Capitalization rules run the range from the easy to the difficult. As you proceed through the activities in this lesson, create a Capitalization Checklist on notebook paper that you can store in the folder or notebook that you use for this class. You can use the checklist to edit your work or the work of your peers. Let’s start with a review of the rules you already know. Do you have your paper and pen ready? We’ll start now.
Capitalize the first word in a sentence. Use uppercase for the first letter of the first word in a sentence whether it’s a one-letter word like a or the longest word in the dictionary, electroencephalographically. If it’s used at the beginning of a sentence, it gets capital treatment.
He chopped garlic like a master.
She didn’t know that onions could be red, yellow, or white.
Capitalize the first word in the beginning of a direct quotation that appears in a sentence. A direct quotation repeats exactly what the person said word for word.
Bobby Flay asked, “Where did you learn to cook?”
The woman answered, “I learned in Emeril’s kitchen.”
However, if you only use some of the original speaker’s words, retain the original capitals. If you use the first part of a sentence in a quotation, begin the quotation with a capital; if the quote begins part of the way through the sentence, don’t use a capital.
Mark Twain said, “Often the surest way to convey misinformation is to tell the strict truth.”
Mark Twain said that one way to misinform people is by telling “the strict truth.”
Capitalize the greeting and closing of a letter. Salutations or greetings such as Dear Madam or Dear Sir need capital letters. Also, you sincerely need to capitalize the word Truly, or truly capitalize the word Sincerely in closings.
People who love to eat are always the best people.
Sincerely, Julia Child
Capitalize the pronoun “I.” The first-person singular pronoun I is always capitalized. Although it stands alone among its fellow pronouns like he and she, this most personal of personal pronouns is always capitalized in academic writing. It’s not because the person using the pronoun is more important than other people. Why then do you need to always capitalize I? Listen as a Texas teacher asks the experts on Public Radio’s A Way with Words why this pronoun has been singled out for capitalization.