This section of Exploring English describes English capitalization.
Capitalization, like spelling, is a set of conventions intended to clarify written communication. The following guidelines for capitalization are generally accepted.
Sentences should begin with a capital letter:
A boy brought home a penguin.
Proper names and adjectives derived from proper names should be capitalized:
The penguin's name was Opus.
He came from Antarctica.
He hitch-hiked across the Arctic Ocean.
Capitalize the first word of a direct quotation:
The instructor said, "Thou shalt not have fun in Physics."
Capitalize geographical names:
the Grand Canyon
the South Pacific
Note: do not capitalize directions that are not part of a regions name:
Capitalize the main words and the first word of the titles of articles, books, poems, plays, songs, etc.:
English Structure and Style
The Brothers Karamazov
Stairway to Heaven
Capitalize official names or names of groups or organizations:
Department of Redundancy Department
House of Commons
House of Senate
Because I could not stop for Death
He kindly stopped for me
Usually capitalize the first word of each line of poetic verse (see above example).
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Last Modified April 08, 2003