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Using Capital Letters
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  1. Using Capital Letters  Les Hanson 2002

  2. 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

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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

  6. 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

  7. 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

  8. 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

  9. 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

  10. 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

  11. 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