It has been a while since I talked about rules of English grammar, which mostly due to the fact that I wasn’t sure what to talk about. But then when I sat down to pick a grammar topic to write about, it came to me almost immediately: rules of capitalization. This is part one, since there are so many specific rules that your eyes would glaze over if they were in the same post.
I’m just going to skim over the English capitalization rules you probably already know first.
1. Capitalize the first word in a sentence, the first word in a line of poetry (unless the poet says otherwise), the first word of a quotation, and proper nouns and adjectives.
Here are the nuances:
2. Capitalize the proper noun in a brand name but not the generic name that follows.
Examples: Kleenex tissues, Crest toothpaste, and Nike shoes
Example: The blogger took a picture of her Starbucks latte while she wore Tory Burch riding boots.
3. Capitalize the names of the language, race, nationality, religion, and the adjectives formed from them.
Examples: France, French, Asia, Asian, Africa, African American
Example: Since Rebecca goes to school in Virginia, she is a Virginian for most of the year.
4. Capitalize the names of days, months, and holidays, as well as buildings, bridges, monuments, documents, planes, trains, and ships. (These are considered proper nouns, by the way.)
Examples: Passover, Empire State Building, Golden Gate Bridge, Bill of Rights, Titanic
Example: On Thursday, November 27, 2014, Americans will celebrate Thanksgiving. You could take an Amtrak train to New York City to see the Empire State Building that weekend.
5. Capitalize the names of geographical areas, historical events, and periods of time. (These are also considered proper nouns.)
Examples: the Great Depression, the Industrial Revolution, the Ice Age
Example: During the Civil War in the United States of America, as well as in the Great Depression and the Industrial Revolution, there were no bloggers because computers didn’t exist yet.
6. In a title, capitalize the first letter of the first and last words and of all other words except articles and prepositions.
Articles: a, an, the
Prepositions: about, above, across, after, against, around, at, before, behind, below, beneath, beside, besides, between, beyond, by, down, during, except, for, from, in, inside, into, like, near, of, off, on, out, outside, over, since, through, throughout, till, to, toward, under, until, up upon, with, without, according to, because of, by way of, in addition to, in front of, in place of, in regard to, in spite of, instead of, on account of, out of
(note: if one of these words is the first or last word of a title, the first letter is capitalized)
Example: The Rules of English Grammar, The Blog about Stuff, Blogging without Reason