Capitalization of Phrases


PerfectIt suggests there may be a possible issue if authors write a name or phrase using capital letters in one location but write the same phrase without capitals in another. For instance, PerfectIt will suggest there may be an issue if ‘Members of the Board’ is also written ‘members of the board’ elsewhere in the text. Style guides offer a variety of suggestions for the capitalization of names and phrases such as jobs, government departments, titles, public bodies, geographic features, churches, schools and departments. This check helps to ensure that authors are consistent in the capitalization choices that they make. There are, however, a number of exceptions to be aware of. And it is important to check each location/usage separately.

Exception 1: Specific and the General

Some authors prefer to use different capitalization for the specific and the general. For instance, an author may choose to refer to ‘Norfolk County’ as ‘in the County there are…’ but refer to the general case without capitals, e.g. ‘a county may have numerous…’. If this is the case, you should look carefully for such instances before pressing Fix.

Exception 2: Differences in Meaning

Differences in meaning mean that some words will appear both capitalized and in lowercase; for example, the word ‘states’ may have different meanings when capitalized and in lowercase: ‘the States left the Union’ has a different meaning to ‘he states the truth’. PerfectIt will find an issue here even though there is not one. You should therefore skip these instances without pressing Fix or, if there are several locations, each should be checked to make sure that no instances are left incorrect.

Exception 3: Special Cases

Some words and phrases may be capitalized in some uses but not in others. For example, ‘His’ is capitalized when used in reference to God but ‘his’ is lowercase elsewhere. You should make sure to check for exceptions like these.

Increasing the Power of the Check

PerfectIt recognizes capitalized phrases through context. When that context changes, sometimes PerfectIt will find more phrases to correct. This is especially the case with large documents that have many capitalization issues. To pick up an even higher number of capitalization issues, after you have fixed all of the possible issues in this check, you can repeat the check and some additional items may be found.

The Order of Results

In all of the other checks, PerfectIt displays locations in the order in which they appear in the text. The same is usually true for the Capitalization of Phrases check. However, in some instances, PerfectIt will find phrases that could be part of another phrase. For instance ‘Lost Ark’ could be part of the phrase ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’. Where this is the case, these entries will be located at the end of the list of possible locations.


PerfectIt will be less accurate in documents where headings or sub-headings are included within the same paragraph as the body of the text. For example,

Years of Residency: The number of years of residency should be calculated and included.

Since the sub-heading ‘Years of Residency’ is included in the same line as the rest of the text, PerfectIt may fail to identify some capitalized phrases in that paragraph.

Customizing the Check image0

You can set preferences for Capitalization of Phrases in the Always Find and Never Find tabs of the style sheet editor or you can customize the check as you work.