Capitalization Rules

1. Capitalize the first word of a quoted sentence.
a. Example – He said, “Treat her as you would your own daughter.”

2. Capitalize a proper noun.
a. Example – Golden Gate Bridge

3. Capitalize a person’s title when it precedes the name. Do not capitalize when the title is acting as a description following the name.
a. Example – Chairperson Petrov
b. Example – Ms. Petrov, the chairperson of the company, will address us at noon.

4. Capitalize the person’s title when it follows the name on the address or signature line.
a. Example – Ms. Petrov, Chairperson

5. Capitalize the titles of high-ranking government officials when used with or before their names. Do not capitalize the civil title if it is used instead of the name.
a. Examples – The governors, lieutenant governors, and attorney generals are called a special task force.
b. Governor Fortinbrass, Lieutenant Governor Poppins, Attorney General Dalloway, and Senators James and Twain will attend.

6. Capitalize any title when used as a direct address.
a. Example – Will you take my temperature, Doctor?

7. Capitalize the points of a compass only when they refer to specific regions.
a. Examples – We have had three relatives visit from the South.
b. Go south and then turn left.

8. Always capitalize the first and last words of titles of publications, regardless of their parts of speech. Capitalize other words within titles, including the short verb forms Is, Are, and Be.
a. Exception: Do not capitalize little words within titles such as a, an, the, but, as, if, and, or, nor, or prepositions, regardless of their length.
b. Example – The Day of the Jackal

9. Capitalize federal or state when used as part of an official agency name or in government documents where these terms represent an official name. If they are being used as general terms, you may use lowercase letters.
a. Examples – The State Board of Equalization collects sales taxes.
b. We will visit three states during our summer vacation.

10. You may capitalize words such as department, bureau, and office if you have prepared your text in the following way:
a. Example – The Bureau of Land Management has some jurisdiction over Indian lands. The Bureau is finding its administrative role to be challenging.

11. Do not capitalize the names of seasons.
a. Example – I love autumn colors and spring flowers.

12. Capitalize the first word of a salutation and the first word of a complimentary close.
a. Example – My dear Mr. Sanchez
b. Very truly yours

13. Capitalize words derived from proper nouns.
a. Example – I must take English as my main subject.

14. Capitalize the names of specific course titles.
a. Example – I must take History and Algebra.

17. After a sentence ending with a colon, do not capitalize the first word if it begins a list.
a. Example – These are my favorite foods: chocolate cake, spaghetti, and artichokes.

Exercise 1

  1. I discussed the matter with my professor.
  2. We were studying Robert Frost’s poem “The death of the hired man”.
  3. All grade 12 students take history and english.
  4. Usually college classes begin the day after labour day.
  5. You know, dad, I haven’t had the car all week.
  6. He shouted, “what’s happening?”
  7. The doctor sent her to the hospital last wednesday.
  8. After graduating from high school, he went to Vancouver island university.
  9. My aunt is president of her club this fall.
  10. My cousin plays hockey for simon fraser university.

Exercise 2

  1. The sugar maple and the hemlock are both native to canada.
  2. She graduated from vancouver island university and now is attending ubc
  3. My mother likes plane travel, but dad would rather drive.
  4. Last spring we took a trip through the rocky mountains.
  5. His mother bakes the best cookies, but aunt angela makes the best pies.
  6. We’re studying about world war II in history now.
  7. I’ve always liked literature and have decided to make it my major.
  8. Next semester I’m going to take psychology 112, history 112, and English 200; then the following
    semester I’ll take math and physics.
  9. The team from pearson college was on our campus last weekend.
  10. “I’d rather be a big duck in a little pond,” she said, “than a little duck in a big pond.

Exercise 1

  1. Correct
  2. “The Death of the Hired Man”
  3. English
  4. Labour Day
  5. Dad
  6. What’s
  7. Wednesday
  8. Vancouver Island University
  9. Correct
  10. Simon Fraser University

Exercise 2

  1. Canada
  2. Vancouver Island University, UBC
  3. Dad
  4. Rocky Mountains
  5. Aunt Angela
  6. World War
  7. Correct
  8. Psychology, History
  9. Pearson College
  10. Correct

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