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The Rules of Capitalization
for Written English


When writing, be sure to capitalize the following words:

  1. The first word of every sentence.
  2. The first word on the titles of themes, stories, and books and all other words in them, except the articles (a, an, the), prepositions, and conjunctions.
  3. The first word of every direct quotation.
  4. All proper names, including the names of persons, languages, races, countries, and organizations, and the names and titles of God.

    All geographical names, including the names of continents, states, provinces, counties, cities, streets, oceans, lakes, and rivers should be capitalized. Do not capitalize north, south, east, and west when they are used as common nouns to denote the points of the compass or indicate direction.

    Do not capitalize the names of the seasons, classes in school or college, or studies, except the languages.

  5. The titles and terms of family relationships when they are used in place of names of persons or as part of the names of persons (e.g., Mother, Father, Aunt Mary, Professor, Doctor).
  6. Academic degrees.
  7. Proper adjectives. These are adjectives derived from proper nouns, as illustrated by Italian food, Chinese dialects, and Honda trucks.
  8. The first word of each line of poetry.
  9. The pronoun I and the interjection O.


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