Capitalization: Generic terms

Capitalize generic terms when they are used as part of a proper name.

Gray’s Lake
Atlantic Ocean
Locust Street
the Statue of Liberty
New York State
East Coast
West Coast
Craftsman Era
Victorian Age

Lowercase generic terms when they are used descriptively or to define.

Atlantic and Pacific oceans
on lakes Superior and Erie
the streets Locust and Grand
chapters 1 and 2 (but Chapter 1 and Chapter 2)
in rows 3 and 4 (but in Row 3 or Row 4)
Better Homes and Gardens® magazine

Lowercase generic terms used alone for the whole name, even if the meaning is specific.

the St. Louis Arch (the arch)
the Statue of Liberty (the statue)

EXCEPTIONS:

the Canal (Panama Canal)
the Channel (the English Channel)
the District (the District of Columbia)
the Falls (Niagara Falls)
the Gulf (Gulf of Mexico)
the Islands (Philippine or Hawaiian Islands)

If in doubt about generic terms, lowercase them.

 


 

Capitalization
Acronyms
After colons
Company names
Directions and regions
Generic terms
Headlines
Job titles
Product names
Websites

Zones

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