Capitalization for intermediate learners

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

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Capitalization Rules in English

What Is Capitalization?

When we write the first letter of the word in uppercase and the others in lowercase, we are capitalizing the word.

Uses

We capitalize words in contexts as follows:

  • Capitalization in Sentences
  • Capitalization in Headlines
  • Capitalization in Job Titles
  • Capitalization in Directions

Let us start examining each rule:

Capitalization in Sentences

The first letter of the first word of the sentence is always capitalized. Whether it is a pronoun, an article, a noun, etc. the first letter of it must be capitalized. Take a look at the following examples:

I want to hurt you.

As you can see, the first letter of the word is always capitalized.

The play was fine.

How could she do this to me?

George is on his way home.

Tip!

It is useful to know that when we have proper nouns in the sentence, the first letter of them must be capitalized, be it at the beginning, in the middle, or at the end of the sentence. Below is a list of some common proper names:

  • Days of the Week and Months: Sunday, Thursday, August, July
  • Names of People: Hannah, Michael, Patrick, Alicia
  • Countries and Nationalities: Iranian, French, Germany, Italy
  • Religions: Orthodox, Protestantism, Satanism, Islam
  • Brands: Gucci, Miu Miu, Prada, Versace, Rare Beauty
  • Streets: Apple Street, Via Sacra, Park

She lives on Park Street.

He's wearing a Gucci hat.

Capitalization in Headlines and Titles

When we want to capitalize titles and headings, we have to carry out one principle which is to capitalize the main words and not capitalize prepositions and articles. Take a look at the following examples:

In Search of Lost Time by Marcel Proust

Titanic Sinks Four Hours After Hitting Iceberg

Warning!

Please note that when the title/heading begins with a preposition/article, its first letter must be capitalized. Take a look at the following example:

To the Lighthouse

(Not to the Lighthouse...)

Capitalization in Job Titles

We can capitalize job titles in occasions such as:

  • When we want to address someone directly by their job title
  • When we want to use the job title after someone's name

Dr. Blackwood would like to speak to you in private.

I look forward to meeting you, Professor.

Capitalization in Direction

When we want to refer to well-known geographical regions, we must capitalize directional words. Otherwise, it is not necessary. Compare the following examples:

Iran is a country in the Middle East.

This part on the map is Northern Ireland.

Just head east and then you'll see the meadow.

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