Capitalization

Capitalization is to write the first letter of a word in uppercase. In this lesson, you will learn all the rules about this subject.

Capitalization Rules in English

What Is Capitalization?

Capitalization is the use of uppercase letters to represent the first letter of a word in a sentence. In English grammar, the rules of capitalization are used to distinguish between proper nouns and common nouns, as well as to provide emphasis and clarity in written communication.

Capitalization: Uses

We commonly use capitalization in the following contexts:

  • In sentences
  • In headlines
  • In job titles
  • In directions
  • With a colon
  • In salutation and closing

Let us explore them one by one.

Capitalization in Sentences

When you start a new sentence, the first letter of the first word has to be capitalized. After each period, a new sentence starts, so you need to capitalize the first word. For example:

He needs to see a doctor.

She saw him yesterday. He was such a loser.

Using a Pronoun

When we are using the first person singular subject pronoun, we capitalize it regardless of its position in the sentence. Remember, if the first person singular pronoun is an object pronoun or any other type of pronoun, you do not need to capitalize it. Here are the examples:

They want to talk to you and so do I.

In this example, the pronoun 'they' is capitalized because it is used at the beginning of the sentence. But the pronoun 'I' is always capitalized even in the middle of a sentence.

I want to take a trip to New York.

Referring to God

When you want to refer to a God in religious contexts, you need to capitalize the first letter of the word. Such as God, He, Almighty, etc. Check out the examples:

Oh my God, I cannot believe it.

Using a Proper Noun

Proper nouns are capitalized regardless of their position in a sentence. Here are some common proper nouns:

  • brand names: Belle Chic, Gucci, Fendi, Versace, etc.
  • company names: Wesco, Coca-Cola, Apple, Goldman Sachs, etc.
  • days of the week: Sunday, Monday, Friday, etc.
  • months: June, July, March, April, etc.
  • government organizations: United States Congress, Department of Commerce, Department of Defense, etc.
  • historical episodes: Fall of Berlin, Vietnam War, Gulf War, Bin Laden, etc.
  • holidays: Christmas, New Year's Day, Labor Day, etc.
  • man-made structures: The Burj, Taj Mahal, La Sagrada Familia, etc.
  • name of people: Sarah, Pietro, Hanna, etc.
  • organizations: Dream Center, Angel Time, Saved Dreams, etc.
  • planets: Uranus, Saturn, Earth, Mars, etc.
  • countries and nationalities: English, France, Iran, etc.
  • religion: Taoism, Christianity, Buddhism, Islam, etc.
  • streets and roads: Brick Lane, Piccadilly, Oxford Street, etc.
  • special occasions: Mother's Day, Valentine's Day, Halloween, etc.

Proper Adjectives

'Buddhist' is capitalized

Some adjectives are derived from proper nouns. As a result, they are capitalized as well. These adjectives are called proper adjectives. Here are a few examples:

They were Buddhist.

I am stressed about the Spanish exam.

Capitalization in Headlines and Titles

Capitalization in headlines and titles is governed by different rules depending on the specific style; however, there is a general rule, as follows:

  • capitalize the main words in a title
  • do not capitalize prepositions and articles

The main words of a title are adjectives, nouns, adverbs, pronouns, verbs, and subordinating conjunctions. Here are a few examples of capitalization in titles:

What Are Modal Verbs?

There Are Five of Us

These rules are usually applied to the titles of books, articles, and headlines.

Tip

Remember not to capitalize articles, coordinating conjunctions, and prepositions. Here are some examples:

One of the Most Important Symptoms

Find It in Yourself

Capitalization in Job Titles

There are some cases in which you use capitalized job titles. Check out the list:

  • when the job title is used on the signature line of a letter
  • when the job title is used immediately before a name (honorific title)
  • when the job title is used to address someone directly

Here are a few examples:

Doctor Gomez was waiting for the nurses to start the surgery.

May I enter, Professor?

I look forward to your speech, Mr. President.

Capitalization in Directions

When we use directions to refer to a specific region, we capitalize the direction. Here are a few examples:

They reached the North Pole.

Northern Ireland was inhabited by Gaels.

Capitalization with a Colon

There are some general rules governing the use of capitalization after a colon, as follows on the list:

  • if there is a list after the colon, do not use capitalization
  • if you continue the previous sentence after the colon, do not use capitalization
  • if the word after the colon is a proper noun, use capitalization
  • if there is a new sentence after the colon, use capitalization

Here are a few examples to illustrate the rules:

The ingredients are: sugar, eggs, and flours.

I said: We want to start a new company.

Capitalization in Salutation and Closing

The names or words that are used in closing or salutation of a letter or email are always capitalized. Here are a few examples:

Regards,

Dear John,

Sincerely,

Review

Capitalization is to write the first letter of a word in uppercase. we use it in:

  • sentences
  • headlines
  • job titles
  • directions
  • salutation and closing

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