Using Capital Letters

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Using Capital Letters:

Using Capital Letters  Les Hanson 2002


Overview This presentation reviews the rules you (should) already know as well as some of the tricky aspects of capitalization It deals with the following topics: Titles Names Sentences Lists In general, specific names require capitals L ake S uperior, F red, G reat D epression General names do not require capitals t he p rairies, my u ncle, a r ecession


Sentences Capitalize the first word of a sentence And the first word of a quoted sentence S he said, “ Y ou are stupid.” Don’t capitalize the second part of a fragmented quotation “You are stupid,” she said, “ a nd your mother dresses you funny.” Don’t capitalize partial quotes He talked of the “ p lausible deniability” of the scheme.


Lists Capitalize sentences that follow a colon Remember this: G rammar is boring. Capitalize the first word of each item in a vertical list These punctuation marks are confusing: C olons S emicolons D ashes Don’t capitalize words in horizontal lists Language is made up of numerous parts of speech: n ouns, v erbs, a djectives, etc.

Titles of books, articles, and songs:

Titles of books, articles, and songs Capitalize the first, last, and all important words in a title Don’t capitalize short articles, prepositions, and conjunctions A s Y ou L ike I t T he M erry W ives of W indsor L ove’s L abours L ost T aming of the S hrew T he M erchant of V enice

Names and Titles:

Names and Titles Capitalize the specific names of people, places, and institutions S tockwell D ay, A lberta, C anadian A lliance But not general references p arty l eader, c ommunist, f ascist, r ight wing Capitalize titles that precede names P rime M inister Chretien, A unt Polly But not when used alone, or after names The m inister was demoted to the back benches Bill, my u ncle, sat beside Gary Doer, p remier of Manitoba

Names of Groups:

Names of Groups Capitalize races, religions, and languages B osnian, B uddhism, F rench, C ree Do not capitalize general references a boriginal, w hite, b lack, f undamentalist Some words vary according to usage A n ative speaker of English A N ative from the Yukon (used as a substitute for “Indian” Australian A borigines have certain a boriginal rights

Product Names:

Product Names Capitalize brand names and trademarks C oke, K leenix, R oller B lades, P opsicle Do not capitalize generic product names c ola, t issues, i nline s kates, f lavoured i ce Capitalize words derived from proper nouns F reudian slip, S wiss cheese, E nglish muffin Eventually such words lose their capitals p asteurize, f rench f ry, p anama hat, s cotch

Dates and Directions:

Dates and Directions Capitalize days of the week, months, holidays M onday, J une, T hanksgiving But not seasons s ummer, f all, w inter Don’t capitalize directions I drove n orth for two blocks Unless it refers to a specific location Fighting broke out in the M iddle E ast Winter roads are common in the N orth

Course Names:

Course Names Capitalize specific names of courses H istory 101, I ntermediate B asket-weaving, a B achelor of A rts degree But not general references to courses g eography, c ommunication, a ccounting He is studying e ngineering

Interactive Exercise:

Interactive Exercise Click on the buttons below or key in the links to do interactive exercises on capitalization (and to receive a dose of Winnipeg trivia) Capitalization 1 Capitalization 2

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