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How To Use Capital Letters

How To Use Capital Letters

VideoJug presents a definitive guide on how to use Capital Letters, from place names, to sentence structure, this VideoJug film covers all uses of capital letters in English.

Step 1: Starting a sentence

Capital letters are always used at the beginning of a sentence.

Step 2: Names

You should also use a capital letter at the beginning of people's names, days of the week and month, and brand names.

Step 3: Countries

The names of all countries and cities are spelt with a capital letter, like France and Paris. So are words that are connected to them, like French and Parisian. This isn't necessary when they don't refer directly to the country in question, like danish pastries or french windows - which don't have to actually be Danish or French. It also applies to regional and ethnic divisions like Basque and Catalan, and black and white, when they refer to people – as in Black American.

Step 4: Language and religion

The names of languages and religions like Hindi and Buddhism should always get capital letters, as do many religious people, concepts and events like The Last Supper, God, Jesus, The Prophet Mohammed and The Old Testament. This doesn't apply to pagan deities, like the Greek god Prometheus.

Step 5: Holidays

Capitals are also used to indicate historical periods like The Middle Ages and holidays like Easter and Hallowe'en.

Step 6: Titles

In titles, like the title of a book or essay, you should use a capital letter for the first word of the title, and all significant words after it. For instance:
How to Make Friends and Influence People. The title makes it clear that Making Friends and Influencing people are the main themes of this book.

Step 7: I

The word I – as in oneself – is always a capital letter.

Step 8: Abbreviating

When abbreviating, you should always use a capital letter. It is always preferable to set your standard abbreviation early on:
Meg Ryan was outstanding in the film When Harry met Sally (WHMS).
But some abbreviations (of large organisations and companies) are well-known enough to be written in capitals without an explanation: BBC, UN, NATO etc.

Step 9: Highlighting words

Capitals can be used to highlight certain words in a sentence, but shouldn't be used for whole sentences, unless you want to sound angry: STOP STEALING MY MILK!

Step 10: Context

The context in which you are using some words changes whether or not they are spelt with a capital letter. Words like Parliament and Government are spelt with capitals when they refer to a specific parliament etc.
But note the difference in the following uses:
I want to meet the President of America.
I want to be president of a large company.