Capitalization | Return to Film Library

Einstein: Hello, grammar students! Today we have a very special guest. The queen is here with me to help teach you the 5 most important capitalization rules.

The Queen: Thank you, Albert. This should be fun.

Einstein: Ok, let’s get started.

Rule Number 1. Always capitalize the first letter in the first word of a sentence.

A complete sentence has a subject, a verb, and an end mark (a period, question mark, or exclamation point). Here is an example of how to capitalize sentences:

My name is Albert. Today I will have tea with the queen.

The words “my” and “today” are capitalized.

Einstein: Rule Number 2. Capitalize the first word in a quotation if it is a complete sentence, interjection, or even a fragment.

The Queen: The Queen asked, “Would you like to have tea with me today?”

Einstein: Notice the word “would” is capitalized. However, you do not capitalize quotations if they are fragments and are within the sentence. For example: Everyone says I am a “genius.”

Einstein: Rule Number 3. Capitalize first-person singular pronoun I. This is easy. Always capitalize I, but not other pronouns like we, you, they, he, or she.

Einstein: Rule Number 3. Capitalize Proper Nouns.A proper noun is a name used for a specific person, place, or thing. You capitalize specific persons and things (Albert Einstein, Buckingham Palace), capitalize specific geographical locations (London or New York), Celestial Names (Saturn or Mars).

The Queen: However, you don’t capitalize the earth, moon, or sun unless you are listing other planets. You also capitalize days of the week, months, and holidays, but not the seasons. So Sunday, Monday, and Christmas are capitalized but not winter, spring, summer, or autumn.

Einstein: Other proper nouns that should be capitalized are historical events like the Renaissance and World War Two. Races, nationalities, and languages are also capitalized: British, Japanese, and Americans.

The Queen: Names of companies are also capitalized like Aston Martin, my favorite car. Makes me feel like a spy.

Einstein: Rule Number 5. Capitalize Person’s titles & Titles of Things. Always capitalize a person or government official’s title when you use it along with the person’s name or as a direct address. However, the title is not capitalized when used generally.

The Queen: “The duchess might join us for tea.” In that sentence, duchess is not capitalized. But if I said the Duchess of Cambridge might join us for tea, duchess is capitalized.

Einstein: Very high ranking government officials’ titles are capitalized if you are referring to a specific individual. For example, “Today the Queen invited me to tea.”

The Queen: Titles that show family relationships are only capitalized when they refer to a specific person and are not modified by a personal pronoun. For example: I asked my mom, and Mom said she is not coming to tea. The first mom (“my mom”) is not capitalized because it is followed by the personal pronoun “my.”

Einstein: Finally, capitalize the first and last words in the titles of books, chapters, newspapers, magazines, poems, songs, and paintings. You should capitalize all the other words in the title except for a, an, the, conjunctions, and prepositions that are four letters or fewer. For example: the Bible, the Lord of the Rings, and “God Save the Queen.”

That’s it. Those are the five important capitalization rules.

The Queen: Hurrah, we’re finished. This calls for a dance party.