When to use Lowercase

Here are the rules when not to capitalize terms.

Use lowercase for directional parts of states and directional parts of counties. CC_ID 06178


  • northern Indiana

  • central Tippecanoe County

  • midwestern states

Use lowercase for general designations of buildings. CC_ID 06179


  • library in Fort Wayne (but, the Fort Wayne Library)

  • the county courthouse

  • the Indianapolis post offices

Use lowercase for the words government or federal. CC_ID 06180

This applies except when “federal” is a part of the name of the agency or statute). However, use “United States” instead of “federal” when referring to a specific entity that does not have “federal” in the name. Always use the correct name of an agency. Examples:

  • United States government;

  • federal agencies (but, Federal Bureau of Investigation)

Use lowercase for the name of any legislative body, judiciary body, administrative body or government department unless specifically instructed to capitalize them. CC_ID 06181

This applies unless the name refers to a federal body, department, etc. Examples:

  • Indiana general assembly;

  • Indiana senate;

  • department of state revenue;

  • Congress of the United States;

  • Supreme Court of the United States

Use lowercase for official titles of state, official titles of county, or official titles of municipal officers, commissions, committees, or official titles of funds unless specifically instructed to capitalize them. CC_ID 06182


  • clerk of the circuit court;

  • board of county commissioners;

  • public employees' retirement fund;

  • commission on the aging and aged;

  • legislative services agency;

  • state general fund

Use lowercase for substitutes for official titles if a person's name is not used. CC_ID 06183


  • the governor;

  • the commissioner;

  • the speaker of the house

Use lowercase for references to laws on a particular subject. CC_ID 06184


  • motor vehicle laws;

  • federal election laws;

  • federal tax laws (but, Internal Revenue Code)

Use lowercase for season names. CC_ID 06185


  • spring;

  • summer session

Use lowercase for email addresses and URLs

RFC 2822 specifies that all email addresses and URLs are case sensitive. Therefore, always use lowercase for both email addresses and URLs.


  • thedorian@snortblat.com

  • www.snortblat.com

Use lowercase following a defined term in a list


Chicago Style – tells you to ignore using bold unless absolutely necessary.

APA Style – doesn’t cover bold at all.

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