Oregon
    it's up to you... can be either and work/be correct... just be sure to be consistent, whichever way you go with it...
     
  10. Venusian31
    Offline

    Venusian31 Member

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2011
    Messages:
    30
    Likes Received:
    1
    Actually, this is not correct. Just because you make an error consistently, doesn't stop it from being an error and an obvious error like this will be noticed by a publisher. It's a grammar issue and not a personal preference issue.

    The way he describes the Speakers is as a specific group, which makes it a proper noun and proper nouns are ALWAYS capitalized, just like names of people or places. If you typed a character name as sam instead of Sam consistently throughout your novel, it still wouldn't make it correct. It's supposed to be capitalized.

    For instance, Senator Webb is a member of the Senate. Speaker Cassie is a member of the Speakers. Speakers is a specific group, not a random group of general people who are speaking.
     
  11. Trish
    Offline

    Trish I've been deleted.. again Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2011
    Messages:
    1,986
    Likes Received:
    224
    Location:
    New York
    Actually in this case I believe mamma is correct (although you would usually be correct). The thing is she hasn't actually decided if they are an elite group, if it's a title, or if it's just a fun way to distinguish people (I don't think) even though we've all given our opinions. Also, as I assume with the involvement of a necromancer, this is probably along the lines of a fantasy story which allows for her to make things do as she wishes and she doesn't really have to follow the rule of proper noun = capital. Also a publisher/agent of fantasy is not going to throw a fit or reject a MS if you've been consistent throughout since this is katica's made up world and if she says speaker doesn't get capitalized it doesn't. A non-fic may very well do so, but not fantasy. If she was writing a non-fiction book your answer would be correct.

    For the record I would do so, which I've already stated, because it would seem strange to me not to, but I think I understand what mamma's trying to say here.
     
  12. Venusian31
    Offline

    Venusian31 Member

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2011
    Messages:
    30
    Likes Received:
    1

    I do understand your point, but I still do not agree. The original question as posted was:

    She states pretty clearly that the character is a member of a group, no ambiguity.

    Later she says:

    Even though she's not exactly sure what it is, she still makes it pretty clear that they are all established groups of one kind of another, which makes the names of those groups proper nouns.

    When creating a fantasy world, you can establish your own rules and laws within that world, but the general rules of writing the actual novel or story do not change unless grammar differences are an actual part of that created world, which the original poster never stated or implied.

    Since this topic was posted in the Spelling, Punctuation, and Grammar category, it's pretty clear that this was a question of correct grammar usage and capitalizing proper pronouns does apply.
     
  13. Trish
    Offline

    Trish I've been deleted.. again Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2011
    Messages:
    1,986
    Likes Received:
    224
    Location:
    New York
    I understand your point, but it depends on the importance she gives to the group. For instance to go back to my Native American analogy, the tribe name Cheyenne would be capitalized, the different military groups are capitalized, even if you shortened any of the group names to their nicknames such as Dog Men. However if you were talking about shamans the word "shaman" wouldn't be capitalized, even if you used another common term for them (like medicine man) because these people are usually given a special designation IN their name such as a certain word before or after their adult name that is now a part of their name.

    So... if she does it like that, it depends on how she decides to give the designation.

    EDIT: As I already said I would capitalize it, but all mamma was doing (and all I am doing is well) is showing her what options she has available to her, and I don't think it's clear that she's decided how she's going to show their designation or what the importance of it is at this point.
     
  14. katica
    Offline

    katica Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2009
    Messages:
    172
    Likes Received:
    11
    I am honestly so confused because I think you guys make a lot of good points. The word "necromancer" isn't capitalized, so in a sense it doesn't make sense for "speaker" to be capitalized, but at the same time, the group is a proper noun (I think?!) and certain other groups in the world capitalize themselves (like the Native Americans tribes.)

    I do have the whole story written out (just not in absolute final draft form), I'm just confused about how I know how important they are and at what point they become so important that it should be capitalized.
     
  15. Trish
    Offline

    Trish I've been deleted.. again Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2011
    Messages:
    1,986
    Likes Received:
    224
    Location:
    New York
    If you look at it as the Native American examples.... their race would be capitalized (like Native American) the word necromancer would not (like shaman) but Speaker would (like Dog Men) as would the other three group name designations for necromancers. Does that help?
     
  16. mammamaia
    Offline

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    Messages:
    19,316
    Likes Received:
    1,014
    Location:
    Coquille, Oregon
    thanks, trish!... yes, you got it right... that's exactly what i meant... and i still stand by it in this specific case...
     
  17. Trish
    Offline

    Trish I've been deleted.. again Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2011
    Messages:
    1,986
    Likes Received:
    224
    Location:
    New York
    You're welcome, of course. Just glad I got it right, lol.
     
  18. KP Williams
    Offline

    KP Williams Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2007
    Messages:
    608
    Likes Received:
    11
    Location:
    My place
    Let me add a bit more to this tangled mess of information.

    If "necromancer" is a mere description of who someone is and what he does, then you're right, there is no capitalization.

    "That guy is a necromancer."

    But if we're talking about a formal group or organization which uses that word as its name, then they would be called the Necromancers, capitalized.

    "That guy is a Necromancer."

    The same would apply to the speakers/Speakers. If it helps with clarity at all, in the Elder Scrolls series, there is a guild of assassins called the Dark Brotherhood, which is led by the Black Hand. The Hand consists of five members: one Listener, four Speakers. Notice the abundance of capitals.
     
  19. digitig
    Offline

    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2010
    Messages:
    2,502
    Likes Received:
    79
    Location:
    Orpington, Bromley, United Kingdom, United Kingdom
    And would you write "John Webb is a Senator" or "John Webb is a senator"? That's the construct in question.
     
  20. mammamaia
    Offline

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    Messages:
    19,316
    Likes Received:
    1,014
    Location:
    Coquille, Oregon
    it's lower case, unless used as his title, or in place of his name... as in:

    and...

    ...whether 'the' is capitalized depends on whether it's part of their official name, or not...
     
  21. Word Dancer
    Offline

    Word Dancer Member

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2011
    Messages:
    39
    Likes Received:
    1
    I'd capitalize. But whatever you do, be consistent.
     

Share This Page