Question

Do I capitalize speech-language pathologist and use a hyphen?

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I am writing a personal statement and cannot make errors so I am asking the question above.

Answered By: Linda Kern
Last Updated: Jan 04, 2017     Views: 9511

Hello!

Regarding the use of the hyphen, this isn't a grammar or spelling issue, but what they are officially named. The first thing I did was to Google speech-language pathologist to see how they refer to themselves. The term is hyphenated on the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association website, so I would use the hyphen. This is the credentialing organization for speech-language pathologists.

Capitalization is a matter of grammar and academic style. According to APA style, common nouns aren't capitalized; only proper nouns are capitalized (APA p.102).  The Merriam Webster dictionary defines a common noun as "a noun that may occur with limiting modifiers (as a or an, some, every, and my) and that designates any one of a class of beings or things." On the other hand, a proper noun is "a noun that designates a particular being or thing, does not take a limiting modifier, and is usually capitalized in English."

Therefore a speech-language pathologist is a common noun and not capitalized.

Thanks for asking!

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