Numerous companies stylize their names or the names of products: adidas, eBay, iPhone...how should these be written (in APA style)?

The pair of adidas shoes lasted longer than the pair from Nike.


The pair of Adidas shoes lasted longer than the pair from Nike.

The Wikipedia Manual of Style is pretty explicit on the topic, but the APA is less clear. 4.16 says to capitalize proper nouns and trade names, but doesn't explicitly refer to stylized trademarks. My instinct says to capitalize them as unstylized proper nouns, but other manuals of style actually address the topic, even if it's a bit confusing on first read. For example, the Chicago Manual of Style (search for "business entities" in the page for the specific rules) says to follow camel case capitalization, but for all-caps or no-caps, to title case them (adidas becomes Adidas, LEXIS-NEXIS becomes Lexis-Nexis, DirecTV stays as such).

2 Answers 2


It's not definitive, but the APA Style Blog has a page on citing mobile apps that uses "iPhone" rather than "Iphone", etc. It's probably the closest you'll get if 4.16 is that vague. I don't have an APA style manual, so I can scour it for better answers.

If this is for an assignment, you're unlikely to get dinged hard for it if anyone even notices. If it's for a journal that follows APA, then you'll get instructions back from an editor if they want a change. If it's for some other writing, you can work with whoever it's going to in order to get it to meet their standards.


I just asked @APA_Style via twitter, which is managed by the APA.

Their answer is no, you should not capitalize those stylized company names that start with a small letter. Additionally you might want to avoid starting a sentence with those names as to avoid confusion by the reader.

In general they seem to suggest to leave the names as they are.

You can find the conversation for references here: https://twitter.com/APA_Style/status/621340750505242626

  • 1
    The intended content of this answer is upvote-worthy, but unfortunately, I find it very unclearly written. In fact, they seem to be saying on Twitter that you should stick with the original stylized capitalization. Hence, a name that, in its stylized form, starts with lower case should, as they and you say, not start with a capital at the beginning of a sentence. However, consequently, that means IMO that in a name that is stylized to start with, or contain, a capital, the respective letters should very well be capitalized. Commented Jul 16, 2015 at 15:00
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    @O.R.Mapper you are absolutely right. I did not think about that when writing the original answer. I edited the post now to try to clarify that issue.
    – user49819
    Commented Jul 16, 2015 at 17:54

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