Headings By The (Blue)Book

BluebookI learned something interesting this week. As much as you think you know about something, every once in a while it is good to check your resources. While I covered this topic according to the Gregg Reference Manual in a post entitled Things Are Coming to a Head(ing) about exceptions to the “capitalize everything except articles, conjunctions, and prepositions shorter than four letters” rule, a recent search through The Bluebook showed me that that rule was not correct for headings in a legal document done in “Bluebook style.” According to Section 8 of The Bluebook, in headings and titles, the first word in the heading or title and the word immediately following a colon in a heading or title should be capitalized. However, do not capitalize articles, conjunctions, and prepositions of four or fewer letters unless they fit the criteria in the immediately preceding sentence (they are the first word of the title or immediately follow a colon).

The Bluebook does, however, refer you to The Chicago Manual of Style or the Government Printing Office Style Manual if there are questions not answered in The Bluebook about specific capitalization issues. Here are the rules on capitalization according to The Bluebook:

  • Always capitalize nouns identifying specific persons, officials, groups, government offices, or governmental bodies.
    • The Securities and Exchange Commission was closed for the holiday.
    • Members of Congress worked late into the night.
    • The President lives in the White House.
  • BUT:
    • The congressional hearings seemed as if they would never end
    • The presidential veto is a tool available to the President.
  • Exceptions (you know there had to be some):
    • Act is capitalized when referring to a specific act.
      • The Civil Rights Act was enacted in 1964.
    • Circuit is capitalized when used with the name or number of the circuit.
      • Arizona is part of the Ninth Circuit.
      • The circuit court will not rule on that issue.
    • Code is capitalized when referring to a specific code.
      • The Internal Revenue Code
    • Court is capitalized when referring to the United States Supreme Court, when referring to any court in full, or when referring to the Court where your documents will be filed.
      • The Miranda court decided . . .
      • The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals . . .
      • This Court should deny the Motion to Dismiss.
    • Constitution is capitalized when referring to the United States Constitution or naming any constitution in full.
    • Federal is capitalized when the word it modifies is capitalized.
      • The Federal Constitution establishes the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government.
      • High on the list of Congress’s priorities is federal spending.
    • Judge or Justice is capitalized when referring to a specific judge or justice by name or when referring to a Justice of the United States Supreme Court.
      • Did you know that Justice Sandra Day O’Connor sat as a judge in the Maricopa County Superior Court in Arizona?
      • The judge ruled against defendants in the White case.
    • State is capitalized when it is part of the full title of the state, if the word it modifies is capitalized, or when referring to the state as a party to a litigation or a governmental actor.
      • The State of California was the first to allow the use of medical marijuana.
      • He brought an action against the State for unlawful imprisonment.

I guess I’ll have to read through The Bluebook again just for good measure to see what other “rules” need to be adjusted.

The Effect Of The Confusion Of When To Use Affect And Effect Is Affecting My Brain

Affect v EffectI had a request to write about affect and effect. Since I’ve had trouble with those words in the past myself, I completely understand how confusing they are! Dictonary.com defines affect as a verb (used with an object) meaning:

  • to act on; produce an effect or change in:

Cold weather affected the crops.

  • to impress the mind or move the feelings of:

The music affected him deeply.

  • to give the appearance of; pretend or feign:

to affect knowledge of the situation.

  • to assume artificially, pretentiously, or for effect:

to affect a Southern accent.”

It is also defined as a noun meaning feeling or emotion.

Effect is defined as a noun:

  • something that is produced by an agency or cause; result; consequence:

Exposure to the sun had the effect of toughening his skin.

  • power to produce results; efficacy; force; validity; influence:

His protest had no effect.

And as a verb (used with object):

  • to produce as an effect; bring about; accomplish; make happen:

The new machines finally effected the transition to computerized accounting last spring.

So what does that mean really? Affect is usually used as a verb to mean to influence or change. Effect is either used as a verb meaning to bring about or as a noun meaning the result or impression. Which would you choose when you hear “The wine didn’t have quite the affect/effect she was hoping for”? Some of these are so close that either could be correct, so you need to dig just a little bit deeper. First, you need to decide if it is a verb (an action word) or a noun (the name of a person, place, object, idea, quality, or activity). “The wine didn’t have quite the [action] she was hoping for.” So the verb definitions are affect to influence or change and effect to bring about. Would you say “The wine didn’t have quite the influence or change she was hoping for” or “The wine didn’t have quite the bring about she was hoping for.” The correct word is affect.

“The new paralegal was affecting/effecting the morale in the office.” The paralegal was creating an action on the morale in the office so was the new paralegal influencing or changing (affecting) the morale or was he bringing about (effecting) the morale? It should be affecting.

“The uncertainty in the legal market affected/effected attendance at the conference.” The uncertainty influenced or changed the attendance or the uncertainty brought about the attendance? Here, it would be affected.

One more for good measure: “The ruling in this case will affect/effect future door-to-door sales.” Will the ruling influence or change sales or will the ruling bring about sales? This should be affect.

We’ve done some practice with affect/effect as verbs, let’s try one as a noun. “The affect/effect of the storm damage won’t be known for some time.” Is it the feeling or emotion of the storm damage that won’t be known or is it the result of the storm damage that won’t be known? It should be effect.

These two words are very confusing. If it will help, copy the chart below and keep it at your desk for a quick reference:
Affect Effect

Happy Blogiversary to Me!

This past Wednesday marked the two-year blogiversary of Proof That blog. When I started posting, I wasn’t sure thereBlogiversary 2 would be an audience or how long I would have enough material to continue. Thanks to all of you who send me some of the greatest Grammar Giggles ever, tell me you love the blog when I have no idea you even read it, and send me ideas for topics, Proof That keeps going. There are lots of things that could be improved–I could get back on a more regular schedule, I could post more guest posts (hint, hint!), I could, I should, I would . . . but at this point in my life/career/can’t-keep-my-dang-hand-down volunteerism I’m doing the best I can and Proof That seems to be making at least some kind of impact. What more could I ask for? So when all is said and done, I’m pretty damn proud of this little blog and I hope you enjoy it and learn at least a little something every once in a while. Here’s to at least a couple more years of Proof That! I couldn’t do it without YOU and truly can’t thank you enough for your support! KEEP PROOFING!