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Writing

This Guide was created as a joint project of the Academic Resource Center and the William H. Hannon Library.

Directed Learning: Capitalization

8 Rules for Capitalization

1. Capitalize the first word of a quoted sentence.
Example: God said, “Let there be light!”

2. Capitalize a proper noun.
Example: The Eiffel Tower is humongous.

3. Capitalize a person’s title when it comes before a person’s name. Do not capitalize when the title is acting as a description after the name.
Example: President Barack Obama ate a ham sandwich today.
Barack Obama, the president, ate a turkey sandwich today. Or
The president ate a pulled pork sandwich today.

4. Capitalize the titles of high-ranking government officials when used before their names. Do not capitalize the title if it’s used instead of a name.
Example: The governor likes to eat popcorn in his spare time.
Senator Smith has dinner plans with other senators after today’s session.

5. Capitalize any title when used as a direct address.
Example: Please hand me the paper back, Professor.
Mom, I told you I didn’t want a peanut butter and jelly sandwich every day!

6. Capitalize points of compass only when referring to specific regions.
Example: Go south and then walk three miles to find the treasure chest.
People living in the South are very kind and generous.

7. Do not capitalize names of the seasons.
Example: What a beautiful summer day!

8. Capitalize days of the weeks, months of the year and holidays.
Example: At the end of October, on Wednesday, I plan on dressing up as a walrus for Halloween.

Remember, proper nouns are always capitalized! These include names of specific people, religions, religious followers, God, nationalities and their languages, races, particular places, organizations, departments, degrees, particular courses, political parties, historical movements, periods, events.

Directed Learning Activity: Capitalization

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