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When to Use Capital Letters

Post date: June 9, 2017

How to Use Capitalization

How often do you check grammar while texting? I’m sure you don’t care whether it’s written correctly or not as far as it can be understood. Yet, writing a formal message, an email, for example, requires following the rules. That’s why you must know how to use capital letters to avoid bloopers. Remember that your writing creates your reputation.

Follow these capitalization rules

  1. Start the sentence with a capital.

Every new sentence starts with a capital letter. Thus, after a full stop (.), question mark (?) or exclamation mark (!) you put a capital. There is one exception for this rule. If you have a clause in parenthesis (­­-) which ends with question mark or exclamation mark, you continue writing with a lower case.

One more exception may concern a colon (:). It depends on whether you write in British or US English. In US spelling, there is a capitalization after a colon.

  1. Use capitals in the titles.

Whenever you write a title, capitalize all important words. This is called “Title Case”. Don’t capitalize small unimportant words, such as “to”, “and”, “but”, etc.

  1. Proper nouns start with a capital letter.

Proper nouns, names, always start with a capital, unless the name itself starts with lower case on purpose (iPhone). In other cases, brand names, companies, days of the week and months of the year, governmental matters, holidays, institutions, natural and manmade landmarks and so on start with the capital letter.

  1. Acronyms

Acronyms or Abbreviations consist of capital letters. For example: NASA, NATO, UNISEF, etc. In this case, you may use the same rule as in paragraph 2. If there are unimportant words, you may not capitalize them.

  1. Contractions

The difference between acronyms and contractions is that contractions contain subsequent letters of the word except the initial letter. That’s why we capitalize just the initial letters and leave subsequent letters in a lower case. (Wi-Fi – Wireless Fidelity)

  1. Caps Lock

Don’t write the whole word or sentence in block capitals, unless it is required. There’s no place for Caps Lock in the formal style, because it is considered to be rude. You may use block capitals completing a form to make your data computer-friendly.

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