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Author: Rebecca Oberg

This learning packet should review:
-Capitalizaton of proper nouns
-Standard rules for capitalization
-Capitalization in titles and headings
-Common errors in capitalization

By culling and modifying some of the best resources online regarding the concept of capitalization, this learning packet aims to help learners tackle this concept regardless of their familiarity level. Using a wide range of tools (video, text, slide show presentation) and using an easily accessible, quick-to-comprehend format, the packet appeals to a wide range of learning styles and ages of students who wish to become capitalization masters!

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Capitalization: Explanations and a Chance to Practice!

This engaging and informative slide show presentation offers learners the chance to explore key capitalization rules and then apply their knowledge by checking out ten sample questions. Learners should see how their own answers would compare to the correct answers.

Source:, modified by Rebecca Oberg

Basic Capitalization Rules Explained

Filmed in a garage by a teacher, this basic yet very helpful video offers students an easy way to approach capitalization rules, boiling them down to a few important guidelines and offering relevant examples.

Source: YouTube

A Little Help with Capitals

If you have a question about whether a specific word should be capitalized that doesn't fit under one of these rules, try checking a dictionary to see if the word is capitalized there.

Use capital letters in the following ways:

The first words of a sentence

When he tells a joke, he sometimes forgets the punch line.


The pronoun "I"

The last time I visited Atlanta was several years ago.

Proper nouns (the names of specific people, places, organizations, and sometimes things)

Worrill Fabrication Company
Golden Gate Bridge
Supreme Court
Livingston, Missouri
Atlantic Ocean
Mothers Against Drunk Driving

Family relationships (when used as proper names)

I sent a thank-you note to Aunt Abigail, but not to my other aunts.
Here is a present I bought for Mother.
Did you buy a present for your mother?

The names of God, specific deities, religious figures, and holy books

God the Father
the Virgin Mary
the Bible
the Greek gods

Exception: Do not capitalize the nonspecific use of the word "god."

The word "polytheistic" means the worship of more than one god.

Titles preceding names, but not titles that follow names

She worked as the assistant to Mayor Hanolovi.
I was able to interview Miriam Moss, mayor of Littonville.

Directions that are names (North, South, East, and West when used as sections of the country, but not as compass directions)

The Patels have moved to the Southwest.
Jim's house is two miles north of Otterbein.

The days of the week, the months of the year, and holidays (but not the seasons used generally)


Exception: Seasons are capitalized when used in a title.

The Fall 1999 semester

The names of countries, nationalities, and specific languages

Costa Rica

The first word in a sentence that is a direct quote

Emerson once said, "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds."

The major words in the titles of books, articles, and songs (but not short prepositions or the articles "the," "a," or "an," if they are not the first word of the title)

One of Jerry's favorite books is The Catcher in the Rye.

Members of national, political, racial, social, civic, and athletic groups

Green Bay Packers
Friends of the Wilderness

Periods and events (but not century numbers)

Victorian Era
Great Depression
Constitutional Convention
sixteenth century


Microsoft Word

Words and abbreviations of specific names (but not names of things that came from specific things but are now general types)

french fries

Capitalization 101: One Teacher's Thoughts

This short, to-the-point video clip offers a basic and academically sound explanation of several capitalization rules along with examples. The clip's simple style directs the students' focus solely on learning the concept of proper capitalization from a professional.

Source: YouTube