Capitalization Rules

Wouldn’t you love to have a ready reference of when to capitalize and when not to?The Grammar Cop has made up such a guide for you.

CAPITALIZE:

  • A person’s name.
  • A person’s title when it precedes the name.
  • Days of the week, months of the year.
  • Special days, holidays.
  • Organizations and abbreviations of organizations.
  • Historical periods, documents, and events.
  • Nationality, race, or language.
  • Personification of objects or abstract concepts.
  • First word of a statement.
  • When used as part of a proper name: lake, county, high school, college, river, street, park, country, company, institution, etc. (Ohio River, the river)
  • A noun identifying a family member when used as a name. (Mom, your mom)
  • Geographical locations-specific. (The West, out west)
  • References to the Diety.
  • The pronoun “I.”
  • Acronyms (AT&T, URL)
  • In a title, all words except prepositions, articles, and conjunctions of four letters or less (Days of Thunder) unless it’s the first word. (The Runaway Bride)
  • Subjects studied that are specific titles (Composition 101, meterology, American History 202, biology)

DON’T CAPITALIZE:

  • Points on a compass or direction.
  • Seasons of the year.
  • Pronouns other than “I” unless at the start of a sentence or part of a title.

EXAMPLES:

We watched West Wing before heading down south.

Independence Day falls on a Wednesday this year, according to my mother.

Mother is always right about summer holidays.

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukah, and best wishes for the new year.

As always, you should consult a dictionary or grammar or style reference when in doubt.Happy writing!

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