When do we capitalize the word 'state'?

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Kiljori
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When do we capitalize the word 'state'?

Postby Kiljori » Sun Jul 05, 2015 11:49 pm UTC

Is it Washington State or Washington state? The State of Michigan or the state of Michigan? Different sources seem to point to different usages, and I was hoping that someone will have a definitive answer on this question. Thanks!

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Re: When do we capitalize the word 'state'?

Postby gmalivuk » Mon Jul 06, 2015 5:36 pm UTC

I don't think either of those is correct without being capitalized. It's the official proper name of the state, so each noun in it should be capitalized.
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Re: When do we capitalize the word 'state'?

Postby Lazar » Mon Jul 06, 2015 5:43 pm UTC

I agree; I'd capitalize it in both cases. Now "Washington State" isn't the official name of the state (it's the State of Washington), but I think it has the character of a proper usage nonetheless. Compare New York City: it's officially the City of New York, but it would seem silly to write "New York city".
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Re: When do we capitalize the word 'state'?

Postby gmalivuk » Mon Jul 06, 2015 6:31 pm UTC

In general my assumption would be that "[name] State" was the name of a university in that state, with "State of [name]" being the official name, but Washington State and New York State are exceptions, because that's how people generally contrast the states with the well-known cities of the same name.
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Re: When do we capitalize the word 'state'?

Postby ivnja » Tue Jul 07, 2015 12:39 am UTC

I do some contract work with towns, and in their own correspondence and such, they seem to capitalize town (eg "the Town of Placename" or just "the Town") when referring to the legal entity / the municipal government, and left it lowercase when referring to the physical location ("nestled among the towns of Hereville, Thereplace, and Anywhereport" / "the town of Placename is home to Business Company Inc").
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Re: When do we capitalize the word 'state'?

Postby mathmannix » Tue Jul 07, 2015 8:01 pm UTC

Lazar wrote:I agree; I'd capitalize it in both cases. Now "Washington State" isn't the official name of the state (it's the State of Washington), but I think it has the character of a proper usage nonetheless. Compare New York City: it's officially the City of New York, but it would seem silly to write "New York city".

from http://www.census.gov/population/www/do ... /tab22.txt :

Code: Select all

    1   New York city, NY *......  7,322,564   308.9    23,705
    2   Los Angeles city, CA.....  3,485,398   469.3     7,427
...
   29   Oklahoma City city, OK *.    444,719   608.2       731

Of course, this is just labelling each city with the word "city" after it... (or "CDP" [Census designated place] instead for Honolulu and Arlington, VA.)

New York is a city in the state of New York, but the City of New York (official website) (often unofficially called New York City) is in New York State (official website).
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Re: When do we capitalize the word 'state'?

Postby Alexius » Thu Jul 09, 2015 11:39 am UTC

mathmannix wrote:
New York is a city in the state of New York, but the City of New York (official website) (often unofficially called New York City) is in New York State (official website).

On the other hand, I think "State of New York" is also used officially- the state constitution begins "We, the People of the State of New York". "New York State" seems to be more of a brand.

And to further confuse things, there is also New York County (coterminous with the borough of Manhattan).


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