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Capitalization rules vary by language. Just because a word or phrase is capitalized in your native tongue, does not necessarily mean it will require capitalization in English – and vice versa. English capitalization can be a little tricky, but, with a little study and a good memory, you’ll be Successful successful!



The first word of a sentence

How many hours did you study last night?

Names of individuals

Abraham Lincoln, Bill Gates

Names of countries, cities, towns, roads & unique landmarks

United States of America, the North Pole, the High Tatras, Ruscoe Road

Names of geographies when they stand alone or refer to a specific geographic area

the Midwest, the Northeast ( but: he lives in the eastern part of the state)

The pronoun I

Do you think I would like that movie?

Titles, only when they come before names

President Bush, Dr. Smith, Aunt Sophie

(Do not capitalize if you’re speaking in general terms, as in: I’m going to see the president of our company).

Days of the week, months of the year

Tuesday, December

Names of holidays

Christmas, Hannukah, Thanksgiving

Religions & their followers

Hindus, Hinduism, Christians, Christianity

Names of races

Asian, African American, Caucasian

Names of languages & words derived from these names

German, Germanic

Historical periods & events

the Dark Ages, the Vietnam War

All the words in titles of books, articles, plays, films, TV shows, except short prepositions, conjunctions, and articles (such as the, a, in, for, or)

The Innocents Abroad, The Purple Rose of Cairo, Desperate Housewives

All words in the names of specific organizations and agencies, except prepositions, conjunctions, and articles

Random House, the United Nations, Harvard University, the Department of Agriculture

The first word in the closing of a letter

Sincerely yours,… Warm regards,…

For academic titles, capitalize letters of acronyms only (but not when the title is spelled out)

M.B.A., B.A. Ph.D. ( but master of business administration, bachelor of arts, doctorate)

For grades received at school.

She earned an A in history and a B in chemistry.




summer, fall, winter

Classes and courses, unless you’re referring to the exact title or you’re talking about a language class

I’m taking physics (but: I’m taking Physics for Poets)

Student classifications

She’s a sophomore. He’s a senior.

When a title is used alone

She was promoted to vice president.

The president or our university will speak tomorrow.

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