Using capital letters

You should always use a capital letter in the following situations:


In the names of people, places, or related words

 Use a capital letter when you are writing the names of people, places, and words relating to them:


Africa, African

Buddha, Buddhism

Shakespeare, Shakespearean


At the beginning of a sentence

 Use a capital letter at the beginning of a sentence:


The museum has huge potential. It will be a great boost to the area and we are really excited about it.


In the titles of books, movies, organizations, etc.

Use a capital letter in the titles of books and other publications, movies, organizations, special days, etc. In such cases, you need a capital letter for all the main words but not for the connecting words such as a, an, the, or, and, etc.:


Pride and Prejudice

Christmas Day

the House of Representatives


In abbreviations

If you’re using the first letter of the abbreviated words, every letter should be a capital, even if the abbreviated words are not normally capitalized, e.g.:


NBC (National Broadcasting Company)

USA (United States of America)

BMI (body mass index)


See more about writing abbreviations.

People often don’t use capital letters when they’re writing e-mails or other informal messages, but it’s important to follow the rules above in formal writing.

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Grammar and usage