One question that causes a lot of problems is the question of capitalizing the definite article with proper nouns. Should you write “he went to The University of British Columbia” or “to the University of British Columbia”? Is the article part of their name? Look, it’s capitalized right on their website. No, wait, maybe it isn’t.
Fear not: the style guides have spoken, and their message is clear. The Canadian Press Stylebook, 16th ed., has a useful entry on page 287, and The Chicago Manual of Style, 16th ed., also deals with this topic.
Titles of works starting with “the”In general, include the article and capitalize it:
The Taming of the Shrew
For periodicals, Chicago suggests lowercasing the article and not italicizing it, even if it is part of the official title: the New Yorker.
Canadian Press style capitalizes “the” when it is part of the name: The New Yorker (no italics because this is a newspaper style), but it uses a lowercase article for names of almanacs, the Bible, dictionaries, directories, handbooks, and so on.
Sometimes you can drop a leading “a” “an” or ”the” in a book title if it doesn’t fit the syntax of the sentence (CMOS 167):
Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew
“The” before a proper nounThe article is almost always lowercased:
the Supreme Court
the Panama Canal
the University of British Columbia
Some specific types of proper nouns
PlacesLowercase the article except in a city name that contains “the” (CMOS 8.44):
Institutions and companiesChicago says that a “the” preceding the name, even if it’s part of the official name, is lowercased in running text (CMOS 8.67).
the University of Chicago
Associations and unionsSame again: lowercase “the” even if it’s part of the official name (CMOS 8.69).
the League of Women Voters