Deputy is not capitalized when referred to as a position.

  • “The sheriff had many deputies.”
  • “A deputy, a sheriff, and a judge walked into a bar...”

John is capitalized because it is a name.

  • “The criminal shot John.”
  • “Thank you, John.”

Deputy John is capitalized because it is a title.

  • “The criminal shot Deputy John.”
  • “Thank you, Deputy John.”

Question: Is deputy capitalized when it is being used as a title and the subject (the noun) is dropped.


  • “The criminal shot the deputy.” OR “The criminal shot the Deputy.”
  • “Thank you, deputy.” OR “Thank you, Deputy.”

What about:

  • “Put your hands in the air!" The deputy shouted. OR "Put your hands in the air!" The Deputy shouted.


I am not a writer but I wrote a fantasy novel as a way to relax. I am currently editing right now and I have learned a lot about grammar but I still have many questions. Sometimes I can find the answers via web searches on English/grammar sites, but this is one question for which I was unable to find an answer.

Most of the use cases would be along the lines of conversation where a persons title is used instead of their name.

Here are some excerpts for references:

  • “I would be most grateful for your assistance on the matter, [C/c]onstable.”
  • The [C/c]onstable nodded and sat down.


  • Where will this be used? There are some situations where you can consult a style guide for a ruling on questions like this. May 23, 2015 at 3:45
  • 3
    It is not a title if it is preceded by an article ("the").
    – user5645
    May 23, 2015 at 6:48
  • What's method is excellent for identifying proper/common titles. May 23, 2015 at 17:12

1 Answer 1


When a title precedes a name, it becomes part of the name, and is capitalized:

I spoke to Constable Fraser this morning.

(You don't use the title and the person's first name. Not in American English, anyway.)

When a title comes after a name or stands alone, it's descriptive. It's not a proper adjective or adjective phrase, and therefore is lowercase:

I spoke to the constable this morning. I spoke to Fraser, who is the constable.

In your examples:

The first one is being used as a form of address. I would capitalize it. The name is implied.

“I would be most grateful for your assistance on the matter, Constable.”

When referring to the same person in the next sentence more broadly, not as a direct adress, lowercase the title:

The constable nodded and sat down.

  • 1
    Agreed. If it is a name, or used as a name, it is proper. Otherwise, it is not, no matter the context. May 23, 2015 at 17:11
  • 3
    Just like dear old Dad. My dad taught me a lot. May 23, 2015 at 23:13
  • I agree with the above examples. When the title becomes a nickname which is capitalized: “I would be most grateful for your assistance on the matter, Constable.”
    – Lance Kind
    Mar 26, 2021 at 3:56

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