When to Use Uppercase or Capital Letters

Capital "N" key ring attached to a red book close up.

In older literature and poetry written in the 1800s and previously, lots of random words are capitalized. When we see this old writing, it looks odd, doesn’t it?

Many individuals still abuse uppercase letters, possibly capitalizing words to provide value or focus, though this is not remedy.

Do you understand which words to capitalize to show a proper grasp of the English language? There are only 3 circumstances when you need capital letters: proper names, titles, and the beginning of sentences.

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Proper Names

Proper names are always capitalized. This consists of names of individuals, places, particular things, institutions, companies, groups, historical durations, historical events, calendar events, and divine beings.


Institutions: Columbia College, the Eastman School of Music
Governmental matters: Congress (lowercase congressional), the U.S. Constitution (lowercase constitutional), the Electoral College, Department of Defense, Federal Communications Commission
Historical events: the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812
Holidays: Groundhog Day, Easter
Structures: the Twin Towers, the Eiffel Tower
Natural and manmade landmarks: Mount Vesuvius, the Hoover Dam
Labels: Andrew “Old Hickory” Jackson, Bill “Spaceman” Lee
Organizations: American Center for Civil Justice
Days of the week and months of the year: Wednesday, January, Saturday
Abbreviations of : CSI, NASA, FEMA
Business: Pillsbury Company, Microsoft
Worlds: Mercury, Venus, Earth
Faiths and names of divine beings: Muslim, Jewish, God, Jehovah
Races, nationalities, and tribes: Caucasian, African-American, Eskimo
Unique occasions: the Olympic Games, the Sundance Film Festival
Streets and roadways: Interstate 44
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” The Armada Portrait,” a painting of Queen Elizabeth I with her hand resting on a globe, the defeated

Capitalize titles that precede a name, however do not capitalize titles that follow a name:

Mayor Stacy White; Stacy White, the mayor
Queen Elizabeth; Elizabeth, the queen of England
You will see this frequently with corporate titles. Our tendency is to capitalize all titles:

Accounting Manager Martha Grant; Martha Grant, manager of accounting
The titles of books, movies, and other works are capitalized other than for articles, brief combinations, and short prepositions:

” Pirates of the Caribbean”
” When We Were Romans”
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The first word of every sentence is always capitalized. This is pretty obvious and widely understood.

Capitalize the start of a sentence when it belongs to a quote:

The instructor said, “Your usage of uppercase letters is improving.”
If a phrase suits the larger sentence, it does not require capitalization:

The doctor informed us the nurse would “be here shortly,” however she never ever came.
Always utilize uppercase for the pronoun “I.”.

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Utilizing All Caps.

Typing in all capital letters is akin to shouting at someone face to face. It’s commonly utilized by online hustlers to attempt to grab your attention.

Whether you are utilizing e-mail, Twitter, or some other online form of interaction, screaming in all caps is thought about improper and bad netiquette. It’s appropriate for subject lines and headings to appear in all caps.


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