Style question

When you have feudal ranks in a fantasy setting, (kings, princesses, lords etc.) what looks right/natural/preferable to you as far as capitalization? I realize that when it’s [Rank] [Name], caps are always proper. But what about “and he brought it before the Princess/princess”? “Then said the King/king…”? I have seen both, but I’m wondering if the capped version is mostly found in children’s or young people’s stories.

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My first reaction would be to use the capitalized versions, as they lend more gravitas to the titles. I feel this is appropriate in a fantasy setting.


This could be a reason to do the opposite, use the uncapitalized versions, to emphasize that in this world, kings are also just humans/mortals.

Using caps or not can be a subtle way of conveying to the player how the narrator feels about these nobles. Taking this a step further, perhaps the inhabitants of the setting could refer to the nobles in caps when talking about them, in a dialogue situation. Meanwhile the narration could be uncapitalized to leave out the sense of awe that comes with the caps, with the narrator being more distanced or neutral.

There are shades of nuance you can employ with capitalization, dependent on the weight of the nobles’ roles in your world.

Above all, of course, be consistent.


Well, the Chicago Manual of Style would lowercase them, and because that’s what I’ve mostly used for work, that’s what I tend to do, but certainly there’s no one correct answer here. Totally subjectively, I feel like capping them gives more of a fairytale flavor.


Both good answers, and along the lines of what I was feeling. When I began this game over three years ago, I gravitated to the capped form, but later on thought, “that’s probably not proper”, and proceeded to start eradicating them. Now I’m sort of wishing I’d left them in, but like @rovarsson said, it might look tacky if I use them interchangeably. Although, my character is somewhat quirky, and is referred to so many (hundreds of) times by the narrators that it almost seems fitting that he would be sometimes capped and sometimes uncapped. Any thoughts on that?

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I’d play it safe and use caps for proper nouns and lowercase otherwise, as per convention.

@rovarsson’s suggestion could work, but then you’d need to be absolutely consistent, and clearly signal your intent in using caps or non-caps in particular circumstances, otherwise your cleverness might be simply misinterpreted as carelessness and nit-picky players like me, who can’t play a text game without also testing it (whether hired for that job or not), will be forever pointing out the inconsistency.


I’ve always done capital when proper, lower-case when not, although in your mythology the office itself might warrant a capital letter, so just be consistent.

President Biden is in the Oval Office.
The Oval Office is used by whomever is the president.

My Dad drove me to the store.
You don’t know, that could be someone’s dad.


Thanks all… I’ll probably keep the lowercase. It would be too much trouble to hunt and change every occurrence in the source, and even though I feel like my character could legitimately get away with some caps and some uncaps, most likely that would bug players rather than otherwise…


well,because there’s actually an english-language country where royalty and nobility still matters, UK manual of styles can be of help…

Best regards from Italy,
dott. Piergiorgio