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I'm writing from a third person viewpoint. I have a character who does not have a name. He is simply known as "The Sentinel". In fact, that is the only introduction he gives for himself. So when I'm writing a scene where he interacts with other characters, I don't know whether to capitalise the first letter of his title or not.

e.g. sentences -

Adam stared at the Sentinel for a long hard second.

(OR)

Adam stared at the sentinel for a long hard second.


The Sentinel stood quietly, surveying the whole thing.

(OR)

The sentinel stood quietly, surveying the whole thing.


Surprise leapt on the Sentinel's face but he covered it well.

(OR)

Surprise leapt on the sentinel's face but he covered it well.

Also, extending the question, should the "the" before the title be also capitalised?

10

This depends on how the character sees himself (or if it's close third-person from someone else's POV, how that character sees him).

If he is one sentinel of many — so it's a kind of descriptor, like "the soldier" or "the doctor" — and he's somewhat anonymous, then keep it lowercase.

If he is the only one, then it's a proper designation: the Sentinel, the Winter Soldier, the Doctor.

  • He is not part of many, he is the single one in that story. Also, should the "the" before the title also be capitalised? I understand that it is not part of their name so it, ideally, should not but if it is from other character's point of view...does it become necessary? – user96551 Feb 26 '18 at 16:15
  • I think you could go either way, but I lean towards leaving the lowercase. On Doctor Who, the title character's name isn't "The Doctor," it's "the Doctor." See also "the Master." Even when you're stressing "he's the Sentinel," as in "the only," I think lowercase is fine. But if you want to capitalize it, I wouldn't mark it wrong as long as you're consistent with it. – Lauren Ipsum Feb 26 '18 at 19:04
3

I misunderstood, rewriting.

Yes, capitalize it; it is essentially their name if that is how people refer to the character.

3

A descriptor, or anything else being used in place of a proper noun is capitalized as if it were a proper noun, because it essentially is one. You would typically not capitalize the unless it is an intrinsic part of the character's "name," which it might be.

He took a personal meeting with The Donald, which he would later regret.

This would be rare, even in the case where people never use the name without the definite article. You would typically reserve it for cases where (for example) "The Sentinel" refers to a specific unique person who needs to be distinguished from a host of other sentinels.

No, he's not just a sentinel. He's "The Sentinel."

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