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Capitalization

Capitalization

 

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Requirements

Capitalization


Hello! In this lesson, we will learn where to use capital letters. English uses lower case and upper case letters. We sometimes refer to the upper case letters as "capital letters". There are specific rules for the proper use of "capital letters".

In this lesson, we will learn the rules and see some examples.
When we say to "capitalize" a word, we mean that we use a capital letter for the first letter of that word, not all the letters in the word.

We usually capitalize the first word of a sentence, unless the first word is a word that is never capitalized or whose meaning changes when it is capitalized. For example, we would capitalize the first word "the" in the sentence "The house is big.", but we would never capitalize the scientific term "pH", even if it came at the beginning of the sentence, because its meaning is meshed with its capitalization.

We usually capitalize the first word of a quoted sentence, unless the first word is never capitalized. For example, we would write "Jennifer said, "The house is big."".

We capitalize proper nouns.  A proper noun is the specific name for a specific person, place, thing, or idea. For example, we capitalize the name "Jennifer" because "Jennifer" is the specific name for a specific person.

Jennifer is a "woman", but we do not generally capitalize the word "woman", since it applies to many persons, not a specific woman.

We capitalize "New York City" because it is the name of a specific city. For example, "Jennifer and David are going to visit New York City." But look at this sentence: "After Jennifer and David visit New York City, they will visit Albany, another famous New York city." In fact, Albany is the capital of New York, but it is not named "New York City" -- it is a city in "New York ", which is a state.  

We capitalize the names of mountains, rivers, lakes, and other geographic locations with specific names. For example, we visit the "Grand Canyon," the "Mississippi River", and the "Florida Keys".

We capitalize the names of the days of the week, months, and holidays. For example, we capitalize "Sunday, January," and "Thanksgiving".

We capitalize the names of deities, religious holy days, and religion names. For example, "Jesus Christ is the center of Christianity." "Ramadan is a holy month in Islam.".

We capitalize a person's title when it is used with his or her name. For example, we capitalize "Supervisor Johnson", since the word "Supervisor" is used with "Johnson", his or her family name. However, if we used the word "supervisor" without the specific name, we would write, for example, "Mrs. Johnson, the supervisor of the department, will meet with workers in the cafeteria.".

We capitalize a person's title when it is used as part of the person's signature, or if it follows the person's signature on the next line. For example:

"Sincerely,

Rita Johnson

Department Supervisor "

We capitalize the titles of government officials when the titles are used with the names of the persons. For example, we write "Governor Johnson will speak today at 2 p.m." or "The governor will speak today at 2:00 p.m.".

We capitalize titles when we address the persons directly. For example, we say "Please take a seat, Senator.".

We capitalize directions (such as south, north, east, west) when they refer to a specific region. For example, we write "My sister lives in the Northeast.".

However, we would not capitalize the word "northeast" in the sentence "My sister lives northeast of the park.".

We capitalize the first and last words of publications and movies. We capitalize other words within the titles, including parts of the verb "to be" like "am, is, are, was" and "were", but not little words like "a, an, the" or prepositions like "to, with, from," and "for".  For example:

"Lord of the Rings

The Last of the Mohicans

A Tale of Two Cities

Close Encounters of the Third Kind

Nightmare on Elm Street"

We capitalize the word "Federal, State, Department, Office, Bureau, Agency" and similar words when they are part of an official agency name. For example, "The Federal Bureau of Investigation will send additional information to all agencies involved. All agencies should wait for information from the Bureau.".In this case, the name "Federal Bureau of Investigation" is an official government agency. The second time we see the word "Bureau", it is used as a short form of the entire name of the official bureau involved.

We capitalize the greeting in a letter. We capitalize the first word of the closing of a letter.
For example:

"Dear Mr. Johnson,
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                  Sincerely yours,
                  ------------------------ "

We capitalize words that come from proper nouns. For example, "Jennifer's cousin is studying French and geography in seventh grade.". We capitalize the word "French" because it is from the proper noun France. But we do not capitalize the word "geography" because it is not related to a proper noun.

Finally, the pronoun "I" is always capitalized in English.  For example, "David and I are going to play football." .


Outstanding! You have learned the capitalization rules in English! Your writing in English will look great if you follow these rules. Practice your writing in English.  Follow the rules, and enjoy your new skills.