Learn English – Should “State” be capitalized on its own


Say we had the following:

Higher Education spending, clout, and influence in New York State is substantial. Within the State’s borders…

Should the latter instance of State be capitalized or not?

Best Answer

I would say it's six of one and half-a-dozen of the other. First, here's the general pattern for AmE... enter image description here

...and for BrE...

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Those charts suggest that the modern trend (led by American usage, with Brits rapidly catching up) is not to capitalise.

Perhaps because I'm British and/or because I'm over 50, I tend to capitalise "the State" when I mean the British Government, Civil Service, NHS, etc., collectively, on the grounds that I think of it as proper noun referencing a single entity (the British State). But I don't capitalise forms such as state-sponsored industries, because it's a more "general-purpose" reference (to any nation-state).

I'm not going to wade through 46,700 (not case-sensitive) results in Google Books for passages containing BOTH "new york state" AND "the state pays", but I have to say my impression from glancing through the first few pages is that most of them are capitalised (in both terms).