Looking for some help on how to reference chapters in a book inside of a booking I'm helping with.

Should I be capitalizing Chapters 3 and 4 and would referring to chapters simply by capitalized title be the correct way to do so?

For those who are new to programming, I strongly suggest reading through Chapters 3 and 4 thoroughly before continuing with the rest of this resource as they contain all of the core concepts needed in order to understand some of the higher level concepts presented in Data Structures and Algorithms.


In Chicago style, "chapter" is lowercased, even if it is used as a title. (An example from the Chicago Manual of Style Q&A page: http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/CMS_FAQ/Capitalization/Capitalization10.html)

APA style also suggests lowercasing "chapter."

The Mayfield Handbook of Technical & Scientific Writing, on the other hand, recommends capitalizing "references to specific figures, tables, chapters, sections, equations."

So, in short, it varies between different style guides. If the book you're working on isn't following a particular style guide, then it's up to your or the author's preference, as long as you're consistent. (I'd recommend making a note of decisions like this on a style sheet for the book--which could be as simple as a list in a Word document. That can help keep things consistent.)


That's how I'd do it. I'd capitalize it even if I were referring to someone else's book:

For those who are new to programming, I strongly suggest reading through Chapters 3 and 4. For those who are more advanced but need to brush up on databases, I suggest Robert Foo's How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Relational Databases, Chapters 4 and 7.

  • I really would want to know why you capitalize here. You know, capitalization in English is one of the most hilarious things for a German. It always let me think: "Why don't you just capitalize nouns?" ;) Jul 24 '12 at 11:17
  • In this case, chapter is a proper name. I would not capitalize it in the sentence "See the third chapter for more." I debated adding to my answer "If the chapter has a name, like The Part of Tens, you could refer to it by that instead," but I ultimately decided that there's no point in using the name without the chapter number so you can find it, and if I'm referring to a specific chapter, then the word "chapter" becomes part of the name. Thus: Chapter X: The Part of Tens. Jul 24 '12 at 11:46
  • Ok, nitpicking :D - So it would be "reading through Chapter 3 and Chapter 4" but "reading through chapters 3 and 4". Jul 24 '12 at 11:54
  • Hmm. Yes to your first. Your second example could really go either way, depending on context. I would lean towards the capital letter, but depending on the text around it, I could be convinced that lowercase was acceptable. Jul 24 '12 at 14:55

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