When you use a capital letter, that’s capitalization! Easy, right?
Most people know you capitalize the first word of a sentence or someone’s name, like Sally. And, in general, you just need to follow a few simple rules for proper capitalization.
But there are a few tricky ones, including title capitalization, that is good to review. So, check out the rules below, and you’ll be a capitalization pro before you know it!
Demonstrate your command of the conventions of standard English capitalization with these simple capitalization rules.
Whenever you write something, you always capitalize the first letter of the first word of a sentence. That’s it! It doesn’t matter what the word is – the first letter is always a capital letter.
This is another easy rule! You always capitalize the pronoun "I." Regardless of where you put it in a sentence!
However, "me" doesn’t follow the same capitalization rules. Instead, "me" is usually lowercase unless it's at the beginning of a sentence or a quote!
Please give me the ball.
The same is true for all of the other personal and possessive pronouns: none are capitalized unless they’re at the beginning of a sentence or fit one of the other rules below.
Want to try it out for yourself? Complete the sentences below using the correct capitalization rules. Do the following sentences need capitalization or not?
Now we've got the simple stuff out of the way, let's move on to other capitalization rules.
Check out this capitalization rules table to see when you need to capitalize and when you might not have to.
|Type Names||Rule always capitalize the first letter of a name including middle and last names||Example Oprah Gail Winfrey|
|Type Titles||Rule always capitalize any word that goes along with someone’s name||Example President Joe Biden|
|Type Days of the week||Rule always capitalize||Example Monday|
|Type Months of the year||Rule always capitalize||Example January|
|Type Seasons||Rule you don't need to capitalize||Example fall|
|Type Holidays||Rule always needs capitalization||Example Thanksgiving|
|Type Historical periods||Rule always needs capitalization||Example World War I|
|Type Languages||Rule always needs capitalization||Example English|
|Type Acronyms and initials||Rule always needs capitalization but on all the letters||Example the FBI|
In general, everyone’s name is capitalized in English! Whether your name is Benedict, Laverne, or Rohit, you always capitalize the first letter of your name.
You capitalize the first letter of each of your names, including your first, middle, and last names.
There are a few instances where people choose not to capitalize their names. But this is very much an exception. Examples include e e cummings and bell hooks.
Also, you need to capitalize people’s titles, prefixes, and suffixes. Any word that goes along with someone’s name should be capitalized, including words like these:
Here are some capitalization examples:
However, you don't need to capitalize these words if they don’t appear with the person’s name. For example:
Aside from names, other proper nouns should be capitalized too.
The names of the days of the week, the months of the year, and the holidays are all capitalized.
But remember that you don’t capitalize the four seasons: spring, summer, winter, fall/autumn.
Also, historical periods or events are capitalized if they are proper nouns.
Also, the names of countries, states and provinces, cities, streets, and other places are proper nouns. Therefore, you need to capitalize them, too.
When you write acronyms or initials, you always capitalize every letter – not just the first one!
This is where capitalization gets a little tricky. But don’t worry! Capitalizing quotes just depends on what they are.
Generally, you capitalize the first word of a quotation if it’s a full sentence – even if it’s in the middle of a sentence.
However, you don't capitalize a quotation if it’s just a phrase and not a full sentence.
You follow the everyday capitalization rules for titles of books, movies, songs, TV shows, and other things. But there are more rules you need to add!
There are different style guides for English grammar, and title capitalization rules can change between the different styles. However, a few rules apply to almost all of them.
First, you should always capitalize the first word of the title, just as you would for a sentence.
Here are some examples of capitalization titles:
While some websites can check title capitalization for you, it’s good to know the rules yourself!
Also, always check a style guide to ensure you’re following the rules for the type of writing you’re doing.
Capitalization is a basic feature of written English, so it’s important to get it correct! Luckily, most of the rules are pretty easy.
And if you’re feeling stuck, you can always check a dictionary or style guide to help you figure out how to do it properly.
For more great grammar tips and tricks, check out the other articles on this site!