Are you ever confused when it comes to capitalizing certain words? For example, when referring to a certain liquor from Scotland, does one drink Scotch or scotch? Is it Brussels sprouts or brussels sprouts? Is it a Homeric effort or just a homeric effort? Inquiring minds want to know!
Authoritative sources vary. The Merriam-Webster 11th Collegiate Dictionary calls for capping Scotch before you drink it, and cites (but does not rule on) a capital B often for the sprouts. However, our standard here at ProofreadNOW.com is the Chicago Manual of Style, and here's a partial list of words they prefer to see in lower case:
morocco leather, brussels sprouts, scotch whisky, french fries, french dressing, frankfurter, brie, india ink, homeric, herculean, pasteurize, manila envelope, arabic numerals, french windows, venetian blinds, quixotic, roman numerals and roman type, dutch oven, and bohemian, among others. Oh - and there's also italic type (named for Italy, don't you know).
Other examples are mixed.
• the Bureau of the Census; census forms; the census of 2010
• the Department of the Interior; the Interior
• the Federal Bureau of Investigation; the bureau (note lowercase); the FBI
• the United States (or US) Supreme Court; the Supreme Court; but the court
• the District Court for Southern California; the district court
• the Circuit Court of Lake County, Family Division (Illinois); family court
• the Chicago City Council; the city council
• administration; the Reagan administration
• federal; the federal government; federal agencies
• nazi tendencies; the Nazi Party; Nazi(s); Nazism
• the African National Congress party (party is not part of the official name); the ANC
• civil service
• the Left; members of the left wing; left-winger; on the left
• the Far Left; the Far Right; the radical Left
• the New York Stock Exchange; the stock exchange