Capitalization Rules and Examples

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Capitalization Examples

Capitalize proper Nouns:  David Attenborough, Grace Kelly, William Shakespeare, Korea

Capitalize proper adjectives, which are adjectives derived from proper nounsBritish, American, Shakespearean, Korean

Note: words derived from proper nouns are usually lowercase: french fries, china cups

Capitalize geographic divisions, regions, and localities and topographical features like rivers, lakes, and mountains: South Pole, Pacific Ocean, Rocky Rainier, the West, Upper East Side, Lake Michigan, Northern Hemisphere, Gulf States and the Middle East

Note: Do not capitalize directions: She works 5 miles north of Cleveland

Capitalize titles preceding names: President Washington, Aunt Jackie, Professor Miller, Senator Jackson, Queen Elizabeth, Doctor Holmes

Note: Do not capitalize titles without a proper noun: a book about the queen; the senator’s thoughts; her aunt, Tiffany Hope; the president’s speech; the professor’s lecture. 

Capitalize proper noun epithets: Ivan the Terrible, Lincoln is known as the Great Emancipator, Olaf the Red, Ketil Flat-nose

Capitalize the names of political groups, judicial bodies, social groups, councils, and departments: Elk’s Club, Green Party, U.S. Congress, Environmental Protection Agency

Capitalize the names for time periods, events, and documents of historical significance:  the Middle Ages, the Bill of Rights, World War II, the Magna Carta, the Renaissance

Capitalize street names, monuments and buildings: the Sphinx, Hollywood Boulevard, Empire State Building

Capitalize supreme deities and sacred material: Talmud, the Gospel, Quran, Bible, God the Father Almighty, Yahweh, Allah

Capitalize denominations and its members: Buddha, Buddhist

Capitalize days of the week, months, holy days and holidays: Monday, June, Memorial Day Christmas, Father’s Day

Capitalize the word after a question mark: Are they hungry? Dinner will be served shortly.

Capitalize the first word after a direct quote: I said, “Are they really leaving late?”

Note: Do not capitalize a split within a quote; for example: “No,” said Roger, “they’re leaving on time.”

Capitalize the first word and key words in the title of a literary or other artistic creationZen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values (book), What a Wonder World (song), Girl with a Pearl Earring (painting), A Dream Within a Dream (poem)

Capitalize the names of ships, aircraft, and spacecraft: USS Arizona, Lady Be Good, space shuttle Voyager

Capitalize the names of constellations, planets, and stars: Milky Way, Big Dipper, Jupiter, Halley’s Comet

Capitalize the names of geologic eras, periods, epochs, and names of prehistoric divisions: the Mesozoic Era, the Stone Age, the Quaternary Period

Capitalize the genus name but not the species name in binomial nomenclature: Felis catus (cat), Musa acuminata (banana)

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