Using Capital Letters Les Hanson 2002
This presentation reviews the rules you (should) already know as well as some of the tricky aspects of capitalization It deals with the following topics: Titles Names Overview • Sentences • Lists • In general, specific names require capitals • Lake Superior, Fred, Great Depression • General names do not require capitals • the prairies, my uncle, a recession
Sentences • Capitalize the first word of a sentence • And the first word of a quoted sentence • She said, “You are stupid.” • Don’t capitalize the second part of a fragmented quotation • “You are stupid,” she said, “and your mother dresses you funny.” • Don’t capitalize partial quotes • He talked of the “plausible deniability” of the scheme.
Lists • Capitalize sentences that follow a colon • Remember this: Grammar is boring. • Capitalize the first word of each item in a vertical list • These punctuation marks are confusing: • Colons • Semicolons • Dashes • Don’t capitalize words in horizontal lists • Language is made up of numerous parts of speech: nouns, verbs, adjectives, etc.
Titles of books, articles, and songs • Capitalize the first, last, and all important words in a title • Don’t capitalize short articles, prepositions, and conjunctions • As You Like It • The Merry Wives of Windsor • Love’s Labours Lost • Taming of the Shrew • The Merchant of Venice
Names and Titles • Capitalize the specific names of people, places, and institutions • Stockwell Day, Alberta, Canadian Alliance • But not general references • party leader, communist, fascist, right wing • Capitalize titles that precede names • Prime Minister Chretien, Aunt Polly • But not when used alone, or after names • The minister was demoted to the back benches • Bill, my uncle, sat beside Gary Doer, premier of Manitoba
Names of Groups • Capitalize races, religions, and languages • Bosnian, Buddhism,French, Cree • Do not capitalize general references • aboriginal, white, black, fundamentalist • Some words vary according to usage • A native speaker of English • A Native from the Yukon (used as a substitute for “Indian” • Australian Aborigines have certain aboriginal rights
Product Names • Capitalize brand names and trademarks • Coke, Kleenix, Roller Blades, Popsicle • Do not capitalize generic product names • cola, tissues, inline skates, flavoured ice • Capitalize words derived from proper nouns • Freudian slip, Swiss cheese, English muffin • Eventually such words lose their capitals • pasteurize, french fry, panama hat, scotch
Dates and Directions • Capitalize days of the week, months, holidays • Monday, June, Thanksgiving • But not seasons • summer, fall, winter • Don’t capitalize directions • I drove north for two blocks • Unless it refers to a specific location • Fighting broke out in the Middle East • Winter roads are common in the North
Course Names • Capitalize specific names of courses • History 101, Intermediate Basket-weaving, a Bachelor of Arts degree • But not general references to courses • geography, communication, accounting • He is studying engineering
Interactive Exercise • Click on the buttons below or key in the links to do interactive exercises on capitalization (and to receive a dose of Winnipeg trivia) • http://xnet.rrc.mb.ca/leshanson/Hot_Potato/Capitalization_1.htm • http://xnet.rrc.mb.ca/leshanson/Hot_Potato/Capitalization_2.htm Capitalization 1 Capitalization 2