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Capitalizing Theories

Phyllis P. asked, "Should theories be in uppercase or identified by italics when adding to a research paper, i.e., in 'Dr. Goodman's theory of whole language,’ should 'whole language' be uppercase or lowercase?" Here's the answer.

By
Mignon Fogarty ,
February 5, 2015

capitalize theories

Theories aren't capitalized or highlighted with italics, but you do capitalize someone's name when it’s part of a theory:

  • Dr. Goodman's theory of whole language
  • Einstein's general theory of relativity
  • Squiggly's theory of chocolate melting dynamics

The same rules apply to laws and hypotheses.

(Note that capitalization of theories, laws, an hypotheses is ultimately a style choice and some style guides give other recommendations. Keeping them lowercase is simply a good, common style.)

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