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September 17, 2019


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Hi Lynn!

That's interesting, I had never noticed that English requires capitalization of words followed by numbers or letters!

I also like Gregg's approach. I've got a question about that though. In the first line it reads "that indicates sequence". I'm unsure about what that means in practical terms, would you mind giving examples?

Business Writing Blog

Hi Deborah,

"That indicates sequence" refers to items rendered sequentially. Think of Chapters 4–7, Tables 1 and 2, and Exhibit A. Does that make sense?

Thanks for asking for clarification.


Patty Rechberger

I like Chicago, but I don't think that I am completely consistent about it. Had to read the article a couple of times to get a better grasp at the rules. I may be referring back to it next time I write numbers on a document.

As usual, thank you for the helpful article, Lynn!

Jenn Sullivan

Can you please advise if when discussing a lot number while discussing a parcel of land if lot would be capitalized? My thought is that it would because it's a specific lot of many for a specific address. An example would be: "Lot 6 and Lot 7 of 123 Main Street will be divided equally, but Lots 8 and 9 will remain the same." Thank you for your guidance.

Business Writing Blog

Patty, you are welcome. If you use "Chicago" consistently, your job is easier when it comes to nouns followed by numbers: Always lowercase except with proper nouns. I myself like the look of the capital letters, so I follow "Gregg."


Business Writing Blog

Jenn, your capitalization is correct. It follows the "Gregg" approach. Beyond that, it refers to a specific address, as you said.


Jane Braynard Barr

Hi, Lynn,

Our community college business department instructors have used two main reference manuals over the years. Gregg has been more popular with those in the legal field, and HOW 14: A Handbook for Office Professionals (Clark & Clark, Cengage Publishing, 2017) has been used in most other business courses. I prefer HOW for its ease of use, though Gregg is unarguably more comprehensive. Now that Gregg is unlikely to be updated, HOW is our default choice. (HOW is pricey but well worth it.)

HOW suggests in Section 3-4 that we "[c]apitalize word-numeral and word-letter combinations except in references to pages, paragraphs, lines, verses, sizes, and vitamins."

I'm with you in preferring to avoid the sometimes quirky rules in the Chicago Manual of Style. Thank you for sharing your research and findings in the Gregg, Chicago, and AP manuals. Wouldn't it be nice if they could all "get along"?




For the question (stage 3 cancer OR Stage 3 cancer), I would suggest that since "cancer" is not capitalized then any stages (or parts) of it would also not be capitalized. I feel that way because cancer is the main, significant topic. We follow its example (lowercase), and not be anything greater than it (such as uppercase would imply). But that is not proven, only my thought.
Thank you, Roderick

Business Writing Blog

Jane, thank you for sharing the HOW rules. I had forgotten about that helpful manual, which I used to consult many years ago. The rule on vitamins surprised me!

Yes, wouldn't it be great if the style manuals agreed? But then we might be out of a job.

I apologize for my slow response to your comment. It came while I was traveling.


Business Writing Blog

Roderick, thank you for your recommendation on "stage 3 cancer." It makes good sense.


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