Use & Misuse Of Capital Letters

We all know that Capitalization is nothing but starting a word with the first letter in capital/uppercase and remaining in lowercase.

We also know that it is quite a complex thing to remember all its usage rules as they differ from language to language and change over time and few are argued. But the usage of capitals is very important in the expression of visual cues in the English language. They are as important as punctuation marks in written English.

For Eg: the meaning of Liberal vs liberal is different (Liberal Party, liberal tastes).

So, here are a few blind tips to remember when to use capitals in English and when not to, to improve your writing as English is predominantly used for official matters all over the world and on internet.

Capitalization Rules

The below rules says when to capitalize a word.

  1. For all Proper nouns
  2. All Proper adjectives
  3. All Abbreviations & Brand names
  4. All names & nicknames of People, Ethnic groups, Places, Companies, Government Depts, Publications, Days, Months & Significant days.
  5. Structures, Nations & Tribes
  6. All names of Languages
  7. The first letter of a sentence and stanza in a poetry and first letter of first word in independent clause followed by colon.
  8. The first word in a quoted sentence.
  9. In headings and publication titles to give additional emphasis
  10. ‘I’, ‘I’ll’, I’m – first person pronoun is always capitalized, but not me, my & mine
  11. All honorific titles – Mr., Mrs, Ms, Miss kind
  12. All names with personal titles that show ranks and prestige – Dr, Major, General kind
  13. Religions, Religious days & Deities – Lord Venkateswara, Insha Allah
  14. Planets & celestial bodies
  15. Monuments, graves, memorials, and plaques – Vijay Ghat, NTR Ghat
  16. Sometimes all caps are used for headings and special typographical emphasis or to differentiate words in the sentence but it is generally considered as shouting & bold.
  17. Certain press & publications use their own style in using capitals.

Eg: Associated press content.

When Not To Capitalize A Word.

1.Don’t put full stops in abbreviations.

2. Never use capital in the middle of a word apart from the first letter.

3. Similarly, never end a sentence or word with capital.

4. Don’t write abbreviations in small letters

5. Don’t forget to capitalize small designations, such as

For E.g. general manager (wrong) -> General Manager

carpenter (wrong) -> Carpenter

6. Take care of your closing in letters and emails…

E.g.: Yours Faithfully (wrong) -> Yours faithfully

So, kindly follow the above rules and make your writing more meaningful.

-E.Hemachandra Prasad