I am writing about the Wright Brothers. If, later in the document, I shorten it to just "the Brothers", should I still capitalize brothers? It's seems that I should since I'm referring to a very specific pair of individuals, but it looks unusual.
Similar, but not the same as this question.

  • 1
    Personally, in the collocation "Wright Brothers", I would always capitalise the B - since they are well-enough understood as an entity to be accorded proper noun status. See this article However when referring to "the brothers" simply as a pair of individuals I think I would leave it in lower case. But I see no harm here in maintaining the capitalisation. – WS2 Mar 26 '20 at 13:55
  • 4
    @WS2 Your example plumps for 'Wright brothers' in running text. // The 'Marx Brothers' must be capitalised, and I'd say that the capitalisation is still required when the abbreviated form the 'Brothers' is used. (Not of course in 'Leonard, Arthur and Julius had three other brothers). The 'Beverley Sisters' is rarely abbreviated, and a generic 'sisters' is more likely. I'd say the 'Brothers' is unlikely for Orville and Wilbur (they're less of a 'combo'/troupe), so I'd go with generic 'brothers' when used as a single term. But I prefer the honorific Wright Brothers. – Edwin Ashworth Mar 26 '20 at 14:38
  • ... NASA seem to prefer 'the Wright Brothers' in running text, but they are perhaps in the minority. Neither form is incorrect. – Edwin Ashworth Mar 26 '20 at 14:49
  • 2
    The Wright Brothers team consisted of the two Wright brothers. – CJ Dennis Mar 27 '20 at 0:45

I believe you should not even capitalise 'brothers' in 'Wright brothers' (with a possible exception of the title or a section header of your writing). That makes it somewhat difficult to advise on how to proceed once you've started capitalising it.

See Wikipedia, Encyclopaedia Britannica, Encyclopedia.com, New World Encyclopedia, and countless other examples. (Look in the text bodies.)


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.