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I'm updating the website for my student organization. Link. Officially, we are the Texas A&M University Student Branch of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

The banner at the top has the title of the national organization, the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, and a subtitle describing this organization:

A Professional Society for Aerospace Engineering (a)

  1. Shouldn't the P and S be lowercase?

A professional society for Aerospace Engineering (b)

I vaguely remember reading in elementary school that the last word of a title should begin with a capital letter, so Engineering. If engineering is capitalized, then Aerospace should be capitalized as well, otherwise the title would look weird. However, I then feel that the resulting subtitle b looks funny. Is it funny or am I just used to capitalizing letters?

  1. Also, which is the correct abbreviation of our title: AIAA-TAMU, TAMU-AIAA, or neither? I would like to learn the rules behind your logic.

--An engineering student who cares about grammar (except for any mistakes in this post. It's late and I'm tired)

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There's no firm rule. Consider looking at a style book for your own college. If you don't know what that is, ask someone at, eg., the college newspaper.

Personally I would "A professional society for aerospace engineering" (or indeed aerospace industry) because I loathe excess capitals.

Note that - very simply - there is absolutely no reason, at all, for capitals in that sentence; any more than say this sentence.

A "subtitle" is nothing more than a sentence.

(By all means, you could note that for example, highway billboards often have all caps .. DRINK MILLER BEER. And maybe just a design matter it should be all caps. But that's sort of, not English you know, that's a design issue. Like, sure, maybe it should be done in a circle like a stamp ... whatever.)

If it's a sentence, it has no caps.

"I vaguely remember reading in elementary school..." that was complete crap, forget it.

TAMU-AIAA versus AIAA-TAMU. If this is your official name: "Texas A&M University Student Branch of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics" - official meaning it appears thus on some sort of government document, or any similar "registration" document - then the best choice is exactly that order.

So, TAMU-AIAA.

  • Style books! I completely forgot about that. In fact, TAMU rather strictly controls its public image, so I'm sure the publicity office will have an opinion. Thanks! – techSultan Jun 3 '15 at 4:15
  • What if we replace Aerospace Engineering with Aerospace Industry? Should I still keep A and I capital, or is that a devolution from Aerospace Engineering? – techSultan Jun 3 '15 at 4:16
  • (I beg your pardon, I made a typo.) It should be all lower case. It's this extremely simple: there is utterly no reason, at all, for capitals in that sentence. Case closed. It would be Like If I wrote this sentence like this. It's "just silly", there's simply no reason for it. – Fattie Jun 3 '15 at 4:22
  • I agree that the best solution is to look at a style guide or ask publicity office. This subtitle is not in fact a complete sentence, only a noun phrase. – sumelic Jun 3 '15 at 5:01
  • tech - yes the simple fact is TAMU will have guidelines on this. not unlike with any product; say you are a partner of, oh, Apple, and you use their logo etc ("works with Apple!" sort of thing), there are always careful usage guidelines. essentially that's the answer here. – Fattie Jun 3 '15 at 9:12

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