Customs Officers are quite tolerant these days, but they can still stop you when you are going through the Green Channel and have nothing to declare. Even really honest people are often made to feel guilty. The hardened professional smuggler, on the other hand, is never troubled by such feelings, even if he has five hundred gold watches hidden in his suitcase. When I returned from abroad recently, a particularly officious young Customs Officer clearly regarded me as a smuggler.

'Have you anything to declare?' he asked, looking me in the eye.

'No,' I answered confidently.

'Would you mind unlocking this suitcase please?'

'Not at all,' I answered.

The Officer went through the case with great care. All the things I had packed so carefully were soon in a dreadful mess. I felt sure I would never be able to close the case again. Suddenly, I saw the Officer's face light up. He had spotted a tiny bottle at the bottom of my case and he pounced on it with delight.

'Perfume, eh?' he asked sarcastically. 'You should have declared that. ‘Perfume is not exempt from import duty.'

'But it isn't perfume,' I said.' It's hair-oil.' Then I added with a smile,' It's a strange mixture I make myself.'

As I expected, he did not believe me.

'Try it!' I said encouragingly.

The Officer unscrewed the cap and put the bottle to his nostrils. He was greeted by an unpleasant smell which convinced him that I was telling the truth. A few minutes later, I was able to hurry away with precious chalk-marks on my baggage.

Why in all Officer words, o is always capitalized?

  • Where did you find this example? It is not usual to capitalize the word officer.
    – The Photon
    Mar 22, 2021 at 4:12
  • @ThePhoton In a book about teaching English.
    – Y. zeng
    Mar 22, 2021 at 4:15

1 Answer 1



Why in all Officer words, o is always capitalized?

This is a difficult question to answer,

In the text we have "Customs Officer", "Customs Officers" and "The Officer"

I can only presume that "Customs Officer" is being used as a name or title but with this usage it does not need to be capitalised. As a rule "Do not capitalize titles when they are not used as a direct address to a person". Also "The Officer" definitely does not need a capital o.


The senator’s plane has not arrived compared with Senator Brown's plane has just landed

In older texts sometimes capitalisation is used differently from in modern writing, however from the descriptions this text cannot be considered archaic and has obviously been written in the last few decades. In the Cambridge English Dictionary the noun customs officer is not capitalised and the noun officer is also not capitalised

Ref CED customs officer

Guide to Capitalization Rules

  • I think the author is calling him "the Customs Officer" as a mock title for humorous effect. Jun 28, 2021 at 12:10

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