Archive | Capitalization

Capitalization

Every sentence you write needs capitalization (aka big letters or upper-case letters). You probably already know that sentences begin with a capital letter–just look at each sentence in this paragraph–but then it gets a little more difficult to know where to put them. Don’t worry; it’s actually pretty easy once you know the rules, so here they are:

1.  The first word in a sentence

You’re crazy, but I love you.

When did you last eat?

2.  Proper Nouns (names)

Capitalize proper nouns, specific names of things, people, or places.

Last July, Jenny went to Georgia.

Don’t capitalize common nouns unless they start a sentence or are in a title. Common nouns represent a class of things and don’t take capitalization. These are things like month, person, city, and river.

Proper Noun Common Noun
December month
John person
Vancouver city
the Nile river
Broadway avenue
English language or nationality
Samsung company

3. The pronoun I

You and I need to talk.

This weekend, I’m going to go cliff jumping.

4.  Honorific titles before a person’s name

I went to see Dr. Buckley earlier.

You seem to really like Mrs. Robinson.

The murder of President Kennedy was felt around the world.

5.  Titles and Headings

Capitalize all major words in a title except articles, prepositions, and coordinating conjunctions unless they begin the title.

Capitalize Don’t Capitalize
a. First and last words Articles (a, an, the)
b. Nouns (city, building, mountain, Tom) Prepositions (in, on, around, under)
c. Pronouns (she, you, it, their, my) Coordinating conjunctions (and, but, or, nor, for, yet, so)
d. Adjectives (beautiful, little, kind, more)
e. Verbs (play, is, are, am)
f. Adverbs (not, only, yearly, quickly)
g. Subordinate conjunctions (as, because, although, once)
  • A Journey to the Center of the Earth
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
  • Gulliver’s Travels: Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World, in Four Parts

6.  Quotations

Capitalize the first word in a quotation when it begins a sentence or was part of the original quote.

Angry Frank said, “Books are for sissies.”

Use lower-case letters when not beginning a sentence or when the original quote did not contain capitalization.

Little Britney was right when she called Angry Frank “a big idiot.”