How to Use Capital Letters

The accurate use of capital letters is an important factor in the presentation of good grammar and sentence syntax.

The misuse of capital letters may give a manuscript an untidy appearance, and confusion in meaning may arise in the mind of the reader.

Using capital letters correctly is an easily cultivated art and will often be the means of securing favorable considerations for the one who pens the manuscript.

You will need

  • A dictionary for reference

Instructions to Capitalize Letters

  1. Begin all sentence statements and questions with a capital letter, unless it is preceded by a semicolon or colon.
  2. Capital letters are always used for titles and proper nouns including the names of specific people, places, organizations, and sometimes, certain things.
  3. Use capital letters for words denoting family relationships when used as proper names. Example: Aunt Abigail and Grandpa Joe.
  4. Countries, cities, towns, lakes, rivers, and all place names require capital letters; Nationalities and specific languages must also be capitalized.
  5. Days of the week, months of the year, and holidays must be capitalized (seasons are generally not capitalized).
  6. The major words in the titles of books, articles, and songs should be capitalized (but not short prepositions or the article’s “the,” a,” or “an,” if they are not the first word of the title).
  7. Members of national, political, racial, social, and athletic groups should be capitalized. Example: African Americans and Democrats.
  8. Brand names, companies, and trademarks also need capital letters. Example: Pepsi and Honda.
  9. Capitalize the names of periods and events (but not century numbers). Example: Victorian Era and Great Depression.
  10. The names of God, specific deities, religious figures, and holy books should all take on capital letters, including God the Father, the Virgin Mary, the Bible and other religious books, Greek or Roman gods, Shiva, Buddha and Zeus.
  11. Always capitalize titles preceding names, but not titles that follow names; Mr. Miss, Mrs. Etceteras should always be capitalized.
  12. The pronoun “I” should always be capitalized.
  13. Directions that are names: north, south, east, and west should be capitalized when used as sections of the country, but not as compass directions.
  14. Words and abbreviations of specific names (but not names of things that came from specific things but are not general types) should be capitalized. Example: Freudian and NBC.
  15. Capitalize the first word in a sentence that is a direct quote.

Note: Here is an example paragraph, below, with all the capital letters needed, in place.
One day during June, Mrs. Jones, took my 3 brothers, Jake, Any, and James shopping. She drove them to the shopping plaza on John Street in Chicago.

The Glen Echo shopping plaza is just past the Green River Bridge. My brothers bought books at Chapter’s Bookstore.

They couldn’t wait to get home and begin reading their books.


  • Capitalize the non-specific use of the word “god.”