How to Use Capital Letters

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There’s a time for everything, and that includes capitalizing words. When you are writing your term papers and essays, you will need to know which words to capitalize and when to do so. This system is based on a set of logical rules that you will find fairly easy to learn and apply.

Begin each sentence with a capital letter, including sentences inside quotation marks. Examples: The meeting will be next week. What she said was, “Never call me in the morning.”

Use capital letters when a title includes a proper name or a numeral. Examples: Former Mayor Michael Bloomberg; Pope John Paul II.

Use a capital letter in the first word and all words of importance in published titles. Example: "The Miracle Worker."

Capitalize titles of people when the title appears before the name. Example: Vice President John Burrows.

Do not capitalize a title that appears without a name. Example: The vice president of the college spoke to the student body. Do not capitalize a title that appears after a proper name. Example: Jean Smith, assistant vice president of the college, supported Vice President Burrows in his new policy.

Use a capital letter as the first letter for the days of the week, for the first letter of a month and for the first letter of a holiday. Examples: Monday; February; Thanksgiving, Memorial Day, Labor Day, Easter.

Use a capital letter in the names of historical events, historical statues, historical monuments and historical papers. Examples: The Boston Tea Party, The Liberty Bell, The Washington Monument, The Constitution of the United States.

Use capital letters in names that are of a geographical nature such as the Mediterranean Sea and when writing building names like the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

Use a capital letter for the first letter in the name of an agency of the government, names of institutions, company names and names of organizations. Examples: The U.S. Air Force; Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine; Canon U.S.A., Inc.; the World Wide Web.

Use a capital letter for the first letter in the name when a noun is part of a name such as Calhoun High School. Use a capital letter in the case of a proper noun and in words that come from that proper noun. Examples: Texas and Texan.

Use capital letters when naming religions, gods and any language. Examples: Hindu and Buddha.

Use capital letters in department names. Example: The Department of Public Affairs at the University of Georgia.

Use a capital letter for mom or dad, grandmother, grandfather, aunt or uncle only when the noun is a substitute for the person's proper name when it is part of a direct address. Examples: "Hi, Mom!" He went to his mom's house last week and his grandmother was there, too.

Based in New York, Grace Covelli has been writing since 1996. Her work has appeared on various websites, many of them health-related. Covelli completed a course in writing for children and teenagers and received a diploma for natural health consulting with highest honors. She also studied reflexology, Reiki and esthetics. One of her hobbies is sewing.