Grammar 101: Basic Rules of Capitalization - Part I

Below are some basic rules to capitalization.

  • The first word in every sentence.
  • The first word in a direct quotation.
  • Every line in a poem.
  • Each item displayed in a list or outline:
  • 1. Quality Control.
    2. Marketing.
    3. Accounting; and so on.

  • Proper Nouns:
  • Names of people, corporations, organizations, councils, congresses and historical periods and events.:
  • Hillary Rodham Clinton.
    a Democrat.
    Roman Catholic Church.
    the Republican Party.
    the Korean War.
    United Airlines.

  • Names of places and geographical divisions, districts, regions, and locales:
  • Wall Street.
    the South.
    New England.
    the Grand Canyon in Arizona.
    New Mexico.

  • Names of rivers, lakes, mountains, and languages:
  • Pacific Ocean.
    Nile River.
    Lake Michigan.
    Rocky Mountains.

  • Names if nationalities, peoples and tribes, and languages:
  • Americans.
    Cherokee.
    Gaelic.
    French.

  • Words that are derived from proper nouns when used in their primary senses:
  • European cities.
    British royalty.

  • Words that are derived from proper nouns when used in their primary senses:
  • American cities.
    British royalty.

    Check back next week for more tips on proper capitalization.


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