When to use capital letters • The first words of a sentence • When he tells a joke, he sometimes forgets the punch line. • The pronoun “I” • The last time I visited Atlanta was several years ago.
Proper nouns (names of specific people, places, organizations, & sometimes things) • Worrill Fabrication Company • Golden Gate Bridge • Supreme Court • Livingston, Missouri • Atlantic Ocean • Mothers Against Drunk Driving
Family relationships • (when used as a name or title with a name) • I sent a thank-you note to Aunt Abigail, • (but not when denoting a relationship) • but not to my other aunts. • (when used as a name or title with a name) • Here is a present I bought for Mother. • (but not when denoting a relationship) • Did you buy a present for your mother?
Titles preceding names, but not following names • She worked as the assistant to Mayor Hanolovi. • I was able to interview Miriam Moss, mayor of Littonville.
The names of God, specific deities, religious figures, & holy books • God the Father • the Virgin Mary • the Bible • Greek & Roman gods, e.g., Zeus • the Qur’an • Shiva • Buddha • Exception: Don’t capitalize the non-specific use of the word "god." • The word "polytheistic" means the worship of more than one god.
Days of the week, months of the year, & holidays • (but not the seasons used generally) • Halloween • October • Friday • winter • spring • fall • Exception: Seasons *are* capitalized when used in a title. • The Fall 1999 semester
Directions • When referring specific geographical regions, • The Franks vacationed in the Southwest. • Tia moved to Southern Ohio. • The West Coast has the sunshine. • but not as compass directions • Jim’s house is two miles north of Richwood. • The states along the eastern seaboard were hit by a hurricane.
The names of countries, nationalities, and specific languages • Costa Rica • Spanish • French • English
National, political, racial, social, civic, athletic groupsor references to them • African-Americans • Green Bay Packers • Anti-Semitic • Democrats • Friends of the Wilderness • Chinese, French, Arabic
Titles • The major words in books, articles, & songs titles(but not short prepositions or articles "the," "a," or "an," unless they’re the first word) • One of Jerry’s favorite books is The Catcher in the Rye.
Miscellaneous • Periods and events (but not century numbers) • Victorian Era • Great Depression • Constitutional Convention • sixteenth century • Civil Rights Era • Trademarks (but not when used as common name) • Pepsi • Honda • IBM • Microsoft Word • Kleenex, kleenexes
More miscellany… • Words and abbreviations of specific names (but not names that came from specific things but are now general types) • Freudian • NBC • pasteurize • UN • french fries • Italics • The first word in a sentence that is a direct quote • Emerson once said, "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds."
The End • http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/592/01/