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Capitalization

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Capitalization

Capitalization


First Words

Capitalize the first word of every sentence.

EXAMPLE 
  • Bluebirds flew in circles around the tree. [Bluebirds is the first word of the sentence.]
Begin a quoted sentence with a capital letter, even when the quoted sentence begins in the middle of a longer sentence.

EXAMPLES 
  • Are we going to the movies tonight?”asked Josh. [Are is capitalized because it is the first word of a quoted sentence. Are is also the first word of the longer sentence.] 
  • Gina said,“We should leave now, or we will be late for school.” [We is capitalized because it is the first word of a quoted sentence.]

The Pronoun I

In English the pronoun I is always capitalized, even if it is not the first word of a sentence. 

EXAMPLES 
  • Do you think I will like this lasagna? [I is always capitalized.] 
  • She knows that I’m joining the drama club next year. [I is capitalized even when it is used as part of a contraction.]

Salutations and Closings

Capitalize the first word in both the salutation and the closing of a letter.

A salutation is a short line of greeting that begins a letter.
A closing is a short line at the end of a letter, right before a signature.

SALUTATIONS 
  • Dear Mr.Tamayo: 
  • My dearest grandson, 
CLOSINGS 
  • Very truly yours, 
  • Sincerely,

NOTE

NOTE

Except for names and titles, the first word is the only word that is capitalized in a salutation or closing.
In the examples, Mr. is capitalized because it is a title.
Tamayo is capitalized because it is a name.

Proper Nouns and Proper Adjectives

Capitalize proper nouns and proper adjectives.

A proper noun is the name of a particular person, place, thing, or idea.
Proper nouns are capitalized.
A common noun is the name of a type of person, place, thing, or idea.
A common noun generally is not capitalized unless it begins a sentence or is part of a title.

PROPER NOUNS 
  • Eric Clapton 
  • Reyes Park 
  • Buddhism 
COMMON NOUNS 
  • guitarist 
  • park 
  • religion
A proper adjective is an adjective formed from a proper noun.
Proper adjectives are capitalized.
Some proper adjectives are formed by adding an ending, such as –ish, –ic, –ese, –ian, or an, to a proper noun.

EXAMPLES 
  • Gulf moisture [same form as the proper noun] 
  • Italian lace [formed from the proper noun Italy
  • Icelandic heritage [formed from the proper noun Iceland]

TIP

TIP


To tell whether a noun is common or proper, try placing the article a, an, or the in front of the noun.
If a, an, or the makes sense, the noun is probably a common noun.
If a, an, or the does not make sense, the noun is probably a proper noun.

NOUN 
  • Houston 
NOUN + ARTICLE 
  • a Houston, the Houston [When placed in front of the noun Houston, the articles a and the do not make sense. Houston is a proper noun.] 
NOUN 
  • city 
NOUN + ARTICLE 
  • a city, the city [When placed in front of the noun city, the articles a and the make sense. City is a common noun.]

Persons and Animals

Capitalize the names of people and animals, including initials and abbreviations that either precede or follow names. 

PERSONS 
  • Claude Monet 
  • E.W. Roosevelt 
  • Simon Osborne, Jr
ANIMALS 
  • Lassie 
  • Checkers 
  • Mr. Ed

Geographical Names

Capitalize proper nouns and proper adjectives.

Geographical names are proper nouns and should be capitalized. Geographical names include places such as countries, states, street names, and natural landmarks.

EXAMPLES 
  • Japan [country] 
  • Kansas [state] 
  • Richmond Avenue [street] 
  • Luray Caverns [natural landmark]
When words such as north, south, eastern, or southwest are used as the name of a region, they are capitalized. When you use these words to show a direction, don’t capitalize them.

EXAMPLES 
  • The library is being built north of the high school. [North is used to tell direction, so it is not capitalized.] 
  • Shelly has lived in the North for most of her life. [North is used as the name of a region, so it is capitalized.]

NOTE

Words such as lake, park, and street are capitalized only when used as part of a name.

EXAMPLES 
  • He went to the park today. 
  • We met at Woodlawn Park.

Organizations, Teams, Institutions, and Government Bodies

The names of organizations, teams, institutions, and government bodies are proper nouns and should be capitalized.

EXAMPLES 
  • Mothers Against Drunk Driving [organization] 
  • Bell High School Chargers [team] 
  • Trenton Heights Memorial Hospital [institution] 
  • Congress [government body]

NOTE

NOTE

Abbreviations of the names of organizations, institutions, and government bodies are often a set of capital letters.

EXAMPLES 
  • PAL 
    Police Activities League 
  • NATO 
    North Atlantic Treaty Organization

Historical Events and Periods, Dates, Holidays

Capitalize proper nouns and proper adjectives.

Be sure to capitalize the names of important events and periods in history. The names of other kinds of special events are also capitalized.

EXAMPLES 
  • Great Depression [historical period] 
  • World War II [historical event] 
  • Wimbledon Championships [sporting event]
Always capitalize days of the week, months, and holidays. The names of the seasons of the year are not usually capitalized.
  • WEEKDAY
    Monday 
  • HOLIDAY
    Fourth of July 
  • SEASON
    spring

Nationalities, Races, and Peoples

Words that name nationalities, races, or peoples begin with a capital letter.
  • NATIONALITY
    Canadian
  • RACE
    Caucasian
  • PEOPLE
    Choctaw

Religions, Holy Days, Holy Writings, and Specific Deities

Capitalize the names of religions and their followers, holy days and celebrations, holy writings, and specific deities.

EXAMPLES 
  • Judaism [religion] 
  • Catholic [follower of a religion] 
  • Ramadan [religious event] 
  • Juno [specific deity]

Businesses and the Brand Names of Business Products

Capitalize proper nouns and proper adjectives.

The names of businesses and brand names are capitalized. Do not capitalize the name of a type of product.

EXAMPLES 
  • Kellogg Company [business name] 
  • Post Bran Flakes [brand name] 
  • cereal [type of product]

Ships, Trains, Aircraft, Spacecraft, and Other Vehicles

The names of ships, trains, aircraft, spacecraft, and other vehicles should be capitalized.
  • SHIP
    Atlantic Dragon 
  • TRAIN
    Mountain Skipper 
  • AIRCRAFT
    the Doyle 
  • SPACECRAFT
    D
    iscovery

Buildings and Other Structures

The names of buildings and other structures are capitalized. Do not capitalize the name of a type of building unless the word is part of the building’s name.

EXAMPLES 
  • Rialto Bridge [Bridge is part of the structure’s name.] 
  • Sears Tower [Tower is part of the building’s name.]

Monuments, Memorials, and Awards

Capitalize proper nouns and proper adjectives.

The names of monuments and memorials, which are often buildings or structures, are capitalized. The names of special awards and prizes also should begin with a capital letter.

EXAMPLES 
  • Cape Krusenstern National Monument 
  • Lincoln Memorial 
  • Purple Heart

NOTE

NOTE

Some proper nouns have more than one word. In these names, short prepositions (those of fewer than five letters) and articles (a, an, the) are generally not capitalized. Some common short prepositions are at, in, from, of, on, to, and with.

EXAMPLE 
  • Medal of Freedom [The short preposition of in the proper noun Medal of Freedom is not capitalized.]

Planets, Stars, Constellations, and Other Heavenly Bodies

Be sure to capitalize the names of planets, stars, constellations, and other heavenly bodies. Generally, the words sun and moon are not capitalized. The word earth is not capitalized unless it is used along with the name of another heavenly body that is capitalized.

  • PLANET
    Jupiter 
  • STAR
    Antares 
  • CONSTELLATION
    Ursa Major

School Subjects

Capitalize the names of language classes or course names that include a number. Otherwise, the names of school subjects are not capitalized.

EXAMPLES 
  • math [school subject] 
  • German [name of a language class] 
  • Creative Writing II [course name that includes a number]

NOTE

NOTE

Do not capitalize the word freshman, sophomore, junior, or senior unless it is part of a name.

EXAMPLES 
  • Is Deven a junior or a senior this year? [Junior and senior are not capitalized.] 
  • Tomorrow is Freshman Spirit Day. [Freshman is capitalized because it is part of a name.]

Titles of Persons

Capitalize titles.

Always capitalize the title of a person when the title comes before the person’s name. Even if the title is abbreviated, capitalize it.

EXAMPLES 
  • These orders should go directly to Captain Knight. [The title Captain comes before a person’s name.] 
  • Did you make an appointment with Dr. Ramirez? [Dr., an abbreviation for the title Doctor, comes before a person’s name.] 
  • The professor claimed that birds were actually dinosaurs. [The word professor is not capitalized because it does not come before a person’s name.]
A word that shows a family relationship is capitalized when the word comes before the person’s name or is used in place of the person’s name.

EXAMPLES 
  • Ask Dad if he would like a sandwich, too. [Dad is used in place of someone’s name.] 
  • Do you think Uncle Robert will play the fiddle at the family reunion? [Uncle comes before a person’s name.]
Do not capitalize a word showing a family relationship when a possessive comes before the word. Possessives are words such as my, your, his, her, its, our, and their.

EXAMPLES 
  • My aunt Veronica is a very good chef. [My comes before a word showing a family relationship; therefore, aunt is not capitalized.] 
  • What time is your grandma arriving from Spain? [Your comes before a word showing a family relationship; therefore, grandma is not capitalized.]

Titles of Creative Works

Whenever you write the title of a book, a poem, or any other creative work, be sure to capitalize the first word, the last word, and all other important words.
Capitalize these words in subtitles, too.
Do not capitalize an article (a, an, or the) or a short preposition (such as of, in, or with) unless the article or preposition is the first or last word in the title or subtitle.
  • BOOK 
    Frankenstein: or, the Modern Prometheus 
  • CHAPTER
    The Great Depression” 
  • POEM
    Ode on a Grecian Urn” 
  • PAINTING
    Sidewalk and Grate
author-img
Mr. ‏El-Sayed Ramadan ‎ ‎

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