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Capitalization Help: A Tutorial & Learning Guide

Deciding which letters to capitalize in a sentence can be a pain. However, here is a list to help out.

The first word in a sentence
example:
  • The camel crossed the road. - (The is capitalized. If 'the' was in the middle of the sentence, it would be in lowercase.)
Abbreviations
examples:
  • ATM
  • IBM
The pronoun 'I'
example:
  • Nevertheless, I enjoyed the movie.
Proper nouns
(People, places, organizations and sometimes things)
examples:
  • Monarch Industries
  • Wichita, Kansas
  • Indian Ocean
  • Aunt Mary - (Hint: Titles preceding names are capitalized, but titles following names or without names aren't.)
Days of the week, months and holidays
(Seasons are generally not capitalized, however if it is used in a title, such as 'The Spring 2006 semester' it is.)
examples:
  • Tuesday
  • April
  • Independence Day
Directions that are names
examples:
  • Her house was in the South during WWII.
  • She lived just ten miles north of Atlanta, Georgia.
The first word of a sentence that is in quotes
example:
  • Gary said, "She worked all night long at the cafe."
Major words in the title of books, magazines, poetry, songs, etc.
(But not short prepositions or 'the', 'a' or 'an' unless used as the first or last word.)
example:
  • Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Names of countries, nationalities and specific languages
examples:
  • United States of America
  • German
  • Indian
Members of national, political, racial, social, civic, and athletic groups
examples:
  • Kansas City Cheifs
  • Chinese-Americans
  • Democrats