Rule: Capitalize proper nouns and proper adjectives


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  • Like most other conventions of language, capital letters help make writing easier to read. They call attention to certain special words and indicate the beginnings of sentences.

  • There are specific rules for capitalizing words. This PowerPoint will show you the rules. You can revisit this PowerPoint at any time if you have questions about capitalization.



Rule: Capitalize proper nouns and proper adjectives.

  • Rule: Capitalize proper nouns and proper adjectives.



A common noun is the name of a general group of people, places, or things.

  • A common noun is the name of a general group of people, places, or things.

  • Example: queen, country, government

  • A proper noun is the name of a particular person, place, or thing.

  • Example: Elizabeth, France, Congress

  • A proper adjective is an adjective formed from a proper noun.

  • Example: Elizabethan, French, Congressional



Rule: Capitalize people’s names and the initials or abbreviations that stand for names.

  • Rule: Capitalize people’s names and the initials or abbreviations that stand for names.



J. K. Rowling

  • J. K. Rowling

  • Joanne Kathleen Rowling

  • J. R. R. Tolkien

  • John Ronald Reuel Tolkien

  • Arthur C. Clarke

  • Arthur Charles Clarke



Rule: Capitalize the titles – written or abbreviated – used with people’s names.

  • Rule: Capitalize the titles – written or abbreviated – used with people’s names.



Gov. R. T. Alberg

  • Gov. R. T. Alberg

  • Mrs. Jennifer Manzano

  • Judge Ellen Sullivan

  • Pfc James A. Morris

  • Dr. L. K. Jenkins

  • Rev. Charles Klein



Rule: Do not capitalize a title that is used without a name. It is a common noun.

  • Rule: Do not capitalize a title that is used without a name. It is a common noun.



Barbara Sloan is president of the bank.

  • Barbara Sloan is president of the bank.

  • The judge in this courtroom is Justice Banks.

  • The principal announced a staff meeting.

  • The tribe searched the reservation for its chief.



Rule: Do capitalize titles of very high importance, even when they are used without a name.

  • Rule: Do capitalize titles of very high importance, even when they are used without a name.



the President of the United States

  • the President of the United States

  • the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court

  • the Prime Minister of Great Britain.

  • the Pope



Rule: Capitalize such family words as mom, father, aunt, and grandpa when they are used as names.

  • Rule: Capitalize such family words as mom, father, aunt, and grandpa when they are used as names.



  • What was Dad like when he was sixteen, Grandma?

  • Jessica is here, Mom.

  • Uncle Don is coming home from Iraq.



Rule: Do not capitalize such family words as mom, father, aunt, and grandpa if it is preceded by a possessive word or by a, an, or the.

  • Rule: Do not capitalize such family words as mom, father, aunt, and grandpa if it is preceded by a possessive word or by a, an, or the.



  • Mom calls our grandma every Sunday.

  • My aunt’s car needs a new battery.

  • The father in the movie was played by Denzel Washington.



Rule: Always capitalize the pronoun I.

  • Rule: Always capitalize the pronoun I.



  • He and I went to the football game.

  • I work after school.

  • Mike, Suzy, and I were confused by the assignment.



Rule: Capitalize all words – including personal pronouns – referring to God, to the Holy Family, and to religious scriptures.

  • Rule: Capitalize all words – including personal pronouns – referring to God, to the Holy Family, and to religious scriptures.



  • the Almighty the Bible

  • the Sanskrit the Talmud

  • the Blessed Virgin Allah

  • the Son of God the Book of Job

  • the Great Spirit the Lord

  • They asked the Lord for His blessing.



Rule: In a geographical name, capitalize the first letter of each word except for articles and prepositions.

  • Rule: In a geographical name, capitalize the first letter of each word except for articles and prepositions.



  • Africa

  • North America

  • South America

  • Australia

  • Asia

  • Europe



  • the Atlantic Ocean

  • the Ohio River

  • the Gulf of Mexico

  • the Dead Sea

  • the Panama Canal

  • Lake Michigan



  • Mount McKinley

  • the Grand Canyon

  • Death Valley

  • the Black Hills

  • Cape Cod

  • Aleutian Islands



  • Florida

  • Province of Ontario

  • Denver

  • Republic of Kenya

  • State of Israel

  • Sixteenth Congressional District



  • Yellowstone National Park

  • Fort Sumter

  • Badlands National Monument

  • Ford Theater

  • Fallen Timbers Battlefield

  • Everglades National Park



  • Route 30

  • Interstate 77

  • 13th Street

  • Perry Drive

  • West Tuscarawas Street

  • Lincoln Way



Rule: Capitalize names and sections of the country.

  • Rule: Capitalize names and sections of the country.



  • The West has several old trading posts.

  • The South is sometimes called “Dixie.”

  • The Sorensons moved from New England to the West Coast.



Rule: Capitalize proper adjectives that come from names of sections of the country.

  • Rule: Capitalize proper adjectives that come from names of sections of the country.



  • A Midwestern town

  • Southern food

  • Western saddle

  • East Coast company



Rule: Do not capitalize directions of the compass.

  • Rule: Do not capitalize directions of the compass.



  • Barrow, Alaska, is north of all other United States cities.

  • Drive east on Interstate 80 to New York.

  • We’re heading south for the winter.



Rule: Do not capitalize adjectives that come from words showing direction.

  • Rule: Do not capitalize adjectives that come from words showing direction.



  • The parking lot is on the north side of the building.

  • The southerly breeze turned into a fierce wind.



Rule: Capitalize the names of organizations and institutions and abbreviations of these names.

  • Rule: Capitalize the names of organizations and institutions and abbreviations of these names.



  • Republican Party

  • Federal Trade Commission

  • AFL-CIO

  • Edison Middle School

  • Aultman Hospital

  • NCAA

  • American Library Association



Rule: Do not capitalize such words as school, church, and hospital when they are not used as parts of names.

  • Rule: Do not capitalize such words as school, church, and hospital when they are not used as parts of names.



  • Several people from our church are going.

  • She works at the hospital.

  • Were you tardy to school?



Rule: Capitalize the names of historical events, documents, and periods of time.

  • Rule: Capitalize the names of historical events, documents, and periods of time.



  • Boston Masssacre

  • the Renaissance

  • Kristallnacht

  • United States Constitution

  • the Vietnam War

  • Treaty of Versailles



Rule: Capitalize the names of months, days, and holidays, but not the names of seasons.

  • Rule: Capitalize the names of months, days, and holidays, but not the names of seasons.



  • December

  • Ramadan

  • Thursday

  • Halloween

  • autumn



Rule: Do not capitalize the names of school subjects, except course titles followed by a number.

  • Rule: Do not capitalize the names of school subjects, except course titles followed by a number.



  • history

  • Art I

  • industrial arts

  • advanced biology

  • Math 300



Rule: Remember that the names of languages are always capitalized.

  • Rule: Remember that the names of languages are always capitalized.



  • English

  • Spanish

  • Japanese

  • French



Rule: Capitalize the names of planes, trains, ships, and automobiles.

  • Rule: Capitalize the names of planes, trains, ships, and automobiles.



  • U.S.S. Constellation

  • Concorde

  • Ford Mustang

  • Orient Express



Rule: Capitalize the abbreviations B.C. and A.D.

  • Rule: Capitalize the abbreviations B.C. and A.D.



  • Julius Caesar died on March 15, 44 B.C.

  • Mohammed was born in 570 A.D.



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