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.
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  • 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, 2020 at 13:55
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    @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. Mar 26, 2020 at 14:38
  • ... NASA seem to prefer 'the Wright Brothers' in running text, but they are perhaps in the minority. Neither form is incorrect. Mar 26, 2020 at 14:49
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    The Wright Brothers team consisted of the two Wright brothers.
    – CJ Dennis
    Mar 27, 2020 at 0:45

1 Answer 1


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.)


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