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4.08 Titles of office or rank

(a) Capitalize civil, military, religious and professional titles and titles of nobility when they precede and form part of a personal name:

  • Archbishop Gervais
  • Finance Minister Paul Martin
  • General de Chastelain
  • Lord Carrington
  • Pope John Paul II
  • President Clinton
  • Prime Minister Chrétien
  • Professor Layton
  • Queen Elizabeth II

(b) Capitalize all titles following and placed in apposition to a personal name, except those denoting professions:

  • Clare Smith, Director of Public Affairs
  • Ron Irwin, Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

but

  • Jane Tanaka, professor of physics

(c) Capitalize a title referring to a specific person and used as a substitute for that person’s name, even if it is a short form:

  • the President of the Treasury Board
  • the Chief, Public Affairs Section
  • the Leader of the Opposition
  • According to the Assistant Deputy Minister, this is a unique agreement.
  • They discussed the matter with the Colonel.
  • The Archbishop made no further comment.

(d) Do not capitalize spelled-out titles in the plural or titles preceded by an indefinite article:

  • the lieutenant-governors of Quebec and Ontario
  • a member of Parliament

but

  • the Member for Winnipeg North Centre

(e) Capitalize abbreviated titles in the plural:

  • We met Profs. Sami and Nicolet.

(f) Do not capitalize titles modified by a possessive or other type of adjective, or by an indefinite article:

  • They discussed it with their colonel.
  • They discussed it with the former ambassador.
  • They discussed it with the Canadian prime minister.
  • They discussed it with a member of Parliament.

(g) Capitalize titles only when they refer to a specific person; do not capitalize a term that refers to a role rather than a person:

  • As prime minister [that is, while occupying a certain position], Lester Pearson introduced the new Canadian flag.
  • The production manager [any person who occupies that position] assigns schedules.

(h) Occupational titles used descriptively are normally followed by a complete personal name. They should not be capitalized in writing for general readers, although corporate requirements and the expectations of a specialized readership often result in a more liberal use of capital letters:

  • manager Cito Gaston
  • production superintendent Anna Chang
  • technical writer John Lipon

(i) Do not capitalize adjectives derived from titles unless they are part of a title:

  • episcopal
  • papal
  • ministerial correspondence
  • presidential prerogative
  • Rabbinical College of Telshe

(j) Capitalize titles of respect and forms of address, even when used in the plural:

  • Your Honour
  • Your Grace
  • Your Excellencies
  • Mr. Chairman
  • Their Royal Highnesses
  • Her Worship