I have seen some grammar advice that suggests one should capitalise the name of a document even if the name is also a description of the document. For example, if I am writing a business plan and the title of the document written on the front page is "Business Plan", I should refer to the document as the Business Plan rather than the business plan. What are people's views on this? 

Does the need to capitalise change if we are referring to the document in the plural. For example if I was to refer to multiple business plans, would it be correct to call them the Business Plans? Capitalisation seems somewhat more unusual for plurals. 

Does the need for capitalisation change if I refer to them using the indefinite article? For example, would it be correct to say "a Business Plan". 

What would the rules for capitalisation be if the document is saved with the file name "Plan for Business Growth", but the title on the front page of the document is "Business Development Plan 224"? Are both of these proper nouns or only the latter?

I am seeking advice in relation to general usage, not in relation to any specialist usage. 

Original Post

Hi, wpc205,

wpc205 posted:

I am seeking advice in relation to general usage, not in relation to any specialist usage.

Sorry for not answering this question -- which you had published some time ago -- earlier. The  point is I didn't have at the time -- and still don't have -- any source to support my reply other than my experience as a translator, which has allowed me to see and analyze different types of texts.

In English there is indeed a strong tendency to capitalize nouns if they refer to a term of key importance within a text. The capitals will tend to be dropped if the noun is used in the plural (unless the term in the plural is well-defined, as in the Business Plans 2020, 2021 and 2022) or with an indefinite determiner (a, any, every, another, each, etc .):

Business Plan 2020

We submit to your consideration our Business Plan for 2020. [...] We hope you find this Business Plan satisfatory.

Note, however, that this is just a graphic resource to make the word or phrase stand out within the context and -- in my opinion -- does not convert the common noun into a proper name.

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