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

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