Sunday, January 16, 2005

Why the Caps?

OK, this one shouldn't take long. Don't run the following sentence:

Store General Manager Ellis McWhirter said rabid dogs had destroyed the pet food aisle.

Why not? "General Manager" is a descriptive title. It tells us McWhirter's role in running the supermarket. He was not elected to the post. He was not chosen by a government official for the job. He's general manager Ellis McWhirter.

I've worked for newspapers on both ends of the spectrum. At one end, a former employer required all titles be lowercase -- except for those of elected officials. At the other end, my current employer has a liberal policy, allowing for "Professor" and "Principal."

In any event, we don't bestow extra capital letters on supermarket management. Sorry.