Do you capitalize the title of someone in a dialog?

jjcomet

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I am writing about one person talking to a number of students. And cannot figure out if it is : "Wait till your Teacher finds out." or "Wait till your teacher finds out."? Another example is : "Then I heard your Master's voice behind me." or "Then I heard your master's voice behind me."
I have a Webster's dictionary that says to use a capital letter for official titles before the names of officials, however there are no names involved. Just the use of Master/master in regards to the student. In my re-editing I am switching to the lower case on the title. Thanks for any help.
 

The Judge

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With these examples it's always lower case, since "teacher" isn't a title, it's an occupation, so no more needing a capital than eg dustman or lawyer, and while in some cases "master" could be a title, here it isn't, so again no need for a capital.

In case it's of help, here's a recent thread where the issue of capitals is gone into in more detail Use of Capitals
 

Fiberglass Cyborg

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With these examples it's always lower case, since "teacher" isn't a title, it's an occupation, so no more needing a capital than eg dustman or lawyer, and while in some cases "master" could be a title, here it isn't, so again no need for a capital.

In case it's of help, here's a recent thread where the issue of capitals is gone into in more detail Use of Capitals

I sometimes have to think hard about that- some job titles are also titles of rank (e.g. "Doctor") but others aren't (e.g. bricklayer); while some titles of rank have nothing to do with occupations (Mrs). And it's not always obvious: if "Judge" is a title of rank, how about "Attorney" or "Barrister"? "Foreman" seems like it should be a title of rank, but it's usually uncapitalised. "Private" and "Corporal" are titles, but "soldier" isn't; "teacher" isn't (outside of some /very/ specific religeous sects) but "Headmaster" is. And you can be someone's "master" without holding a postion that holds the official title of "Master."

Titles of rank should be capitalised when you're talking about a specific individual, but not when you're talking about the rank in general. "We met King Edward and enjoyed the King's hospitatily;" versus "They held a reception for the kings of seven nations." "The fleet sailed under the command of Admiral Yamamoto" versus "In England, it is customary to kill an admiral from time to time to encourage the others."

[edited for an excess of kings]
 

tinkerdan

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This is where the reference and style guide comes in handy.
It often depends on how and where it shows up in a sentence.
eg.
He stopped to address General Wu.
He stopped to address the general.
And then general, Wu, stood to address the council.(But it would probably read better as: And then General Wu stood to address the council.)
"If I could have a moment of your time General." In this case he is addressing the general so it is capitalized.
 

jjcomet

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Thanks, that is what I was looking for. Lower case will do.
 

paranoid marvin

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If it had been a specific teacher then 'Sir' or 'Miss' would be capitalised as this is their title not their occupation. But I would say that rather children referencing 'your teacher' , would it not normally be 'wait 'til Sir finds out' or 'wait til Miss Jones finds out'?
 

jjcomet

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Here is an example of what I am writing. The 'Teacher' (named Garym, not mentioned) is running a school and two old adventuring companion's have stopped by where one is talking to the students. I underlined the questionable spots which I have changed to lower case. And speaking of such - would Ranger be capitalized where it is, describing a profession?

“As I said, when I first meet your master he was learning to be a Ranger – not one with; the Will and the Way. Though I think, even then, he had aspirations to become one. During our travels he became a very good ranger, which included honing his prowess with the blade. Then about a year after Gronth joined our group, your master changed professions to become such as yourselves – a student of Psionics.”

Hope that clarifies my question. Thanks.
 

tinkerdan

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The weight of ranger in this sentence might be determined by the world building rather than it being just a profession.
As it is you probably shouldn't capitalize it. And if you did decide that the worldbuilding does require capitalization then you need to capitalize the next instance to be consistent. Also doing Will and the Way like that draws us into this worldbuilding notion and possibly even the Psionics. Of all of those I might go easily into accepting the Psionics capitalization over all the rest.

Sometimes it is context to your world--meaning that you might even at some time decide to capitalize Dog because it has special meaning. In which case you might have to send proofreaders a cover letter containing the elements that are part of worldbuilding.

I know I have ended up having to do that just to be sure that they know when something is the name of a ship and even the possible acronym that might for some reason look like gibberish to them. Or, I have found, references to elements taken from other fiction or myths might need to be explained all though in one case my myth reference was conflated and the confusion it caused my proofreader was enough to flag it so that I managed to sort it out.
 

Toby Frost

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The words "your master" would be lower case because "master" is just a noun, like "your dog".

I think "Ranger" depends on whether it's a specific title or just a description. If it was just "a person who does this job/activity", then I'd use lower case, like "farmer" or "rambler". If it was an abbreviation for a specific organisation (the Galactic Rangers, the Royal Marines, the Los Angeles Police Department etc) I'd use a capital letter.
 

tinkerdan

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I was thinking after @Toby Frost 's post.
If you have Rangers and Psionics as specific professions that those two might be capitalized however in your sentences the ranger would not be.

Unless you change the sentence to read
As I said, when I first meet your master he was training with the Rangers(to be a ranger). And the next instance as it is would not be capitalized.
 

jjcomet

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I will change to lower case to maintain consistency - unless referring to a specific group. Thanks for the assistance.
 

paranoid marvin

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I think that as writers of fiction, I think there is an entitlement to some latitude when it comes to the use of spelling and grammar. After all, we are in the business of entertainment and not sitting an English exam! Some of the greatest writers use grammar in unusual ways to get their meaning across to the reader.

The important thing is to be consistent and coherent; it's all about adding to the suspension of disbelief rather than breaking it with confusing or contradictory use of language.

If you have Masters and Rangers mentioned throughout your story, I personally wouldn't see it as a poor use of grammar, as it makes it clear in which context those words are being used (both having many other connotations). However if they were 'Masters' in one sentence but 'masters' elsewhere, it would cause confusion.
 

jjcomet

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Consistency is something I do try and maintain. So I may resolve to go with Ranger, Mage or Psionic when called for.
Someone mentioned 'proofreaders'. After going over my chapters many, many, many times, one would be helpful to find what I cannot spot anymore.
 

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