TO CAPITALIZE OR NOT TO CAPITALIZE
Modern writers capitalize less frequently than did earlier writers, and informal writing permits less capitalization than formal writing.
Capitalize the pronoun I and the interjection O.
How long must I wait, O Lord?
Donít capitalize the interjection oh unless it is the first word of a sentence.
Oh how we enjoyed the party, but oh how we paid for our fun later.
Capitalize proper nouns, their derivatives and abbreviations, and common nouns used as proper nouns.
1. Specific persons, races, nationalities, languages.
Rita Mae Browne Negroid English Charles Mongoloid French Sally Caucasian Spanish
2. Specific places.
Dallas Newfoundland California Iran Lake Erie Ohio River
3. Specific organizations, historical events, and documents.
Daughters of the American Revolution The French Revolution
4. Days of the week, months, holidays, and holy days.
Thursday November Christmas Sunday January Labor Day Friday May Easter Monday October Hanukkah
5. Religious terms with sacred significance.
the Virgin Allah Holy Ghost Jehovah the Torah
6. Titles of books, plays, magazines, newspapers, journals, articles, poems. Capitalize the first word and all others except articles, and conjunctions and prepositions of fewer than five letters.
Gone with the Wind
The Country Wife Pippa Passes
War and Peace
7. Titles, when they precede a proper noun. Such titles are an essential part of the name and are regularly capitalized. Titles arenít capitalized when they follow the name.
Associate Dean G.P. Bass
Dr. Natalie Spence
Vice Chairman Rossi
8. Common nouns used as an essential part of a proper noun. These are generic names such as street, river, avenue, lake, county, ocean, college.
But when the generic term is used in the plural, it isnít usually capitalized.
Vine and Mulberry streets
the Atlantic and Pacific oceans
Avoid unnecessary capitalization.
1. Capitalize north, east, south, west only when they come at the beginning of a sentence or refer to specific geographical locations.
Birds fly south in the winter.
She lives in the western part of the Old South.
2. The names of seasons need not be capitalized.
fall autumn winter midwinter spring summer
3. Capitalize nouns indicating family relationships only when they are used as names or titles or in combination with proper names. Do not capitalize mother and father when they are preceded by possessive adjectives.
I telephoned my mother.
I telephoned Mother.
4. Ordinarily, donít capitalize common nouns and adjectives used in place of proper nouns and adjectives.
I went to high school in Cleveland.
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