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Note 28 – Using Capital Letters

For the background to my writing challenge, please read my first blog by clicking the following link –  If you would prefer to dive straight into note 28, then please read on…

Capital Letters

Today I am going to blog about the use of capital letters.  They are used for many reasons including making things easier on the eye.  Bernard C. Lamb in his book The Queen’s English calls them “visual symbols, helping the reader in the same way as punctuation marks”.

The Collins book Improve You Punctuation has a very good guide to capitalisation and shows many pages of examples. Please see some of my examples below which I believe are the most used:

1. When to use capital letters

  • Always at the beginning of sentences e.g. She followed me to the beach
  • At the beginning of a complete piece of speech e.g. My daughter said “Where is my knife and fork?”
  • Proper nouns e.g. Westminster Abbey
  • Proper names and titles e.g. Sally, John Bright, Mrs J Smith or Dr Jones
  • For the pronoun ‘I’ e.g. “I said I fell off my bike today”
  • Days e.g. Monday or Christmas Day
  • Months of the year e.g. January
  • Titles of books e.g. Improve Your Punctuation
  • Title of films e.g. Pretty Woman
  • Title of plays/theatre productions e.g. Les Miserables
  • Newpapers e.g. The Times
  • Headings e.g. Petrol Prices Fall

2. When not to use capital letters

  • Seasons i.e spring, summer, autumn and winter
  • Compass points e.g. north-west and south-east
  • For less important words in a headline e.g. ‘Four People are Missing’ (as a rule of thumb, less important words with less than four characters will not need a capital letter, according to Graham King in Collins Improve Your Punctuation)
  • Each word in ‘happy new year’ are lower case (sited in Collins Improve Your Punctuation)

My thoughts:  There are many more rules than I thought for capital letters.  I could have carried on listing them all night, but as mentioned, I’ve just added the more popular ones.  If there are any others that you struggle with, leave me a comment and I’ll get back to you.

Hope you are enjoying your weekend

Until tomorrow…


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Twitter: @madeirasandra  and  @tipsandluxuries

Reference list

Bernard C. Lamb The Queen’s English (2010), UK

Graham King The Collins Improve your Punctuation, UK

About Sandra Madeira

I am a full-time working mum with a passion for writing and inspiring others. Subjects I tend to blog about are life skills, parenting, decluttering, worklife balance, etc. At the moment I am on a decluttering mission creating space in my house, garden and mind. I have challenged myself to do at least ten minutes a day and write about it. Have a good day! Sandra Freelance Writer


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