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When writing a proposal letter for a price quote in the construction construction industry, is it correct to capitalize terms such as customer/owner/client? Many estimators tend to do so, but it doesn't seem correct to me since the terms are not defined anywhere on the proposal letter.

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    Generally, you should not capitalize any of those words because you are not directly addressing the person(s)' name or identity. With some words, you can, for example, "principal" would be lowercase by itself, while "Principal Smith" would be uppercase. You cannot do this with customer, owner, or client (You wouldn't say "Owner Smith" or "Customer Smith")
    – Anibanani
    Jun 13, 2017 at 23:57

2 Answers 2

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From my experience and what I can locate online, capitalization in something like a contract is a placeholder for a proper noun.

The phrase "herein referred to as Client" is one example. However, I cannot find any official english usage that supports this.

Both of these examples would seem to indicate that using or not using capitalization is a matter of style:

http://www.adamsdrafting.com/go-easy-on-the-capitalization/

https://lawyerist.com/6067/stop-writing-stupidly/

The construction industry, but really any industry that deals in contracts may do this out of habit. Client is a reference to the client, John Doe. For someone who writes contracts or deals with those types of legal documents, I can certainly see how this habit can be formed.

When writing a proposal letter, the capitalization is optional. However, if you want to write it correctly, consistency is key. For example:

"Client agrees to perform the action and the client also agrees to provide feedback in a timely manner."

Here Client and the client are used, creating an inconsistency in the writing. Now, most everyone can understand that they mean the same, but to be 100% correct, pick one. Either use Client or the client throughout the proposal, but not both.

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Use the capitalized form if you are referring to the previously-defined definition of it (alternate: put the lowercase version in quotation marks, and define accordingly, e.g. "client" means Writing Better English Services Inc.; the following services will be supplied to "client": ...).

Use the lowercase form if you are referring to a generic client and not a specific one.

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