We all make grammar mistakes. Their instead of they're; which instead of that. It happens to the best of us! Still, I can't help but want to share some tips about getting around one grammar problem: capitalization errors!
OK, capitalize it!
- Proper nouns. Specific people, places, and things. (Marie Curie, Mount Rushmore, Harry Potter)
- Trademarks and brand names. (Sony, Kleenex, etc.)
- A person’s title when it comes before their name or is used in place of their name. (“Please welcome President Obama” and “I love you, Daddy”)
- The first letters of words in any title (even if its just the, a, or an aka the articles and prepositions) (The Wizard of Oz, For Whom the Bell Tolls)
- The first word of a direct quote that is a complete sentence, even if this happens in the middle of another sentence. (Charlotte said, “Please pass me the salt.”)
- The first letter of a complete sentence after a colon. (My students often ask me: Is there life on other planets?) Do not capitalize the first word of a list following a colon if the list is not a complete sentence.
- Time zones when referring to them by their full title (Eastern Standard Time, Greenwich Mean Time). Otherwise write "Eastern time zone, or just use the initials for simplicity.
- Capitalize the word “is” in a title, headline, or email subject line.
Calm down; you don't need to capitalize here!
- Articles, conjunctions, or prepositions with fewer than three letters in titles (unless they come first!) The rules beyond this may vary, but this one is a for-sure.
- Common nouns for emphasis. This includes fields of study, such as writing or anthropology, and key concepts like “social psychology."
- A person’s title when used generically (The mayor wanted to go on vacation) or if it is explaining who someone is after their name (Barack Obama, president of the United States).
- The names of seasons or directions. (spring, winter, east, west) The exception to this rule is when a direction is used to refer to a specific region of a country. (The South has a history of disagreeing with the North).