Knowing how to use capital letters correctly is important to providing accurate understanding to the reader of the meaning and function of the word. Here are the rules for capitalizing and some examples of correct usage.
Begin with a capital letter in the following situations.
1. The first word of a sentence.
2. The first word of a quoted sentence.
3. The first line of a poem.
4. The first word and the important words in titles of books, articles, films, plays, and musical works.
5. Proper nouns.
6. The pronoun I.
7. The first word of a salutation and closing of a letter or e-mail.
The definition of proper noun sometimes creates confusion. Here are examples to clarify what constitutes a proper noun.
Capitalize the following.
Cassadaga Valley High School
New York City
Definite Place Names:
Aunt Ann (however, if preceded by a possessive then my aunt Ann)
Substitute for a person’s name particularly in direct address:
“No, Dad, I didn’t take the car keys.”
World War II
Races, Languages, Religions:
Reverend Jeremiah Lott
Deity (and other words associated with deities like sacred writings):
Bible (when referring to a holy work as opposed to referring to a thorough work about a particular subject area – “Her book is the bible of cooking.”)
Trade names: (only capitalize the part of a trade name which distinguishes it from other brands)
McDonald’s Big Mac
Motorola cell phones
Do not capitalize in the following situations.
Words that are not a specific name:
my elementary school
our writing club
The names of the seasons:
Studies other than languages:
A title after a modifier:
Remember this rule for capitalizing a title.
Do not cap the “CAP” unless it is the first word. The last “CAP” stands for
C- conjunctions (and, but, or, for, nor)
A- articles (the, a, an)
P- prepositions (of, to, for, from)
Gone with the Wind
Of Mice and Men
The Sound of Music
America the Beautiful