Tuesday, October 16, 2012

When to Capitalize a word?

To capitalize means to begin a word with a capital letter.

You should always capitalize:

  • the first word in a sentence
Ex: When it rains, the dog stays indoors.
  • the pronoun I
Ex: At the game, I shouted my voice out.
  • proper nouns
Ex: Mary, Empire State Building, Connecticut,etc.
  • proper adjectives
Ex: American, French, Indian, Israeli, Californian, Dutch, etc.
  • titles that show the rank or position of people when used with their names
Ex: Captain George, Dr. Smith, Mrs. Maria, Chief Gerson, King Charles, President Lincoln, etc.
  • a person's title when it is used in place of the person's name
Ex: Congratulations, General. The war is over.
  • Do not capitalize a title used without a person's name unless you're addressing the person directly.
Ex: King, did you know that the queen asked the prime minister to call a doctor?
NOT The Queen asked the Prime Minister....
  • family members
You capitalize family members when the words stand alone in a sentence without a possessive pronoun or when they are followed by a person's name.
Ex: I told Uncle Harry to meet Grandpa at the drugstore.
  • days of the week and months of the year
Ex: Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December.
  • Do not capitalize the four seasons of the year.
Ex: spring, summer, winter, fall (or autumn).
  • the first word in the greeting of a friendly letter
Ex: Dear Larry, Dear friends, My dear students, etc.
  • the first word in the closing of a letter
Ex: Very truly yours, Best wishes, Warmest regards, etc.
  • all the words in the greeting of a business letter
Ex: My Dear Madam:, Dear Fellow Students:, etc.
  • the first, last, and all the main words in the title of a:
book: The Last of the Mohicans
movie: The Wizard of Oz
song: The Star Spangled Banner
play or musical: Phantom of the Opera
magazine: National Geographic
newspaper: The New York Times
television show: Charles in Charge

"Main Words" generally means everything except short prepositions, conjunctions, or articles (the, an, and a).
  • School subjects when they are the names of languages or specific courses listed in the school catalogue.
Ex: Spanish, Honors Biology, Science 3
(but NOT just plain mathematics, science, or history)
  • geographic locations when they refer to specific areas on the map
Ex: North, South, East, West, the Middle East, the Far East, etc.
(but NOT just directions)
Geographical location: I lived in the West for four years.
Direction: He headed west, Sheriff.
  • national and local holidays
Ex: Thanksgiving, Veterans Day, Labor Day, Memorial Day, Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Birthday, Brooklyn Week, Firefighters Day, Fourth of July, Turnip Festival, etc.
  • religious holidays
Ex: Good Friday, Passover, Idul-Fitr, etc.

Source: Word power made easy

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Compound Words for TOEFL/IELTS/TOEIC/ESL/SAT/GRE/GMAT Preparation

Many people may confuse about how to write a word with two words or when to use a hyphen within words, etc. It's simple.

A compound word is made up of two or more words. Sometimes one word isn't enough to express an idea, name an object, or say what a speaker or writer is trying to express, so people make up compound nouns and adjectives.

Compounds come three ways:

  1. Closed: written as one word
  2. Open: words written separately
  3. Hyphenated: words joined by a hypen (a short line)

Here are some common compound nouns and adjectives:

  • Closed Compounds:

Backyard, barefoot, blueberry, bookstore, moonlight, classmate, flashlight, granddaughter, greenhouse, homework, motorcycle, paperback, textbook, touchdown, shoelace, applesauce, etc.

  • Open Compounds:

Best seller, seat belt, telephone operator, high school, wheel chair, word processor, chewing gum, box office, calling bell, cough drop, cricket ball, day care, dining room, hand bag, hair coloring, life preserver, shopping complex, washing machine, milk shake, tooth brush, pencil sharpener, store keeper, post office, speed breaker, study hall, etc.

  • Hyphenated Compounds:

Baby-sitter, editor-in-chief, great-grandchild, air-conditioned, all-purpose, best-selling, break-in, check-in, drive-in, follow-up, full-length, left-handed, long-distance, play-by-play, tax-free, etc.

These words are usually written with hyphens:

1) All fractions written out in words:

For example,
 One-half, two-thirds, five-eighths, three-fourths, etc.

2) All two-word numbers from twenty-one to ninety-nine written out as words:

For example,
 Twenty-six, fifty-eight, forty-three, ninety-seven, etc.

3) Most compounds that begin with self:

For example,
 Self-satisfaction, self-control, self-esteem, self-employed, self-taught, etc.

4) Some two- or three-word family members:

For example,
 Mother-in-law, father-in-law, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, step-sister, step- brother, great-aunt, great- uncle, etc.

Compound Nouns Plural:

1) To make most one-word and two-word compound nouns plural, just add 's' to the end:

For example,
 Briefcases, girlfriends, covered wagons, launch pads, etc.

2) With hyphenated compound nouns, make the most important word plural:

For example,
 Great-grandsons, brothers-in-law, passers-by, etc.

Actually, there are no strict rules for compound words.

Adjective may be either closed or hyphenated (ex: a standby ticket, a stand-up comedian, front-page news, etc).

Verbs are usually open but are occasionally closed or hyphenated (ex: show off one's skills, start to shadowbox, learn to touch-type, etc).

Nouns are most commonly either closed or open, but can also be hyphenated (ex: appear on the front page, achieve a breakthrough, act like a show-off, etc).