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Suppose there is a Department of English (note: the name is not English Department) at Abc University. I want to know the correct use of capital letters in these sentences:

  1. The Department of English at Abc University is really old.
  2. The English Department of Abc University is really old.
  3. The English department of Abc University is really old.

I know 1. is correct, but I am not sure about 2 and 3. I am also confused about the appropriateness of the usage of of in 2 and 3.

Any help is appreciated.

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Names should be capitalized, so if you refer to the department by its “official” name, The Department of English, you should capitalize the first word and all subsequent “non-connecting” words (so not and, or, of, in, etc).

However, if you’re just describing the department, in your case, The English department, you should capitalize only the names, so English, Abc, etc.

To answer you question, I believe (1) and (3) are good.

  • A quick glance through the first couple of pages of results for "the english department at" university suggests that most people capitalise "Department" in such contexts. But I doubt many if any of those English departments are actually called "[The] English Department" - it's nearly always "Department of English". – FumbleFingers Oct 20 '12 at 14:06

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