Capitalization of the word "counties"
Do I capitalize the word counties in the following sentence?
I am traveling to Genesee and Shiawassee counties today.
I agree with Tolley’s answer.
However, I recently had the following discussion with a friend’s sister, who is a copy editor (thankfully not mine). She argued a different view: since the proper name (for the place we were discussing) is County of San Joaquín, it should be San Joaquín county, not San Joaquín County. Her contention was that “county” was being used as an adjective and thus was not part of the name. She cited “the sheriff did not pursue when the suspect crossed the San Joaquin county line.”
I said her sentence was not a valid example—county line is a single-function noun+noun where the first noun modifies the second. In this case, “county” is clearly not part of the proper name.
It was my position that even if San Joaquín County is not the official name, it is in common use as a proper name. Examples shown in the Chicago Manual of Style seem to support this.
But when it came to the plural—San Joaquin and Stanislaus Counties—I found myself on shakier ground. Again, she argued that “counties” was functioning as an adjective, not as part of a proper name. Unfortunately, I could not find any plural examples in Chicago to support my position.
|link||answered Jun 15 '12 at 18:17 Jeff Pribyl Grammarly Fellow|
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