- This is a sentence.
- The first letter of a sentence should be capitalized.
- Bethany looked at her watch and said, “This is important. I should leave now.”
- Abraham Lincoln’s most famous speech began with these words: “Fourscore and seven years ago.”
The pronoun “I”
- I really don’t want to stay.
- Where should I go now?
- Betty and I will meet at the theater.
Names and initials of people and places are capitalized. Initials are spaced with periods. When initials are used alone without periods, they are not spaced.
Some names have little words (which often translate as “of”) with the surname. These may or may not be capitalized, depending upon the use by their person.
- Ronald Reagan
- C. S. Lewis
- New Hampshire
- United Arab Emirates
- Corrie ten Boom
- Carlos de Leon
- General Electric Company
- the White House
- the Roman Empire
- the Midwest
- the Mediterranean Sea
- Walden Pond
- Christmas Eve
- Algebra 101
- World History
- 1601 Fifth Street
Titles and offices
Otherwise, such titles are generally not capitalized, even when referring to specific people who are not named.
- Harry S. Truman served as president from 1945 to 1953.
- General Eisenhower followed him.
- Captain Cook was never president.
- The graduation address was given by John L. Flannery, CEO and Chairman of General Electric.
- The governor was the last to enter the room.
- The queen ascended to the throne in 1952.
Academic degrees and honors
- Hawkeye Piece, M.D.
- Albert Einstein, Ph.D.
- Jonathan Smith Jones, B.S.E.
Titles of works
- All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten
- (First word, pronoun, adverb, verb, [to” not capitalized], verb, pronoun, verb, [preposition not capitalized], noun)
- The Cat Who Brought down the House
- (First word, noun, pronoun, [preposition not capitalized, definite article not capitalized], noun)
Little words like “and” and “of” are sometimes left out.
If readers might be unfamiliar with such combinations, write out the full name first, then enclose the acronym in parentheses.
- The National Aeronautics and Space Agency (NASA) sent Neil Armstrong and others to the moon. NASA continues to develop programs for exploration of space.
- The National Football League (NFL) has two conferences, the National Football Conference (NFC) and the American Football Conference (AFC).
- International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) holds the most US patents generated by a business. IBM sells much more than copiers. (Wikipedia)
- The National Broadcasting Company (NBC) uses a peacock for its logo. NBC also has a sports network, NBC Sports, with Sunday Night Football.
Do not capitalize
general academic subjects
- phys ed
- the first item in a list after a colon, dash, or opening parenthesis unless it is a proper noun
- Lori went to town for tractor supplies: axle grease, hydraulic fluid, and assorted nuts and bolts.
- Hector has never done well in some subjects–history, science, or math; but he excels in music.
- She had just come back from visiting several countries in Europe (Spain, France, Belgium, and Germany).