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Capitalisation Rules

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The rules governing the capitalisation of letters in written English are as follows:

1. Capitalise the first word of every sentence (see emboldened letter of first word of this sentence), and every new line.

2. Capitalise the first word of quoted sentences.

He said to her, “You have betrayed my trust.”

3. Capitalise proper nouns.

I want to holiday in the Himalayas.

4. Capitalise words derived from proper nouns.

I want to study English and history in college.

‘English’ and ‘history’ here serve as the subjects that the speaker wants to study in college, so they are both fundamentally common nouns; however, the subject title ‘English’ is derived from the proper noun ‘English’, which refers to the language. Hence, it must be capitalised.

5. Capitalise a person’s title when

- it precedes his/her name,

President Sharma

- when it follows his/her name on an address/signature line,

Regards,

Sharma, President

- AND when used as a direct address,

What is the verdict, President?

- Do not capitalise when the title is used after the holder’s name to describe him/her.

‘I call this meeting to order,’ said Sharma, the president of the club.

6. Capitalise cardinal directions when they are used to refer to specific locations.

I am headed to the South this summer.

7. Capitalise the first and last words in titles of publications, and all words in between except for

- Little words like a, an, the, but, as, if, and, or and nor, and

- Prepositions, regardless of length.

One Hundred Years of Solitude

War and Peace

Down and Out in Paris and London