Capitalization

How and when to capitalize words.

Capitalization is the process of shifting the first letter of a word to upper case. Note that only the first letter of the word should be capitalized.

The following sections provide examples of the instances in which words should be capitalized. These not only constitute the instances in which capitalization may be used but the instances in which capitalization must be used.

Capitalize the First Word of Every Sentence

The first word of every sentence must be capitalized, as demonstrated in this sentence.

Capitalize Proper Names: Persons and Places

Names of people or places (referred to as proper names) must be capitalized. For example:

Frank Connors
Uncle Albert
Europe

Note that when referring to Mom, your mother's name, you would capitalize Mom while you wouldn't when referring to my mom or a mom. For example:

Hi, Mom.
This is my mom.

Capitalize the Personal Pronoun "I"

Always capitalize the letter "I" when using it to refer to yourself. For example:

I am Claudius.
Rather than walking, I chose to run.

Capitalize Acronyms

Acronyms are abbreviations for expressions, companies, job descriptions and even countries. They are composed of the first letter of each significant word they represent. For example:

The expression, oh my God, becomes OMG.
The company International Business Machines becomes IBM.
The accounting job classification Certified Public Accountant becomes CPA.

The rule for using acronyms is that you define the acronym the first time you use it and from thereafter, simply use the acronym in place of the words it represents. Define an acronym by following the first occurrence of the text it replaces with the acronym enclosed in parenthesis. For example:

Richard worked for International Business Machines (IBM). He liked his job and
recognized that IBM was a large company providing many different work opportunities.

Capitalize Formal Titles

Capitalize formal titles when associated with a name. For example:

Dr. Gerald Smith or Doctor Gerald Smith.
Mr. Gerald Smith or Mister Gerald Smith.
Mrs. Gerald Smith or Misses Gerald Smith.

Capitalize Each Significant Word in a Title

Capitalize every significant word in a title. See the titles in this document for examples.

Incidental words and connectors should not be capitalized unless they begin the title. Incidental words would include:

a, an, to, with, in, on, the, and and or

That's it, that's everywhere that capitalization may and must be used.

Capitalize References to God

References to God, even such references as Him, should be capitalized to demonstrate reverence for the Lord.