AP Style avoids unnecessary capitalization.


  • Chairman, chairwoman: Capitalize as a formal title before a name; do not capitalize as a casual position. Do not use chairperson, chair or co-chair unless it is the organization’s formal title for an office.
  • Cities: Capitalize if it is part of proper name, an integral part of an official nickname or a regularly used nickname: Baltimore City, New York City, the Windy City, City of Hope. (Lowercase elsewhere: a North Carolina city, the city government, the city of Charlotte.)
  • Conferences, lecture series, symposia: Capitalize formal names: The National Conference on Wrongful Convictions and the Death Penalty.
  • Deity, sacred books and religions: God, Allah, the Bible, the Koran, Christianity, Judaism.
  • Directions and regions: Capitalize when designating regions. Tornadoes devastated parts of the Midwest. Settlers from the East migrated West. (Lowercase when referring to compass points. She traveled east for the lecture. The storm is moving northwest.)
  • Geographical areas and localities: the Eastern Shore, New York City.
  • Government bodies: U.S. Congress, Baltimore City Council.
  • Historical period: the Great Depression, the Enlightenment.
  • Holidays: Memorial Day, Halloween.
  • The start of titles of publications or works of art if it is part of the formal title: The Washington Post, The Canterbury Tales.
  • Job titles: (President, Professor) when they precede a proper name. History Professor Joseph Brown was the speaker. (Lower case with the title appears after a name. Joseph Brown, professor of history, was the professor of history, was the speaker.)
  • Proper nouns and proper names.
  • Registered trademarks: Xerox, General Electric.


  • Derivative adjectives: french fries.
  • Nouns used with numbers to designate chapters, pages, etc.: chapter 1, page 125.
  • Simple directions: the east coast of Maryland.
  • The word “the” before a formal name: He attends the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. (Note: The University of North Carolina at Charlotte is an exception to the AP style guidelines.)