Capital Letters in English

scrabble letters

[1000_Word]In English‏‎ every sentence starts with a Capital Letter (or Uppercase) and usually ends with a period or full stop.

For example these are all wrong:

* the meeting has finished.

* where is she?

* in 1975 Paul Allen and Bill Gates started Microsoft

* an asterisk at the beginning of a sentence shows it is wrong in some way

These should all begin with a capital thus:

The meeting has finished.

Where is she?

In 1975 Paul Allen and Bill Gates started Microsoft.

As well as this, the main use of a capital letter in English is with the pronoun, I:

John wanted to come but I said no.

Can I have some money please?

These, then, are when we most use capital letters in English: at the beginning of a sentence and with the pronoun, I.

Other Capitalization in English

We also use capital letters in the middle of sentences for certain words and in certain situations. You should remember, however, that different style guides often tell you different rules and some times you will find different rules from these here.

the name of a day or a month

I’ll see you on Tuesday.

My favourite month of all is April.

the name of a language

We are all learning English.

I am learning Arabic right now.

the name of people of things from a country or place

She bought an Italian coffee maker.

There are only a few Asian businessmen at the conference.

proper names (including the names of businesses or products)

In 1975 Paul Allen and Bill Gates started Microsoft.

I bought the new Apple iPhone.

Note that the way we write iPhone is a bit unusual. This is so it looks very different and people remember it easily. But it doesn’t follow the usual rules of writing in English.

the name of an historical period

We think people first came here during the Iron Age.

There was a lot of change during the Industrial Revolution.

the name of a holiday

When is Easter this year?

Will you go home for Ramadam?

a significant religious term

Are you a Buddhist?

I’ve read the Quran, but not the Bible.

the first word, and each significant word, of a title

Have you seen “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly”?

I believe Sir General John Hackett was born here.

the first word of a quotation or reported speech

Ghandi used to say, “An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind.”

She said, “If you double your offer, we have a deal.”

things in space

The Sun and the Moon, Mercury and Venus…

Roman numbers

Pope John Paul II was born here.

In the XIII Century.

Useful Links

The United Nations Capitalization Style Guide – a guide to capitalization from the United Nations

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