For example, which of the following is correct?


log2 fold change of A is larger than that of B.


Log2 fold change of A is larger than that of B.

I was thinking "log2" is a function name and don't need to be capitalized.

  • Are you using a specific style guide?
    – Laurel
    Apr 30, 2018 at 3:58
  • @Laurel, no. Actually I do know whether there are some style guides about this. Would you suggest one for me?
    – mt1022
    Apr 30, 2018 at 4:44

2 Answers 2


Since you're not using any style guide, you have freedom (just be consistent). I would avoid starting a sentence with log because it's a little weird. Instead, use an apposition:

A good general rule is: never start a sentence with a symbol. If you insist on starting the sentence with a mention of the thing the symbol denotes, put the appropriate word in apposition, thus: “The set X belongs to the class C, . . . ”.
How to write Mathematics

If you're writing a label (as you say you're doing in one comment), I wouldn't capitalize it. The Chicago Manual of Style recommends lowercase in this situation:

Labels, the descriptive items within a chart, are normally lowercased (with the exception of proper nouns or other terms that would be capitalized in running text); if phrases, they may be capitalized sentence-style.

You will rarely find log capitalized, but it is occasionally done.

  • Well explained. I am revising a scientific article, I think I should stick to the style guide like the one mentioned.
    – mt1022
    Apr 30, 2018 at 5:59

You can avoid the problem entirely by starting the sentence with another word, i.e., by writing "The log2 fold change of A is larger than that of B."

  • I usually do it as you suggested. But sometimes it workaround is not allowed, for example, when need to put it as x-axis label of a figure.
    – mt1022
    Apr 30, 2018 at 4:46

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