When to use capital letters in English?

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  1. When to (and When Not to) Use Capital Letters in English? Part 1
  2. When to (and When Not to) Use Capital Letters in English? Part 2
  3. When to (and When Not to) Use Capital Letters in English? Part 3

Capital letters: 7 instances where using capital letters in English is grammatically correct

The rules for the use of capital letters are quite easy to remember. Generally, we use capital letters for proper nouns, which are the names of a specific person,place, or thing, and proper adjectives, which are usually derived (formed) from proper nouns. For example, Egypt is a proper noun  (the name of a country), and Egyptian is a proper adjective, hence Egyptian pyramid must be capitalized.

1. Days of the week and months of the year

We use capital letters for the days of the week, the months of the year but not for seasons.

When To Use Capital Letters In English - Capital Letters on Days of the week, months but not seasons

2. Planets

We use capital letters for planets. Note the words sun, earth and moon!

When To Use Capital Letters In English - Planet names

The words sun, earth and moon can be both common and proper nouns. When used as proper nouns, they must be capitalized. In other words, our planet’s name is Earth, our moon is called the Moon, and our star is called the Sun. So, when referring to our moon, use the Moon or Moon. When referring to our sun, use the Sun or Sun.

  • It takes six to eight months to travel from Earth to Mars.
  • The archaeologists excavated the earth at the site.
  • Several planets have moons. Are all moons as big as the Moon?
  • My daughter has been playing in the sun all day.
  • The temperature at the surface of the Sun is over 5000°C.

3. Countries, cities,villages and “nationality” words

We use capital letters for continents, countries, cities, villages,districts, streets.

Man-made structures (buildings, parks, bridges, tunnels etc.) also often have names. For example: the White House, the Eiffel Tower, the Statue of Liberty, the Golden Gate Bridge.

Apart from countries, we use capital letters for ‘nationality’ words as well.

When To Use Capital Letters In English - Capital Letters for City names, countries, nationalities
  • David lives in New York.
  • Elephants in Africa look differently than Indian elephants.
  • The Empire State Building is located in the center of Midtown Manhattan.
  • I’d like to go to Central Park today.

4. Oceans, rivers, geographical formations

We use capital letters for oceans, rivers, lakes, and other geographical formations (mountains, deserts, volcanoes etc.).

we use capital letters for maointains, oceans, rivers etc
  • The Sahara is the world’s largest hot desert and covers most of northern Africa.
  • The Alps are one of the great mountain ranges in Europe.
  • The Yellow River is also called “China’s Sorrow”.

5. Titles

Apart from using capital letters for people’s names, we also use capital letters for their titles. Titles of books, works and movies are also capitalized. Remember to you use quotation marks around the names of books with the exceptions of the Bible and catalogues of reference material, such as dictionaries and almanacs.

When To Use Capital Letters In English - Capital Letters for titles of people, book, movies, works
  • The Queen of England and her husband have four children: Prince Charles, Princess Anne, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward.
  • Has Professor Williams called the office today?
  • It was a difficult surgery, but Doctor Mathews performed brilliantly.
  • I haven’t seen any of the Star Wars movies yet.
  • Mr. Johnson has just returned from his trip.

6. Holidays

We use capital letters for holidays, but not birthdays. 🙂

We use Capital letters for Holidays

7. Languages

We use capital letters when we talk about languages that we speak (or somebody else does) or as school subjects. However, other school subjects don’t have capital letters.

  • She’s got exams in English, French, history and geography this year.