home mechanics of style

Capitalization

Words are capitalized in APS publications according to the conventional rules, as presented in CBE, 5th and 6th eds., and in Chicago Manual of Style. Some characteristic examples of usage in APS journals are given below.

First Word in a Sentence

You may begin a sentence with an all-caps abbreviation or acronym; the abbreviation should not be expanded if it was defined earlier. The word following the abbreviation should lowercase unless it is a proper noun or another acronym. Do not capitalize the words from which an acronym is derived.

An abbreviation that begins with a lowercase letter, or a term that must remain lowercase should not be changed to all caps when it begins a sentence; it should not be expanded. The word following should be is lowercase unless it is a proper noun or another acronym. If possible, reword the sentence so that it does not begin with the lowercase term

mRNA expression in the midcaudal arcuate nucleus of the rat brain is decreased by lactation.

change to

Lactation expression decreases mRNA expression in the midcaudal arcuate nucleus of the rat brain.

If the sentence starts with a hyphenated term that begins with a capital letter, the portion of the term following the hyphen should not be capitalized.

NH2-terminal-inserted myosin II heavy chain is expressed in smooth muscle of small muscular arteries.

Ca2+-dependent electrical activity of airway smooth muscle induced by TEA is suppressed by cAMP.

If the sentence starts with a hyphenated term beginning with a lowercase or smallcap letter, a Greek letter, or a number, the portion of the term following the the hyphen should be capitalized.

γ-Aminobutyric acid stimulates acid secretion from the isolated guinea pig stomach.

L-Glutamine and L-asparagine stimulate Na+-H+ exchange in porcine jejunal enterocytes.

Taxonomic Terminology

In genus-species names, only the genus name is capitalized.

Escherichia coli
Homo sapiens
Staphylococcus aureus

Taxon names are capitalized, but set roman. Adjectives derived from taxon names are not capitalized.

Mammalia
Hominidae

mammalian
hominid

Other Capitalized Terms

Maintain caps for proper names used in scientific terminology.

Golgi apparatus
Lucifer yellow
Epon
Purkinje cells
Teflon
Sylgard

In statistical tests, capitalize only proper names. The word "test" is never capitalized

Student's t-test
Wilcoxon rank sum test

If the author uses all caps for a term that is not an acronym, change lowercase with the first letter capitalized. APS Style discourages multiple uses of all-cap terms in text.

CONTROL group
NO EFFECT group
BIPHASIC units

change to

Control group
No Effect group
Biphasic units

Words derived from proper nouns are usually not capitalized; follow Stedman's for the latest medical terminology and Webster's Collegiate Dictonary, latest edition, for current spelling.

Candida, candidiasis
Parkinson, parkinsonian
Gram's stain, gram-positive, gram-negative
India, india ink

Proprietary names, such as trademarks, brand names of drugs and/or equipment, are always capitalized.

Dacron implant
Silastic catheter
Teflon-coated electromagnetic needle

Viruses frequently have capitals in their vernacular names; do not change to lowercase. Viruses may also be designated by acronyms. See p. 389 in CBE, 6th edition, for some generally accepted abbreviations.

potato virus X
PM2 phage
Lolium enation virus
ECBO virus (enteric cytopathic bovine orphan virus)
HTLV-I (human T-cell leukemia virus I)

Commonly used German nouns (e.g., windkessel, pendelluft, zeitgeber, etc.) should be lowercase. However, when encountered in article titles in the reference list, leave such words capitalized, even though APS Style usually stipulates thaty90t article titles should have only the first word capitalized.

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last edited 07/30/03