What is Capitalization?
When we use the uppercase of the first letter of a word, we say the word is capitalized.
- Wrong: the bird sang.
- Right: The bird sang.
Always capitalize the first word of a sentence.
- Of course you knew that, didn’t you?
- This rule rules supreme.
Always capitalize the first person singular pronoun “I.”
- Yes, I knew that.
Always capitalize the first word of a direct quote that is a complete sentence.
- He replied, “No, those are not my footprints.”
- I told him, “Call me, maybe.”
- They insisted they were going to be finished with the video game in “two minutes.” (no capitalization)
Always capitalize proper nouns — nouns that name a specific person, place, or thing.
- Harry Potter
- Declaration of Independence
- Beyonce Knowles
- King George III
- Academy Award
- Battle of Bull Run
- New Zealand
- The Great Wall of China
- Eiffel Tower
- Empire State Building
- Milky Way candy bar
Always capitalize titles of books, movies, video games, magazines, television shows — but don’t capitalize any little words unless they are the first or last word of the title.
- Raiders of the Lost Ark (movie)
- A Midsummer Night’s Dream (play)
- Of Mice and Men (novel)
- And the Beat Goes On (song)
Always capitalize initials and acronyms.
- MBA (Masters in Business Administration)
- DVD (Digital Video Disc)
- FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency)
- SETI (Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence)
Always capitalize adjectives formed with proper nouns.
- Jordan-esque dunk
Always capitalize days of the week and months of the year.
Capitalize geographic terms when you are referring to a specific place or region.
- She grew up in the South Bronx.
- He went to school in the Southwest.
- He went to school in the Northeast.
Do not capitalize when the word is simply a heading on the compass, or a general term, location or direction.
- I drove south for five days.
- The wind was northeasterly.
- The wedding was in northwest Ontario.
Do not capitalize the first word after a colon if the words after the colon don’t make up a complete sentence (independent clause).
- She praised his performance: his commitment, his concentration, and his diction.
You can capitalize the first word after a colon only if the words after the colon make up an independent clause (full sentence). You may capitalize after a colon if there are two or more sentences:
- My parting advice to you is this: Be kind. Do no harm. Treat others as you wish to be treated.
David Travis is the founder and CEO of Prospect Prep, a New York City-based tutoring agency dedicated to helping students earn better grades, higher scores, and acceptance letters from the colleges of their dreams.
Today on Education.com
- Coats and Car Seats: A Lethal Combination?
- Kindergarten Sight Words List
- Child Development Theories
- Signs Your Child Might Have Asperger's Syndrome
- 10 Fun Activities for Children with Autism
- Social Cognitive Theory
- Why is Play Important? Social and Emotional Development, Physical Development, Creative Development
- GED Math Practice Test 1
- The Homework Debate
- Problems With Standardized Testing