Capitalization refers to writing the first letter of a word in upper case and the remaining in lower case. In any kind of writing, usage of proper capitalization of words is very important. Its improper use is considered as sloppy writing and gives a wrong impression about the writer. Some readers even take it in a negative sense, which eventually affects the actual purpose of the writer. Capitalization helps to avoid confusion in the minds of the readers while reading your paper/article. We shall discuss a few of the guidelines for capitalization that must be kept in mind while writing.
Guidelines for Capitalization
- The first letter of the first word in a sentence should be capitalized.
Example: Will you come with me?
- The pronoun ‘I’ should always be capitalized.
Example 1: I came here to attend a conference.
Example 2: I’m extremely sorry for breaking that expensive vase.
- Titles should be capitalized only if they precede a name.
Example: Managing Director Tom Jones is going to retire today.
- Days of the week and months should be capitalized.
Example 1: She will come on Monday.
Example 2: Our school will reopen in June.
Note: Do not capitalize seasons (Ex.: I learnt painting during our summer vacations).
- Proper nouns (names, places, organizations, etc.).
Example 1: He is going to the market with John.
Example 2: My cousin lives in Yellowstone Avenue.
Example 3: He works in Venture Technologies.
- Names of countries, languages, nationalities, religions.
Example 1: He visited the United Kingdom.
Example 2: He knows many languages including Spanish and French.
Example 3: She is an Italian.
Example 4: He likes to visit Hindu shrines.
- Names of mountains, hills, oceans, rivers, etc.
Example: Mount Everest, Khasi Hills, Pacific Ocean, Missouri River.
- Titles of books, movie names, etc.
Example: Othello, Ben Hur.
Note: Articles or prepositions at the beginning should be in capital letters. If in between, they should be in lower case (Ex: A Tale of Two Cities).
- Names of wars and historical periods.
Example: First World War, Battle of Plassey, Renaissance, Victorian Era.
- Names of Holy books and deities.
Example: Bible, Quran, Gita, Jesus, Krishna, Allah, Buddha.
- Names of buildings and monuments.
Example: The White House, the Statue of Liberty, etc.
- The first word in a direct quote.
Example: Picasso had said, “Give me a museum and I’ll fill it.”
- Every letter in an acronym should be in capital letters.
Example: NATO, UN, SAARC, CNN.
- Family relationships when used with a name.
Example: Aunt Matilda is my favorite aunt.
We have discussed a few of the guidelines for capitalization. Apart from these, there are many more instances where capital letters are used. However, remember that there might be exceptions for a few of these rules. If you have any doubts whatsoever regarding the capitalization of a word, you can even look it up in the dictionary.