Posted by: Jack Henry | October 16, 2012

Editor’s Corner: Articles on Particles

As I was looking for some information on capitalization today, I did a double-take when I saw a listing in the Chicago Manual of Style for “Particles.” The only particles I studied in school were in the science courses…what could they be?

Here is what I found in the CMOS:

Names with particles

Many names include particles such as de, d’, de la, von, van, and ten. Practice with regard to capitalizing and spacing the particles varies widely, and confirmation should be sought in a biographical dictionary or other authoritative source. When the surname is used alone, the particle is usually retained, capitalized or lowercased and spaced as in the full name (though always capitalized when beginning a sentence). Le, La, and L’ are always capitalized when not preceded by de; the, which sometimes appears with the English form of a Native American name, is always lowercased.

Here are some examples listing the person’s full name, followed by the last name only:

Alfonse D’Amato; D’Amato

Diana DeGette; DeGette

Walter de la Mare; de la Mare

Thomas De Quincey; De Quincey

W. E. B. DuBois; DuBois

Daphne du Maurier; du Maurier

Robert M. La Follette Sr.; La Follette

John Le Carré; Le Carré

Pierre-Charles L’Enfant; L’Enfant

Anwar el-Sadat; Sadat

Abraham Ten Broeck; Ten Broeck

Robert van Gulik; van Gulik

Stephen Van Rensselaer; Van Rensselaer

Wernher von Braun; von Braun

If that’s not enough for you, CMOS has additional topics and rules for names in each of the following languages: French, German, Portuguese, Italian, Dutch, Spanish, Russian, Hungarian, Arabic, Chinese, and Japanese. I don’t know about you, but I am so thankful that our everyday work no longer includes bibliographies!

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