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When to Capitalize People’s Titles

When should you capitalize someone’s title?

I get this question quite often so here are some guidelines:

Rule: Capitalize a person’s title when it follows the name on the address or signature line.

Examples: Sincerely, Margaret Haines, Chairperson

Margaret Haines, Chairperson
1234 South Wallace St.
Portland, OR 97232

Rule: Capitalize the titles of high-ranking government officials when used with or before their names.
Do not capitalize the civil title if it is used instead of the name.


The president will address Congress.

All senators are expected to attend.

The governors, lieutenant governors, and attorneys general called for a special task force.

Governor Connelly, Lieutenant Governor Martinez, and Senators James and Hennessy will attend the meeting.

Rule: Capitalize a title when used as a direct address even when the person is not named.


Will you be holding a press conference, Madame President?

Please give us your opinion of this latest development, Senator.

We need your response quickly, Mr. President.

We need your response quickly, President Obama.

Will you help me with my homework, Dad?

Due to the E-Newsletter's large readership, we are unable to respond to individual English usage questions.

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Apt Anagrams
An anagram is a word or phrase made by rearranging the letters of another word or phrase. Check out these:

  • Dormitory — dirty room
  • Slot Machines — cash lost in 'em
  • Desperation — a rope ends it

68 One-Minute English Usage Videos

English In A Snap: 68 One-Minute English Usage Videos FREE 

Learn all about who and whom, affect and effect, subjects and verbs, adjectives and adverbs, commas, semicolons, quotation marks, and much more by just sitting back and enjoying these easy-to-follow lessons. Tell your colleagues (and boss), children, teachers, and friends. Click here to watch.

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