TIPS AND TRICKS
1. The first word of a sentence.
This rule generally doesn’t pose too many problems. That being said, some people might be confused with whether or not to capitalize the first word following a colon or semicolon that begins a complete, independent clause. Some style guides allow capitalization after a colon to place emphasis on the independent clause; however, this is rare and other style guides do not allow it. Never capitalize the first word of an independent clause after a semicolon.
- I love grammar.
- I love grammar; he does not.
- I love grammar: it helps me express myself clearly.
2. First word of quotations that are sentences.
Capitalize the first word of a quotation that consists of a complete sentence. Do not capitalize a quotation if it is a sentence fragment or works itself into the sentence.
- He said, “We all love grammar so much!”
- When asked his opinion on the subject, he said he was “not a fan.”
3. First word of complete sentences in parentheses.
Only capitalize the first word of a complete sentence (with punctuation) in parentheses. Do not capitalize the first word of a sentence fragment.
- Grammar is constantly changing. (You should keep up-to-date with changing rules and conventions.)
- He had read grammar books before (though he had some trouble understanding them).
4. Names and nicknames
Capitalize the first letter of proper names and nicknames.
- James, Joe and Jacky Boy are all quite good spellers.
5. Family relationships
Capitalize words that designate family relationships when they are used as proper names or as a part of a proper name.
- My sister explained the grammar rules to Dad (but my dad now understands grammar better).
- I asked Grandma and Aunt Gertrude (but Jim’s grandma and aunt are quite lovely).
6. Professional titles
Capitalize professional titles when they appear with and as a part of the individual’s name. You can also capitalize when referring to the person specifically without mentioning his or her name.
- Prime Minister Harper addressed the public (but Stephen Harper is prime minister of Canada).
- The Prime Minister addressed the public.
7. Place names and geographical terms
Capitalize place names and geographical areas when they are proper nouns. Do not capitalize directions unless they are part of a proper noun or take political or other connotations.
- I live on Sesame St. (but this is my street).
- I went to visit the Parliament of Canada in Ottawa, Ontario today.
- The store is on Bloor Street West (but the store is west of here).
- They are looking to the West for help after the earthquake.
- The Pacific Ocean
- The Maritimes
8. Months, days, holidays
Capitalize months, days and holidays, but not the seasons.
- Monday, Tuesday, etc.
- Christmas, Chanukah, Victoria Day, etc.
- winter, spring
9. Words derived from proper nouns
Capitalize words that are derived from proper nouns. Note: some of these have entered into common usage and are no longer capitalized (e.g. platonic). If you’re ever uncertain, use a dictionary to confirm.
- Shakespearean, Edwardian, etc.
10. Institutions, government bodies and official organizations
Capitalize the names of institutions, government bodies and official organizations when using both the name in full and in shortened form.
- The Government of Canada (but the Canadian government)
- The Canadian War Museum is located in Ottawa. The Museum houses many artefacts.
- The Bloc Québécois
- The Vancouver Canucks
11. Names of nationalities and languages
These should always be capitalized.
- Native American
12. School subjects, courses and degrees
Capitalize school courses when referring to them specifically, not when referring to the subject in general (except for languages). Degrees should only be capitalized when they are written in full and not when mentioned informally.
- I received an A in Philosophy! (but I believe philosophy to be of great importance.)
- He has a degree in math (but He graduated with BSc Mathematics).
13. Medals, awards, honours and decorations
These always take a capital when written out in full.
- The Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards
- The Victoria Cross
14. Official events
This includes sporting events, government events, etc.
- The Olympic Games
- The Opening of Parliament
15. Publications and works of art
Titles of publications and works of art retain their capitalization when being referenced.
- To Kill a Mockingbird (book)
- Red Maple (painting)
16. Copyrighted names
Brand names and other copyrighted names should always be capitalized unless they have become common nouns (e.g. nylon).
- Coca Cola
- Kraft Dinner
17. Titles and headings
Every word in a title should be capitalized except for articles (other than one beginning the title) and any conjunctions or prepositions under four letters. The same can be said for centred headings. Only capitalize the first letter of a heading that starts at the margin as well as any other word that should be capitalized in its own right.
Correct any errors in capitalization in the following sentences.
2. The new Minister of Foreign Affairs happened to be in vancouver during the Olympic games.Answer
Created by: Diana Franz