10 Basic English Capitalization Rules With Examples

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10 Basic English Capitalization Rules With Examples February 21, 2023

You may feel offended when learning capitalization rules because they seem to be the easiest to understand and apply. Like many others, you may also think capitalization rules just involve capitalizing the first word of a sentence and proper nouns. However, in actuality, there is a lot more that you need to know about capitalization.

The capitalization rules aren’t simple to learn, as they involve several complexities. But this blog will help you understand them in a better way through examples. This post will cover 10 capitalization rules in English that all writers must know about. 

10 English Capitalization Rules

1. Capitalize the First Word of a Sentence

You must be aware of this rule, as it’s the easiest one to remember among all rules of capitalization. This rule emphasizes starting every sentence’s first word with a capital alphabet. 

Here are examples to depict the usage of this rule. 

Correct: The match was suspended due to bad weather.

Correct: We are celebrating his birthday this weekend.

Incorrect: he wasn’t in the mood to talk.

2. Capitalize Quotes (Complete Sentences)

When you’re quoting someone’s statement, the first word should start with a capital letter. However, it is only applicable to complete sentences. In the case of partial quotes or statements, the first word shouldn’t be capitalized.

Examples of this rule include:

Correct: Max announced, “The party will start at 9:00 PM.”

Correct: Sara said she “was horrified with the death of her aunt.”

Incorrect: Alex asked, “do you have an extra pen?”

3. Capitalize Names and Proper Nouns

All proper nouns and names should be capitalized. Whether quoting someone’s statement, writing a sentence, or jotting down a title, the names and proper nouns need to be capitalized everywhere.

Examples of this rule include:

Correct: Harry is coming to dinner.

Correct: She received her visa for Australia yesterday.

Incorrect: alan got into a road accident. 

4. Don’t Capitalize After a Colon

The colon works as a pause between two sentences. Therefore, the word starting right after a colon shouldn’t be capitalized. Many people think that the colon has a similar break to a period. However, it’s not correct to perceive the colon as a period, as it denotes a small break in a sentence and is used to complete a similar idea or list.

Here are examples to show the correct usage of a colon.

Correct: Alex finally got what he worked hard for: a promotion.

Correct: She needs the following items to bake a cake: sugar, butter, and flour. 

Incorrect: Anna knows what she needs to do: Practice. 

5. Capitalize “I” in Sentences

The usage of I as a pronoun anywhere in a sentence should be capitalized. However, this rule doesn’t apply to words that start with I, unless they are proper nouns.

The following examples can help you understand how to use “I” correctly in sentences.

Correct: Maeve and I will go to the park at noon.

Correct: Bob and I are planning a trip to the Maldives.

Incorrect: May i have a glass of water? 

6. Capitalize Words in Titles

This capitalization rule is a little tricky, as it cannot be applied to all words in a title. When capitalizing words in titles, all nouns, proper nouns, verbs, and adjectives should be in title case. The other words in titles need to be in lowercase, which includes prepositions, conjunctions, and articles.

Its examples include:

Correct: The Role of SEO in Digital Marketing

Correct: Tips to Improve Your Writing

Incorrect: Easy ways to Download videos 

7. Capitalize Locations

You must capitalize the proper names of locations and addresses. The location names represented with specific directions should also be capitalized. However, the directions, in general, must remain in lowercase.

Here are the examples to understand this rule:

Correct: The Eiffel Tower is located in Paris.

Correct: Alee Lives in North Carolina.

Incorrect: Turn West at the stop sign. 

8. Capitalize Events

The events that have proper names need to be capitalized. Here are examples that can help you understand this capitalization rule.

Correct: He watched the documentary on the Sealing of the Magna Carta.

Correct: The Middle Ages lasted from the late 5th to late 15th century.

Incorrect: You should watch the documentary on the agronomist. 

9. Capitalize Months, Days, and Holidays

Months, days, and holidays are also considered proper nouns; therefore, their names must also start with capitalized letters. However, this rule doesn’t apply to the names of the seasons. Capitalizing the name of the season is a mistake that must be avoided.

Examples of this capitalization rule include:

Correct: I’m planning a road trip with Zeke this Sunday.

Correct: Henry was born in April.

Incorrect: I love the season of Spring. 

10. Capitalize Nationalities, Countries, and Cities

The names of countries, cities, and nationalities are also considered proper nouns. Hence, you must capitalize them regardless of whether you’re using them at the start, middle, or end of the sentence.

You can better understand this rule with the following examples:

Correct: Anna’s mother is Dutch.

Correct: He’s planning a trip to Thailand.

Incorrect: He can speak french fluently.

Final Words:

So here, this blog comes to an end. The rules about capitalization discussed in this post help you clear your thoughts about the correct usage of uppercase letters. You must have a clear understanding of capitalization rules, as they are the basics of the language and contain an essential role in improving the quality of your text.