Tips from the Writing Center: Capitalization

Capitalization is often a difficult task for NEOMED students and faculty. While it may seem obvious, even the self-identifying word, “I,” is sometimes left uncapitalized. Did you know we don’t capitalize the emergency department (ED), but we do capitalize the Department of Emergency Medicine? Does the intensive care unit trick you into capitalizing it? Well, you do if you write ICU. The words obstetrics and gynecology are left down, but GYN/OB is up. Down syndrome is capitalized, but hepatitis B is not, well, except for the A, B and C. Did you know when you write foot-and-mouth disease you should use hyphens, but it is not capitalized? Golgi apparatus and Tourette syndrome is, but acquired immune deficiency syndrome is not unless you write AIDS. Identifying the proper nouns and proper adjectives in medicine is difficult and NEOMED students and faculty must slow down and ask questions; your credibility depends on it.

- submitted by Brian Harrell, Writing Center Specialist

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