English Capitalization

Capital Letters

Capitalization is used to distinguish important words. In this lesson you'll learn how to use capital letters in English. Examples are given that show the correct way to use capital letters in sentences.


The first letter of the first word in a sentence is capitalized. The first letter of a sentence within a sentence is also capitalized.


Sarah found the missing keys.
My brother says, "It's never too early to start saving for retirement."
Sam found a solution: He'll borrow his friend's truck.

The Pronoun "I"

The pronoun I is always capitalized. The other pronouns are capitalized in the same manner as other words.


I knew that would happen.
That was when I knew it wouldn't work.


The first and last word in a title are capitalized. All other words in a heading are also capitalized, except for the following:

  • Articles (a, an, the)
  • Coordinating conjunctions (and, or, but, for, nor, so, yet)
  • Short prepositions (for, in, of, on, to).

Introduction to Physics
The title of the book is The New Way to Work.
The Cat and the Hat

Proper Nouns

Proper nouns are capitalized. Proper nouns include the names of:

  • people
  • cities and geographic locations
  • streets
  • parks
  • buildings
  • schools
  • organizations
  • days
  • months
  • holidays.

My name is Tom Smith.
The name of our new employee is Sarah Parker.
New York is a large city.
The Eiffel Tower is in Paris.
Nancy earned her degree at Yale University.
Today is Monday.
I'm going to a conference in April.
I live on Maple Street.
They live in the Pacific Northwest.
We're going to Lake Louise.
She lives near the Pacific Ocean.
The streets are very narrow in Oxford.
I work at Marcon Consulting.

Compass Directions

Compass directions are capitalized when when referring to a region or place, but are not capitalized when used as directions.

Brad is from the East Coast.
I lived in the North for three years.
Go north for three kilometers.
He lives on the east side of the street.

Proper Adjectives

Adjectives that are formed from the names of countries or people are capitalized. A few There are a few common exceptions: french fries, diesel engine.

The Australian flag is displayed on his desk.
That is a Greek symbol.
Do you know the Roman numerals?

Personal and Business Titles

Capitalize personal and business titles when they precede names. The first letter of a complimentary closing is also capitalized.

Here is Professor Edwards.
We are waiting for Vice President Stewart.
Do you know Mr. Smith.
Can you tell Dr. Roberts that I called.

Celestial Bodies

Capitalize the names of Celestial bodies such as Venus, Saturn, Titan, and Andromeda. The earth, sun, and moon are not capitalized unless they begin a sentence or appear with other celestial bodies.

The sun is very bright.
I can see the Moon, Jupiter, and Venus.
That galaxy over there is Andromeda.


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