I realize this is quite basic, capitalization, but my husband and I went round a few times about how it works in actuality. Jeff Anderson, Everyday Editing, lists it out:
Proper nouns, proper adjectives, titles, first word of a direct quotation, and titles used before a person’s name.
But what makes things specific enough to capitalize? Capitalized words denote specificity. A shift to less specific nouns causes a change in tone and voice.
Anderson provides a great example:
The original: Lucky Trimble crouched in a wedge of shade behind the Dumpster. Her ear near a hole in the paint-chipped wall of Hard Pan’s Found Object Wind Chime Museum and Visitor Center, she listened as Short Sammy told the story of how he hit rock-bottom.
Without specificity: A girl crouched in a wedge of shade behind the thing. Her ear near a hole in the paint-chipped wall of the place, she listened as a man told the story of how he hit rock-bottom.
Lack of specificity definitely changes the feel.
A quick example: oak. It’s a specific kind of tree. Should it be capitalized? No. It’s still a generic type of tree, not a specific oak tree.
Where hubby and I ran into trouble is with things like christening. Should it be capitalized? Turns out not. (I was right. LOL)
As always, exercises tomorrow.