Is “Vice President” Capitalized And Hyphenated?

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Danielle McLeod

Danielle McLeod is a highly qualified secondary English Language Arts Instructor who brings a diverse educational background to her classroom. With degrees in science, English, and literacy, she has worked to create cross-curricular materials to bridge learning gaps and help students focus on effective writing and speech techniques. Currently working as a dual credit technical writing instructor at a Career and Technical Education Center, her curriculum development surrounds student focus on effective communication for future career choices.

Nouns are an essential part of your speech. They comprise many of the subjects and objects of your sentences, and how you use them helps clarify your message to your readers.

Nouns are either common or proper and help define some of the details of your work. Common nouns name broad categories, while proper nouns name specific items within those categories and should always be capitalized. However, capitalization rules evade some of the best writers, creating confusion about the importance of certain words in the context of their use.

This is especially true concerning words that are sometimes capitalized and sometimes left lowercase. Vice president is one such word, and it’s important you know when to capitalize it and when to leave it lowercase.

How to Recognize Proper Nouns

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Nouns define a person, place, or thing. Groups of nouns are called common nouns, while proper nouns name a specific person, place, or thing.

For example:

  • Car is the common noun, while Toyota is the proper noun.
  • Boy is the common noun, while Mark is the proper noun.
  • State is the common noun, while Ohio is the proper noun.

Although a simple enough concept, some words can be either lowercase or capitalized depending on how it is used. This is especially true concerning title placement.

For example:

  • The common noun is king; the proper noun is King George.
  • The common noun is mister; the proper noun is Mister Davis.

How to Write Vice President

You’ve probably seen vice president written with a hyphen. So is vice president hyphenated or not?

Outside the U.S., vice-president is usually hyphenated in all its uses. However, in U.S. publications, it usually lacks the hyphen.

None of these things are rules, and different writers and publications have different preferences.

For example, it’s easy to find instances of uncapitalized official job titles, instances of vice president unhyphenated in Canadian, U.K., and Australian publications, and instances of vice president uncapitalized when it immediately precedes a name. If you need more straightforward guidance, check your preferred style book.

For this article, we will use the unhyphenated form, which is more acceptable in American English.

Is Vice President Capitalized?

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You can’t answer this question with a yes or no answer. Rather, you need to determine how the word is being used before you can determine if it should be capitalized or not.

Vice president is a type of title, and titles are subject to specific rules of capitalization. Titles are specific to a person’s rank, office, job, or position. When vice president is used as a title to specify a particular person, it is capitalized.

But when it is used without a specific person in mind, it stays in the lowercase form.

Looking closer at these rules helps you understand when to use the capitalized form and when not to.

When to Capitalize Vice President

Capitalizing vice president follows some obvious rules. You’ll always use vice president correctly if you follow these rules.

Keep in mind that when vice president is capitalized, both words are in the capital form, not just vice (Vice President).

Start of a Sentence

All sentences begin with a capitalization regardless of what part of speech the word is categorized at. If vice president is used as a common noun, only vice is capitalized. If vice president is used as a proper noun, then both vice and president are capitalized.

For example:

  • Vice president is the position we will be discussing tonight.
  • Vice President Michaels helped lead the junior college to a higher accreditation.

A Published Title

Movies, journals, books, poems, and article titles have specific rules of capitalization. Almost all letters four or more letters long are capitalized in a formal title.

For example:

  • The Vice President and I
  • Becoming Vice President: And Other Essays on Political Reflection

Formal Person’s Title

If vice president is placed before a person’s first or last name, it is always capitalized. This is part of the rules of proper noun title capitalization. This refers to any vice president, current or past, of any recognized office of high rank or position in an institution, school, organization, etc.

For example:

  • The club’s officers were sworn in by Vice President Ellison last Monday evening.
  • Vice President Mabel Rizzo was the youngest to hold office in the administration’s history.

When vice president is used in place of a person’s specific name or with a recognized office of high rank, it must be capitalized.

For example:

  • Did you enjoy your meal Madame Vice President?
  • We are expecting the Vice President of North America for dinner this evening.

When Not to Capitalize Vice President

For all other uses of vice president, leave it in lowercase form.

For example:

  • We will be swearing in a new vice president during the next meeting.
  • The vice president of the school drama club helped build the new stage set.

Let’s Review

Vice president can be used as a common noun and a proper noun. When preceding a person’s name, referring to a specific person, or referring to an office of high rank, it should be capitalized. When used in a formal title or at the start of the sentence, it is also capitalized.

Keep in mind both words are capitalized, not just vice; except when used as a common noun at the beginning of the sentence.

For all other uses, leave vice president in lowercase form.