Respect the Trademark!

Writers, beware of inadvertant trademark violations in your writing. Companies and individuals invest in trademark registrations and name recognition. Honor their work by capitalizing these trademarked names. Take advantage of SpellCheck, which can recognize and mark trademarked names as you type.

Here are trademarked names commonly abused:

  • Coke
  • Jeep
  • Frigidaire
  • Windbreaker
  • Formica
  • Dumpster
  • Kleenex
  • Velcro
  • Hula Hoop
  • Band-Aid
  • Crock-Pot
  • Vaseline
  • Xerox
  • Jaws of Life

When in doubt, look it up. Respect the trademark!

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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!