Rules for Capitalization
Whether or not to capitalize a letter often causes problems for native speakers and learners alike. This need not be so, as the rules are fairly straightforward.
Capitalize the following.
1. The first word in a sentence or question.
e.g. This is the basic rule that everyone knows. Do you know the other rules?
2. The pronoun I.
e.g. Kenny and I are good friends.
3. The formal and professional titles of people.
e.g. Mr. and Mrs. Frank Nicol. Doctor B. Montgomery.
4. Proper names (specific people and places) and company trademarks.
e.g. Wendy, Taipei 228 Memorial Park, Coke.
5. Street names.
e.g. Shida Road, Calder Street, Lane 135.
6. Geographical names (countries, towns and cities, continents, lakes, mountains etc.).
DO NOT capitalize points of the compass (north, south, east, west).
e.g. The Danshui River passes through Taipei City on its way north to the sea (the South China Sea). The Pacific Northwest.
7. Languages and nationalities.
e.g. English, Taiwanese, French, Dutch, Korean.
8. Specific course names (not subjects).
e.g. Are you studying geography? No, this year I’m taking History 101.
9. Religious figures, holy books and God.
e.g. The Koran (Qu’ran), the Virgin Mary, Buddha.
10. Days of the week, months and holidays; but not seasons.
e.g. Halloween, Monday, October.
11. Family names when used in place of proper names.
e.g. I spoke to Father. I spoke to my father.
12. The first word in a salutation or complimentary close.
e.g. Dear Rowan, Yours sincerely,
13. Events and periods of time.
e.g. The National Convention. The Sixties.
So, why have I capitalized the word capitalization in the title of this week’s tip?
I’ll give you the answer next week.
And finally, here are the answers to last week’s exercise:
465.57 = four hundred and sixty-five point five seven
743.012 = seven hundred and forty-three point zero one two
4.5 = four point five
56.98 = fifty-six point nine eight
306.564738 = three hundred and six point five six four seven three eight
For the fractions below, the most natural or common form(s) are as follows, although it depends greatly on the context in which they are being used; and sometimes it simply comes down to personal choice and style.
22/65 = twenty-two over sixty-five / twenty-two sixty-fifths
4/9 = four-ninths
35/88 = thirty-five over eighty-eight
54/222 = fifty-four over two hundred and twenty-two
2/32 = two thirty-seconds
45/61 = forty-five over sixty-one
3/4 = three quarters
16/24 = sixteen over twenty-four
99/100 = ninety-nine over one hundred
3/2 = three over two
Some people instead of saying X over Y will say X upon Y. It makes no difference. Both are acceptable.