When to use capital letters is a complicated matter; here we mention only a few common occasions. You will find more thorough discussions in dictionaries and in style books like The Chicago Manual of Style, 13th Edition, published by The University of Chicago Press.
t> Capitalize Titles
The first and last words of a literary title should be capitalized, as should all words in-between except articles an, the), short prepositions, and coordinating conjunctions:
However, when an article follows a stop in the title (such as a colon or comma), it is usually treated as a second "first" word and capitalized:
Charles Dickens, The Last of the Great Men
Remember that the titles of works published or presented separately (books, magazines, plays, long poems, films) are italicized (underlined), while those published as part of something larger are set in quotes (articles, short stories, most poems, and also television and radio programs).
> Capitalize the First Word of a Quotation
The opening word of quoted speech is capitalized, whether it begins a sentence or not. However, when a quotation is bro ken, the first word of the continuation is not capitalized unless it is a proper noun or adjective or begins a new sentence:
He said, "We liked the movie very much." "We," he said, "liked the movie very much."
With written quotations capitalization of the first word depends on whether the quotation is introduced after a stop or is worked into the sentence as a noun clause following that. In the first example which follows, the quotation begins with a capital; in the second, it does not, even though it may have done so in the original:
G. K. Chesterton writes: "This is the real vulgar optimism of Dickens. . . ."
G. K. Chesterton writes that "this is the vulgar optimism of Dickens. ..."
I> Capitalize Proper Names and Adjectives
A proper name is the designation of a particular person, place, structure, and so on. A proper adjective is a modifier derived from such a name.
Harry Jones, Mary Winter, C. S. Lewis
When the name includes a particle, the particle should be spaced and capitalized (or lowercased) according to accepted usage for that name:
Gabriele D'Annunzio Charles de Gaulle
Nouns, verbs, and modifiers derived from proper names are not capitalized when used in a sense generalized from their origin:
Charles Mackintosh BUT a mackintosh coat the French language BUT french doors
But if a proper adjective is used in a specialized sense closely related to the name from which it derives, it should be capitalized:
He had a de Gaullean sense of country.
Capitalize these when they are part of a name but not otherwise:
Judge Harry Jones BUT Harry Jones was made a judge. Professor Mary Winter BUT Mary Winter became a professor.
National and Racial Groups and Their Languages
Amerindian Mexican Australian Polish German
Places: Continents, Islands, Countries, Regions, and so on
China, Chinese North America, North American
Europe, European Manhattan, Manhattanite the East Coast 42 nd Street
New Jersey, New Jerseyan the North Pole
When a regional name is a common term given specific application (like the Midwest of the United States), an adjective derived from it may or may not be capitalized. Consult a dictionary or style manual for specific cases:
the Far East, Far Eastern history the Midwest, midwestern cities
Structures: Names of Buildings, Bridges, and so on the Brooklyn Bridge the Empire State Building
Kearny High School BUT a high school in Kearny Columbia University BUT a university in the city the Boston Symphony Orchestra BUT a symphony orchestra General Motors BUT the motor industry
Governmental Agencies and Political Parties the U.S. Congress BUT a congressional district the Supreme Court BUT a municipal court the Democratic Party BUT democratic countries
School Subjects and Courses
The subjects you take in college or high school are not capitalized unless they derive from proper nouns (this means language courses only):
anthropology BUT English chemistry BUT French history BUT German philosophy BUT Latin
Names of particular courses, however, are capitalized since they are, in effect, titles:
biology BUT Biology 201 physics BUT Physics
When personified (that is, endowed metaphorically with human qualities) abstractions such as peace, war, winter are capitalized. In their conventional uses they are not:
We had a late spring last year.
Last year Spring arrived reluctantly, hanging her head and dragging her feet.
Was this article helpful?
What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.