Capitalization

The first letter of the first word in every sentence is always capitalized. However, the following are other rules students should know:



Reproduce capitalization in a quoted passage.

The first word of quoted material which follows an explanatory phrase must be capitalized.

For example:

According to Kate Chopin, "All women should live for themselves."

NOTE: When the quotation is blended into the grammatical structure of the sentence, the first word is not capitalized.

For example:

The University's President asserts that all students "need to comply with University guidelines."


Capitalize words of significance in a title.

Capitalize all words of significance in the titles of books, periodicals, and art works. Do not capitalize articles (a, an, the), conjunctions (and, but, or), or prepositions of four or fewer letters, unless they are the first or last words of a title.

For example:

Pride and Prejudice
"Lines Composed a Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey"
The Mayor of Casterbridge


Capitalize names of people or groups of people.

For example:

Margaret Atwood Brad Pitt
Catholics Libertarians

Names of family relations are only capitalized when they are before the person's name:

Grandma Sally grandma
Uncle Johnnie uncle

Capitalize religions and religious titles and names.

For example:

Catholicism God
Unitarian Hindu
the Bible Judaism
Presbyterian the Koran

Capitalize names of nations, nationalities, and languages.

For example:

Australia; German
African-American Chinese
Italian Gaelic

Capitalize places and regions (designated by points on a compass) when they function as nouns and refer to a particular place in the country and not to a direction.

For example:

The Grand Canyon the Appalachian Mountains
the Midwest the Wild West

NOTE: I was driving west. (In this sentence "west" refers to a direction.)


Capitalize titles of distinction.

For example:

Secretary of the Interior President Roosevelt
Prime Minister Blair Governor Doyle
Dr. Phil Nathan Starck, D.C.
Andy Weiner, Ph.D. Sam Jackson, Sr.
Sam Jackson, Jr.