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I understand that "doctor" would typically only be capitalized when referring to a specific person with that title, and otherwise is a regular old noun without capitalization.

Would its use in the following sentence be capitalized or not? I feel like it's incorrect to be in lowercase - or maybe it should be in italics?

  • "I haven’t had the title of doctor taken from me, but I have a feeling it is forthcoming."

2 Answers 2

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According to the Blue Book, you should only capitalize the title when you are addressing the person or using them to refer to a specific person who holds the title.

Your sentence is correct

More examples on capitalization in this nice summary

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This is one of the greyer areas. Looking through the results for a Google search for "holds the title doctor" does not turn up a lot of results, but

(1) as far as I've checked, almost all of those results where 'doctor' is part of a more explicit title have 'doctor' capitalised:

  • ... holds the title Doctor of Science ...
  • ... holds the title Doctor of Jurisprudence ...
  • ... holds the title Doctor of Chiropractic ...
  • ... holds the title Doctor Honoris Causa from Blaise Pascal University ...

(amongst others) while

(2) most of the few examples I've found where 'doctor' is stand-alone use lower case, for example:

  • any audiologist who holds the title doctor has earned a clinical doctorate in audiology [American Academy of Audiology]

  • As above your passport doesn't have a Dr field, it says 'holds the title doctor' on the official observations. [Reddit; Google]

Note that none of the above uses italicisation, which (with capitalisation) would have been my choice for your example sentence until a few years ago. And inverted commas (and quite possibly no 'of') would have been unsurprising in the not too distant past. This remains a style choice, but it's usually best to adopt the most usual practice in these matters.

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