11 Things You Need to Know about Using Capitals

One of the most well known rules of using capitals is that a sentence always begins with a capital. As normal course of polishing your work, make sure you check the correct capitalisation in your article.

Here are other rules.

Titles in Names

The titles before all names- Dr., Mrs., Mr.- should begin with a capital. Title words or designations before a name should also begin with a capital. For example:

  • At the press conference, President Trump turned around to greet Prime Minister Modi.

Here the words (President and Prime Minister) have capitals as they are used as titles before names.

However, if these title words are at a different place or are separated with a comma, we avoid capitals. For example:

  • Indira Gandhi was a famous woman prime minister of her time.

Time Period

All time periods are in capitals, as seen in the following example:

  • These caves are famous for their engravings that date back to A.D.500.
  • Paper is thought to be invented in 100 B.C. during the Han Dynasty in China.


While writing full form of abbreviations, keep prepositions and articles in small letters. For example:

  • ABC is Associated Builders and Contractors.
  • HoD is Head of Department.


Headlines or Titles of Articles

Prepositions and articles in a sentence are never capitalised unless they are first words in a sentence. This rule is followed in headlines or titles of articles. For example :

  • “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer”

However, if a title ends in a preposition it should be capitalised. For example:

  • “ Touch It”

Quotes in Sentences

If a quote is a complete sentence it should start with a capital. For example:

  • I always remember my mother’s words, “Be careful what you speak”, which help me keep good relations with all.

A phrase quoted in a sentence is without a capital. For example:

  • The coach gathered the players and encouraged them to “do their best.”

Proper Nouns

All proper nouns are capitalised. However, if nouns are general, they should not begin with capitals. For example:

  • I found the course I was looking for at the University of Toronto.
  • She landed up at the university while sight seeing in Toronto.

Read  on categories of proper nouns here.

Proper Nouns with Capitals

Pronoun “I”

The pronoun “I” is always in capitals. For example:

  • After running for a couple of kilometers, I started feeling thirsty.

Nouns that Denote Members of Family

A name by which you refer to a family member begins with a capital. For example:

  • “Call me before you leave,” Mom said.

But if the family word comes after a possessive (my, your, his, theirs, hers) then it should not have a capital.

  • I received a call from your mother this morning.


The words –north, south, east and west- should not be capitalised if they denote directions. For example:

  • The Himalayas are in the north of India.

If these direction words refer to a specific area, they begin with capitals. For example:

  • The family was keen to settle in the West.

Proper Adjectives

Proper adjectives modify nouns and are usually associated with a place.

The noun that follows does not usually begin with a capital. For example:

  • Danish pasteries, Indian dosa, Chinese tea

School Subjects

It is best to avoid capitalizing school subjects unless they denote a particular course. For example:

  • Our maths class was cancelled yesterday.
  • I studied Trigonometry and Algebra last year.

Learn the meaning of writing complete sentence in capitals here.

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