In the following sentence, should guest of honour be capitalized?

Ms. Joe Doe (DTM), the District Governor of Toastmasters International was the Guest of Honour during the charter party on March 23, 2008.

It looks a bit weird to me, and I am trying to find something that will support writing it (or not) this way.

  • It looks fine to me. Particularly if it was written by/for someone/some organisation wishing to elevate the status of the event and/or individuals involved. Dec 21 '11 at 4:05

If you're talking about guests of honor in general, it definitely should be lowercase. However, as in your example, if you are talking about a specific guest of honor on a specific occasion, it could count as what Wikipedia calls a specific designator, so grammatically either way should be acceptable. However, looking at Ngrams to determine usage, it generally seems not to be capitalized.

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  • cool, never heard about Ngrams. So does that mean that the majority of people is wrong or that capitalizing/specific designator is a fairly new trend?
    – 0x4B1D
    Dec 21 '11 at 2:56
  • Wikipedia says that deciding whether something counts as a specific designator for the purposes of capitalization "is somewhat arbitrary, which is to say, individuals can make different choices without either one being 'wrong'". So I'd say both decisions are grammatical. Dec 21 '11 at 2:57

Apparently, the phrase has been capitalized to emphasize the status in which the person was present.

If Ms. Joe Doe (DTM), was the District Governor of Toastmasters International, she was also the Guest of Honour at the charter party.

It seems customary to mention of the Chairperson or Chief Guest at (of) a meeting.

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