Capitalisation in English may be an issue if it differs too much from the capitalisation rules of your mother tongue. In this entry, we explain the most common capitalisation rules in English.
Use capital letters to mark the beginning of a sentence
We went to Italy last summer. We had a lot of fun.
Use capital letters at the beginning of proper nouns
Proper nouns include personal names (including titles before names), nationalities and languages, days of the week and months of the year, public holidays as well as geographical places:
Dr James Potts is the consultant at Lancaster Hospital.
I love Norway.
Can you speak German?
We have lessons on Tuesday.
What plans do you have for Christmas?
But do not capitalize seasons:
I hate winter!
Use capital letters for the titles
For example, books, magazines and newspapers, plays and music:
‘Titanic’ is a great film.
They are performing Beethoven’s Sixth Symphony.
Use capital letters for titles that precede a name
There were few clues given by President Trump during the campaign about his preferred higher education policies.
But, do not capitalize titles that follow names:
There were few clues given by Trump, president of the U.S., during the campaign about his preferred higher education policies.
Do not capitalize titles used as general words:
The president gave few clues.
Use capital letters for names of gods, specific deities, religious figures, and holy books
Gods: Buddha, Zeus, Allah, God the Father
Religious figures: Moses, Mohammed, the Virgin Mary
Holy books: the Bible, the Koran, the Bhagavad Gita
But do not capitalise the non-specific use of the word “god”:
The Romans believed in many gods.
Use capital letters for periods and events
Victorian Era, Age of Enlightenment, Renaissance
However, centuries—and the numbers before them—are not capitalised.
In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, England blossomed into an empire.
Use capital letters for trademarks
Don’t capitalise after a colon (usually)
In most cases, you don’t need to capitalise after a colon.
I have one true passion: board games.
But capitalise when the word following the colon is a proper noun.
There is only one place I want to visit: New York City.
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