I just have one sentence that I can't find the right use of capitalization. This is the sentence, any help would be much appreciated.

Abraham Lincoln is the sixteenth president of the United States.


**Should the words "sixteenth" and "president" be capitalized?

Thank you!

asked Mar 09 '12 at 19:55 Lisa New member

1 answer


The Chicago Manual of Style agrees with Lisa's sentence as written. Ranks and titles are capitalized only when they immediately proceed a proper name. So "Lincoln was president" but "President Lincoln was ...." The exceptions to the rule can be troublesome, as shown by the following:


"The President of the United States ...." but "The president of General Motors ...." See the Chicago Manual of Style of an explanation.


"President Nixon resigned ...." but "General Motors' president Henry Miller said ...." In this case, president is not used as a honorific (so not capitalized) but as an office belonging to General Motors. Again see the Chicago Manual of Style.


(My writing is subject to CMS standards, but I believe the Modern Language Association's styleguide provides similar guidance.)

link comment answered Mar 10 '12 at 02:37 Jeff Pribyl Grammarly Fellow

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