Capitals and common names

Subject: Capitals and common names
From: Graeme Chapman <>
Date: Sun, 14 Apr 2013 10:05:59 +1000
Hello all you writers and editors,

The Commonwealth Government Style Manual  has a section dealing with the use of 
capitals. The Style Manual is (or was) the authority in Australia. 

It says (in part)  :-   The modern habit of using capitals sparingly, except 
where they are needed to avoid even momentary understanding, is commendable.

                                It is the need to avoid misunderstanding 
between a general or common name and a specific or proper name that requires 

It is also worth looking at Wickipedia:Manual of Style/Capital letters, Section 
10, 10.2 Common names where the recommendation is similar.

In the case of English names for birds, clearly we should be consistent, so 
capitals it is! You simply can't write Little Falcon followed by willie wagtail.

Pedantly yours,


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