When To Use Capital Letters

Sometimes it’s hard to know when to capitalise the first letter of a word and when not to capitalise the first letter of a word. Luckily there are some basic rules to follow that make it a lot easier to get this area of grammar right. If you can learn these rules and follow these rules, you should be on the right track.

Always use capital letters for:

  • Proper nouns – names of people, pets, towns, states, countries, streets, suburbs, rivers and mountains;
  • Salutations – Mr, Mrs, Dr, etc…;
  • The pronoun I;
  • The first word of a sentence;
  • Days of the week, months of the year and specific periods of history;
  • Names of languages, nationalities, denominations, religions, churches, holy days, festivals, schools and firms;
  • Titles of books, poems, plays, films, songs, magazines, newspapers (use a capital for the first word and any significant words, but not minor words like the, of, and, in);
  • Titles of brands, restaurants and ships;
  • The first word of direct speech;

These rules cover most situations when a capital should be used, but there are more. A general rule of thumb to follow is: a generic word isn’t capitalised and a specific word is capitalised.

Kristy Taylor is a syndicated freelance journalist with articles and short stories strewn across all forms of media. She has written and published numerous books, and is the executive editor of KT Publishing, which encompasses several web sites. For free listings of short story competitions visit http://www.shortstorycompetitions.com

To contact Kristy, email her at mail@kristytaylor.com

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