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Basic Guidelines for Capitalization Rules

There aren’t many capitalization rules. They are simple to memorize.

Nina Stankovic
Nina Stankovic

When we look at the grammar of the English language regarding capitalization in a sentence, we first encounter the easiest rules. For example, always capitalize the initial letter of a sentence to avoid any mistakes. This capitalization rule is likely the most specific given the few exceptions or additional difficulties.

There aren’t many capitalization rules. They are simple to memorize.

When to Capitalize Words: Rules

1. Always capitalize a sentence’s first word

A sentence’s opening word should always be capitalized.

Examples:

We didn’t agree to meet at the square, but we met by chance.
London is the capital and most developed city in the United Kingdom.
The concert hall exudes pre-Renaissance architecture.

2. People’s names, proper nouns, and adjectives

Usually, names of people (first and last name), places, or objects will need to be capitalized. A proper noun would be the “Eiffel Tower” instead of a common noun, a “tower.”

Pronouns include phrases like “I,” “you,” and “me.” In this case, only the pronoun “I” should always be capitalized, no matter where it comes in a sentence, while “you” and “me” are written in lowercase unless they are at the beginning of the sentence.

Examples:

Mark and I spend the entire evening reading the works of Aristotle.
The Golden Gate Bridge and the Grand Canyon are the two most unique places that you can visit any time of the year on Earth.
I ordered an Apple tablet from BestBuy.

3. Capitalize the first word of a quote wherever appropriate

Only uppercase the sentence if it is a complete sentence or a quotation within a longer sentence. Deviation from the rule: don’t capitalize a phrase if it fits into the larger text. In the middle of a sentence, the first word in a complete quotation, use capital words. The cited content should not be capitalized.

Here are a few examples:

Prof. Morgan asked, “Where is everyone going this holiday?”
John answered, “My brother and I are going to Canada for a whole week.”
Maria said, “The case is far from over, and we will win.”
Maria said that the case was “far from over” and that “we will win.”

4. Capitalize days, months, holidays, and time periods

We need capital words for the names of days and months, such as “February,” “Monday,” “October,” “Wednesday,” and “Sunday.” Proper nouns and holiday names like “Christmas,” “Halloween,” and “Hanukkah” are when to capitalize. However, a season, such as the Christmas season, would not be capitalized. However, New Year’s Day and Christmas Day are holidays that are capitalized when the word “day” is added. In words like “Christmas Eve” and “New Year’s Eve,” you would capitalize “eve” because it is part of the name of the holiday.

It is proper to capitalize on historical eras. Use the “Renaissance,” “Middle Ages,” and “Dark Ages” as examples. Additionally, you would capitalize “Paleolithic” and “Bronze Ages.”

Examples:

We will have a brake a Monday in July.
Most interviewed people said that Christmas Day is the most joyful day of the year.
During the entire history of civilization, the Middle Ages are truly the darkest period.
During summer vacation, he was fascinated with the Napoleonic Wars.

5. Capitalize acronyms, initialisms, and initials

The first letter of each word in an acronym, which combines to form a new term, is always capitalized. When in doubt, it’s better to reference a dictionary. Some acronyms have been adopted as identifiable phrases that are not capitalized, for example, “laser.” It stands for light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation. At the end, when a person goes by the first letter of each of their names, you always capitalize the initials.

Examples:

NASA stands for National Aeronautics and Space Administration
DOB stands for date of birth
The USA stands for the United States of America
CIA stands for Central Intelligence Agency
JFK are initials of John Fitzgerald Kennedy
MLK is the initial of Martin Luther King, Jr.

6. Use English capital letters for the cities’ names, states, nationalities, and languages

Since they are proper nouns, the names of cities, nations, nationalities, and languages should all be capitalized. All proper nouns, including cities, towns, counties, businesses, religions, and political parties, must be written in capital letters.

Examples:

English and German are the two most popular languages in Europe.
Oxford Street is one of the most famous names for streets in Liverpool, London, Birmingham, and wider.
Canada, USA, UK, and Japan and world leaders in driving Toyota cars.
The Bible and the Quran are two holy books that have identical backgrounds: they all have the same history.
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Nina Stankovic

I have a Master's Degree in Physics and a Bachelor's Degree in Natural Science. I have a general interest in technology, the environment, travel, and spirituality.


Milena Lazova

I'm an ESL teacher with over 7 years of experience in providing original content. I really like writing educational articles which may help others learn some aspects of English.

Valentina Dordevic

Hello! My name is Valentina. Book digesting is my specialty. I transform book ideas into easy-to-follow summaries, articles, study guides, reviews, essays, analyses, slides, or e-books.

Beth Taylor

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