10 capitalization rules every writer should know
From the very basic rules to the very commonly broken ones in corporate America.
I have documents to edit that are filled with words that shouldn’t be capitalized—such as “federal,” “state,” “statutes,” “deadlines,” “laws”—but are uppercase. I have documents to edit that are filled with words that should be capitalized—such as “West Texas” and “Supreme Court”—but are not.
So to keep the head banging to a minimum, let’s go through the rules of capitalization.
1. Capitalize the first word in a sentence.
This is the most basic rule of capitalization.
2. Capitalize the pronoun “I.”
Another basic one, but in today’s text-message driven world, it bears mentioning.
3. Capitalize proper nouns: the names of specific people, places, organizations, and sometimes things.
For instance, “Austin, Texas,” “Patrick O’Brian,” “Ragan Communications,” “Supreme Court.”
This seems to be the rule that trips up many people because they don’t know whether a word is a proper noun. But as the AP Stylebook points out:
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