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ArlieBoy
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Started March 16, 2012 - 12:04 PM

ArlieBoy

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When to capitalize the word 'federal'

When do I capitalize the word 'federal?'

#2 Guest_paulette_* Repiled March 16, 2012 - 03:25 PM

Guest_paulette_*
This question comes up rather frequently. For some reason, many people think the word federal always warrants a capital F. Actually, you should capitalize federal only when it is part of a proper noun, that is, the official name of a particular or unique person, place, or thing. So you would only capitalize federal when you use it in the name of a federal agency, an act, or some other proper noun.
Federal Bureau of Investigation
Federal Insurance Contributions Act
Federal Trade Commission
Federal Water Pollution Control Act
Federal Reserve Board
When writing about the Federal Government in its official capacity using the term as an official title, you should capitalize both Federal and Government.
Most of the time, we use federal simply as a form of general classification, which would not require us to capitalize it.
Once a year, federal employees have an opportunity to choose a different health care provider.
Many issues we address each day are subject to federal, state, and local laws.
So, the next time you are writing about federal programs or issues, think twice about capitalization. More often than not, the correct answer to this question is federal not Federal.

#3 WLseattle Repiled March 18, 2012 - 11:25 PM

WLseattle

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It is also easy to remember when to capitalize the word "federal" by asking yourself if the word is modifying another word. For example, in the phrase "federal building", the word "federal" is modifying the word "building." In this case, it would never be capitalized, unless, as noted above, it is the name of a proper noun. Another interesting question arises when using abbreviated or slang terms for the word "federal", such as when referring to a federal officer, official or agent as a "Fed." The Merriam Webster dictionary states that this term is seldom capitalized. However, it can be also seen as an actual proper name in some instances, in which case it would indeed be capitalized. An example of this would be when referring to a group of officers as "the Feds." An alternate way of writing this word also has come into common usage, where all letters are capitalized, as in "the FEDS."


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