Welcome!
I hope you find my writing and business tips and observations useful. My business and blog are dedicated to helping businesses communicate clearly and reach their potential. Read, subscribe to my newsletter, enjoy! Tash
Email updates
Refer to older posts…
Blogging services
Australian Women Bloggers Directory by Blog Chicks

Capital letters

to CAPITAL or not to capital, that is the question

Pardon changing the Bard’s words, but this is a question that needs asking much more often …

I suspect the increased use of SMS and chat shorthand is a major factor, but it seems that many people aren’t sure about when to use capital letters in their writing. So here is a quick summary of when to use a capital letter:

  • for the word I – this word must always be written as a capital letter, to do otherwise looks out of place and attracts attention to the lack of attention to detail. As part of an SMS message, I might accept it, but I leave websites where they repeatedly use a lower case i
  • to start a sentence – this helps make it clear it is a new sentence and this in turn makes it easier to understand the message and individual ideas
  • for all proper nouns – that is, any word that is the name of something specific for example Tash, Melbourne, Australia, Australians and Word Constructions. It does not include generic names such as mothers, business owners, writers, city or students.* Note that the word I is actually a proper noun so my first point is covered here but it was worth a separate point!
  • in acronyms – where just the first letter of each word is used to represent the name of something. For instance, the ATO represents the Australian Tax Office and ASAP represents as soon as possible. It doesn’t matter if the full title uses capitals or not, acronyms generally use capitals (sometimes a business may choose to brand themselves with a lower case acronym)
  • the start of speech, even if it is not the start of a sentence. For example, she said “We must pay attention to the use of capital letters.”
  • days of the week and names of months, as well as names of specific periods of history (e.g. the Second World War, the Depression)
  • titles of books, articles, movies and so on can be written in title case (e.g. Full Moon Rising) or just with a starting capital letter (e.g. Confessions of a supermom)

Capitals letters are sometimes also used within names (e.g. AvSuper, MacGregor), in scientific terminology (e.g. E. Coli, Eucalyptus, cyclone Tracy) and where two words have been abbreviated into one (e.g. eBooks, eLearning.)

There are variations in some of these rules, especially if you travel to another country but using these guidelines will avoid any major errors! Or call upon someone to check your writing for you – errors that requires conscious effort for you to find often are quite obvious to others, especially to someone like me who spots such things without trying.

Edited to add: I came across a fun poster with the basic capital letter uses, which is great for kids and anyone struggling to remember these rules.

Learn more writing tips from the Writing Well eBook

* The use of a generic noun as a proper noun requires a capital letter, too. So while mothers is written in lower case, a capital letter applies in the following sentence: Mary said “Hello Mother. How are you?” Likewise, you may write about a library (generic) or the Ashburton Library (specific).

104 Responses to Capital letters

  • Pingback: Capitals change the meaning

  • Kathryn McNee says:

    Do you use capitals when writing the name of a subject i.e. John was a teacher of mathematics.

  • Amy Hall says:

    Yes, when mathematics is treated as the name of a subject, it becomes a proper noun. Eg: I am a Mathematics Teacher

    • Lynette says:

      You are incorrect stating mathematics is a PROPER noun. It is a noun. It is only when the noun is a proper noun one applies the capital letter – e.g.
      University of WA.
      However, if the departments are to be referred to individually – the department would take the subject noun i.e. mathematics, and when ASSOCIATED with the proper noun i.e. the name of the university, then it becomes the University of WA, Mathematics Department. Sadly, you will always be a mathematics teacher…no proper nouns there my dear any more than there are in doctor. We are just plain old whatevers as much as the recycling engineer, the gardener, the seamstress…
      Sorry if I burst your bubble.

      • tashword says:

        Thanks for joining in Lynette. Amy wasn’t correct when she stated mathematics is a proper noun (as I pointed out on the same day she made that comment) but I appreciate she was trying to help Kathryn. NO bubbles burst for me…

  • tashword says:

    Languages always have a capital letter (English, Indonesian, French, etc) as do abbreviations (eg IT, PE) but generally other subjects will have a lower case letter.

    If you are talking generally about a subject (e.g. “I like science” or “I find maths interesting”), it is a common noun with a lower case letter.

    If you are talking specifically about a named subject/course (e.g. Maths 101, Science for Vets), it is a title and needs a capital letter(s).

    Some examples:
    My timetable includes maths, science, English, art and Local Geography. Mrs Smith is usually a maths teacher, but I have her for science next term. I have a maths test tomorrow and am doing an assignment for Applied Maths.

    I hope that helps Kathryn… and thanks for reading my blog!

    • Lynette says:

      Sorry tashword – you blew it with local geography (I presume that is what you meant, not georgaphy).
      If you need clarification on any of this I can recommend some great books which embrace the advances of English into the 21st century.
      Happy to give you the titles and authors and these authors are all great literary scholars.
      One ONLY uses a capital letter for a PROPER PRONOUN.

      • tashword says:

        hi Lynette, I have now corrected a simple typo – thanks for pointing it out as I make errors despite my best intentions. I have many books on English use already thanks, and utilise that knowledge to help people who ask questions here (I think you are confusing some of those questions with my writing).

        And I have to disagree – capital letters are used for more than proper pronouns, they are also used for proper nouns, acronyms and so forth as outlined in my original post.

  • tashword says:

    Thanks for your input Amy.

  • Tania Holmes says:

    Do you use a capital letter with regard to a person’s role? For example, should it be “John’s Pre-School Teacher is Miss Smith” or “John’s pre-school teacher is Miss Smith”? I think it may be the first example but am unsure.
    When referring to that same person later, is the following, the correct way of writing it? “I asked the pre-school teacher to note any change.” or should it be, “I asked the Pre-School Teacher to note any change.”

    There are a lot of conflicting opinions at my place of work.

    Many thanks for your response.

    • tashword says:

      When using a term generically, it is always lower case – “All teachers undergo training.”

      If using a term as part of someone’s name (e.g. “hello Professor Taylor” or “There is Mayor Silver”) then the title takes a capital letter.

      When writing about a specific person’s job title, however, using lower case letters is increasingly common. So we write “Jill Taylor, professor of history, met with Sean Silver, Mayor of Anytown, to discuss the parade.”

      There are some major exceptions, mainly relating to national roles (so we write about the Queen, the Prime Minister and the Treasurer for instance,) and some comapanies will include capitals as part of their corporate style (e.g. “Our Company has a Managing Director in Melbourne.”)

      With the trend towards minimal capitalisation, and the greater ease of reading from that trend, I would write ‘I asked the pre-school teacher to note any change.” However, using Teacher in this context is not technically wrong.

      Note that pre-school is describing the title so it really doesn’t need a capital (compare to local teacher or young teacher) unelss it deseves a capital in its own right (such as the Australian teacher or the English teacher.)

      P.S. Apologies for taking so long to reply to, Tania, and I hope this answer helps!

  • Dave says:

    What about Northern, Southern etc? I saw an extract from a news article that said ‘…northern Pasadena’ – my thinking is it should be a capital ‘N’ – Northern Pasadena. Correct or doesn’t it matter?

    • tashword says:

      If it is part of a place name, then Northern (or North) should have a capital letter.

      If you are describing a location (e.g. “we will be travelling in southern Tasmania”) then a small letter is used.

      However, if you are talking about heading a particular direction, it does’t require a capital. Abbreviations of directions are capitalised (N, S, E and W.)

      So… My house is east of the park in South Melbourne.

  • streetwear says:

    Hello there, very nice blog you have! I’m really impressed to see someone keeping good grammar alive – thanks.

  • Pingback: Capitalising job titles

  • Lorraine says:

    When using the generic “government”, when a government agency is writing about its objectives, should it use a capital letter, as it is the name of its employer? eg ‘ Advise government on property matters’ and ‘Manage properties of government agencies’

    • tashword says:

      Think of it as any other noun – use a capital letter if it is part of a proper noun but not if using it as a generic or common noun.

      So “the Victorian Government declared a public holiday” and “the students reviewed a government policy in class”. Even federal government doesn’t need a capital letter as it is descriptive rather than a title. ‘Commonwealth’ however, when referring to the Commonwealth of Australia, is always capitalised.

  • Pingback: Tips on ordering Love Santa letters

  • Candy says:

    Hi
    When writing a report for a student should writing, math or spelling be capitalised? e.g In Writing, Sam is starting to … , he has made steady progress with his spelling, In Measurement, Sam was able …

    • tashword says:

      As explained above, Candy, a subject as such doesn’t need a capital but the name of a specific course does.

      John does well with spelling in his English Literature class.

  • Pingback: Images in blog posts

  • Pam says:

    How about council versus the specific local Council and where we have a local manufacturing mill, is it mill or or the more specific Mill?
    thanks Pam

    • tashword says:

      Hi Pam,

      again, the generic term has a lower case letter and a specific name ues a capital letter. So…

      Attendances are recorded in council minutes. The school tour included a trip to a local mill. Our rubbish is collected by Somewhere Council every Monday afternoon. I work at the Perth Mill in Anytown.

  • Pam says:

    Thanks tashword. Does that also apply to the council chambers in the town? it would be lower case usually, but the Anytown Council Chambers?

  • Confused says:

    So does the word “court” as in the place where criminals go, need a capital letter if it’s just written by itself. I would use a capital if I was to write “Parramatta Local Court” but does it really need a capital letter on its own? As in “I went to court”. Say you use the word 10 times in a letter, wouldn’t it look silly? It is the same as writing “bank” isn’t it? You’d use a capital for “National Australia Bank” but not just for the word “bank”. Or would you?

  • manu says:

    ok, i have heard when you write an sms with capital letters, in other way it means you’re shouting to the person you’re sending to. does that make sense?

    • tashword says:

      Hi Manu,
      using unnecessary captial letters in emails, SMS and other online communications is considered to be shouting. In other words, if I am angry with you I could type in capital letters to emphasise it. This would generally be full words and possibly full sentences rather than just a first letter though; using capitals correctly (for example writing about the ATO or EPA, or using the terms RSVP or ASAP) is not considered shouting.

  • confused says:

    so if you refer to a specific court at the start of a letter, do you need to use a capital letter when referring to it later on in the letter as “the Court” or would you refer to it as “the court”?

    • Bobbyleeds says:

      ‘court’ is always used in lower case unless it is the name of somewhere e.g. Leeds County Court.

      • tashword says:

        Thanks for adding another voice of correct capital use, Boobbyleeds.

        Confused, Bobbyleads is correct – and my apologies for missing your question when you first asked it.

  • Matt says:

    Hi,
    COnfused about the use of words such as thank-you, thanks mid sentence. For example – Received your gift with thanks. Should the thanks have a capital?
    Thanks very much

    Matt

  • Helen says:

    I have to type medical letters and wasn’t sure when to use capitals for (?)anaesthetists or (?)surgeons, eg “As an (?)anaesthetist my use of a
    (?)femoral nerve block with (?)surgeon Dr Getwell.”

    • tashword says:

      Your example is correct Helen – ‘an anaesthetist’ is a common noun so has a lower case and ‘surgeon’ is used as an adjective for Dr Getwell.

  • smart flying travel tips says:

    Really useful post – and all the answers to these comments, too! I started following your blog about a month ago and I like your honesty. Good example to emulate.

    • tashword says:

      Thanks for your kind words, and I hope you find my blog useful. I like to consider myself honest and I am flatterd you think I should be copied.

  • Nigel says:

    Interesting blog. I have a proposed screenshot for a application that says

    …. on 1234356 (Australia) , 12344321 (New Zealand) or +612345678 (international).

    It seems to me that “international” should be “International” – but I am not sure ?

    • tashword says:

      Sorry to not reply sooner Nigel, but thank you for your post.

      It is an interesting question and I agree that International looks better in this situation than international given the other describers start with a capital letter. There really is no need for it to be a capital, however.

      I think this is one of those times when what is right and what looks right are not the same, and either would be acceptable as long as you stay consistent.

  • Kaveri says:

    Hi,

    When talking of ‘marriage’ as an institution should it written with a capital M or just the normal small case? For example, Many couples are treating marriage as an experiment today. Should it be Marriage?

    Thanks.

  • Jonathan says:

    Dear sir,
    Could please to tell me blew the sentance where wrong?
    I hope dad will not be too sad.

    • tashword says:

      Hi Jonathon – I’m not a sir and using my name (Tash) is just fine 🙂

      Any proper noun (which includes names like Dad) need to have a capital letter so your sentence should be ‘I hope Dad will not be too sad.’

      • Carolyn says:

        Hi Tashword. Just love this site. I write a lot of blogs and articles and my husband is a grammar and punctuation Nazi who often pulls me up on things such as capital letters, and inverted commas usage.

        The random comments you are receiving are infact spam. i.e. Jonathon, smart flying travel tips: I get them all the time on my blog. You should delete them.

        Could you please help me. I am writing an article about mentoring. Should the mentoree and the mentor, be lower case or upper case? In a piece talking about a specific mentor story, should the mentor still be lower case or would it be upper? i.e. the Mentor OR The Mentor or the mentor?
        Thanks so much for your feedback. Great job!

      • tashword says:

        Hi Carolyn, and thank you for commenting with so many nice things 🙂

        I do recognise spam – 100s get deleted form here weekly, but as Jonathon asked a relevant quetsion without addig any links I gave him the benefit of the doubt because my answer may help others anyway.

        I would just use mentor and mentoree as you are writing about general terms rather than proper nouns – even if you are writing something like “John’s mentor suggested he start a blog”. Mentor usually refers to Odysseus’ friend which is where the word mentor (as we know it) originated.

  • Pingback: What is title case?

  • This is very useful. Some times means while chatting with the friends we don’t taken care of the word format that means actually we have to start with capital letters this is the actual procedure.. This capital letter where to use is important..
    ——————–
    Arrow

  • Rachael says:

    A school that caters for indigenous students and asylum seekers or ‘Indigenous students and asylum seekers.’

    Nice website

    • tashword says:

      When writing about the group of people known as Indigenous Australians, a capital I is used. So it is ‘a school for Indigenous students’.

      The same word used in a more generic way (e.g. ‘Different countries treat their indigenous people with varying degrees of respect’) would have a lower case i.

      Thanks for your comment, Rachael 🙂 And apologies I missed it and took so long to reply.

  • Tracy says:

    Amazing blog! Do you have any helpful hints for aspiring writers? I’m hoping to start my own business but don’t know where to start – do I need a website or just a blog? Do I need to know as much as you do – you give so much grammar, writing and marketing stuff in this blog is it amazing!

    • tashword says:

      Thanks for those lovely words, Tracy.

      To answer your questions, yes you need a website – all businesses do now days but especially a writer so you can showcase your skills and knowledge. A blog is a website really, and a website can be powered by a blog so the difference is blurry. The ideal for any business will depend on your budget, technical skills and intentions for the site. As a writer, a blog is a great way to demonstrate you can write.

      If you don’t know much about writing, grammar, communications and good English, then why should anyone pay you to write for them? A professional writer must have a certain level of knowledge but whether my level is ideal I can’t say – it works for me and my clients.

      AMongst my communcaitins services, I do offer advice on setting up business communications and I coach new writers/business people. So if you would like personalised answers, Tracy, please get in touch directly.

  • Simon Murphy says:

    I work in retail and often email customers who require information. With regards to capital letters if i was writing “We stock Kingsmill Bread.”, is this the correct format or should bread be in lowercase?

    • tashword says:

      hi Simon.

      If the product name is Kingsmill Bread then both words may well be capitalised but if the brand if Kingsmill and their product is bread, you would write Kingsmill bread.

      If you write similar emails to customers all the time, have you thought of making some standard emails to save yourself time?

  • Rachel says:

    Hi Tash,

    I am really confused about using capital letters on websites. I have had a look at http://www.wordconstructions.com.au/index.php and find that Contact Us has caps and Who we are is in sentence case. I click through to Articles and see a mix of caps and non caps in the titles of articles.

    I am creating a website and newsletter at the moment and would love to know your thoughts about which way to go.

    Thanks

    • tashword says:

      Hi Rachel. The use of capitals in headings (on a website or anywhere else) is up to the relevant style guide or owner choice. So if you are setting up a new site you can choose the system you prefer.

      Personally I prefer the modern approach of minimalist capitalisation – using capitals where grammatically necessary but not otherwise. Meaning headings are in sentence case. Some brands go further and use lower case for many things although I find that sometimes complicates what to do in general content.

      As for my site, it is in the gradual process of being updated so not everything is consistent despite m best intentions but I’m getting there…

  • Pingback: Style Sheets

  • Leila says:

    Hi Tash, can you please advise if the word ‘national’ requires a capital N, for example, ‘X is a British National’?

    • tashword says:

      hi Leila,

      national would only need a capital letter if it was part of a title (e.g. The National Museum or the Association of National Historians) – otherwise it is a common noun (or adjective depending on the use).

  • Pingback: Writing is a skill

  • Pingback: The grammar of blog headings

  • Brad... says:

    Can you help me with my caps issue please. The following was taken from my book, have I got this right or not? Thanks.

    “Yes, my Liege,” Gemmel bowed compliantly.
    “We will decide on our course of action when my best Knights are present. You’ll see these people safely here, you understand. Here they will have refuge and sanctuary until such time as they can be resettled elsewhere,” he said, now stabbing at the ground with his finger.
    “Yes, my Lord, I will do as you ask.” Gemmel bowed again.
    “Feel welcome among my courts, Sir Elf. I will send someone to collect you when it is time for us to gather. Where might we find you?”
    “If I may, Sire, I wish to be by my horse’s side.”
    “The stables, then? It is well. I will send for you when you are required. Agreed?”
    “Agreed, Sire,” Gemmel bowed once more, “I am truly honoured.”
    “Yes, yes, be gone.” The King gruffly dismissed him, wanting to be alone with his thoughts.

    • tashword says:

      Hi Brad,

      liege and knights would both be lower case – pronouns after a possessive don’t get capitals (e.g. ‘My mum called me for dinner’) and knights is a common noun (just like ‘All my books are on the shelf’).

      You also need to ensure punctuation before closing quotation marks is correct for where you are (the rules vary a bit between different countries). In Australia, we would write “I will do as you ask,” Gemmel bowed again.

  • Brad... says:

    Which is correct? The English and the French, or The english and the french. In regards to caps? Thank you.

    • tashword says:

      Countries and languages are always given a capital letter, as are words based on those terms so correct examples are:
      The English people are voting today
      The French eat camembert
      All Australian writers are brilliant
      Vindaloo is an Indian curry

  • ines says:

    Do you ever capitalise the pronoun ‘you’ in the middle of the sentence? In Polish we often to do so when we address someone personally. It’s an indication of respect. For example, “I thought You might be able to answer my question”. Thanks! 🙂

    • tashword says:

      Hi Ines.

      I understand your logic there but in English we don’t capitalise ‘you’ (or he, she, or they) at any time except at the start of a sentence.

  • Diane says:

    HI I’m inquiring as to whether the word indigenous requires a capital letter when used in a sentence. the word is used in the following sentence.

    Depictions of the typical Australian do not typically extend to represent groups including indigenous Australians or women.

    Regards Diane

    • tashword says:

      Indigenous Australians is always written with capital I and A, and we use the capital whenever we are referring to the Indigenous of Australia. However, we use lower case i for more generic uses of the word.

      So in your example, Diane, it would ‘Indigenous Australians or women’.

  • Robin says:

    Do I use Capital letters for “Him” or “Friend”?

  • Robert says:

    When writing a school report do you use a capital for term when it is followed by a digit eg Term 1 and all other times leave it with a lower case t?

    • tashword says:

      If using it within a sentence, I would use lower case “My birthday is in term 1”.

      If using it as part of a name, I would also use lower case, althought the first word would have a capital “the Winter term also feels twice as long as the Summer terms!”

      However, if you are starting a sentence or using it as a tite, it would be capitalised “Term 1 results will be posted next week”.

  • Anthony says:

    Hi,

    Confused with capital letters. See sentence below:

    The Inner Child of a person…. Do I use capitals when naming something? Or should it read: The inner child of a person….

    I am naming the Inner Child as an aspect of the individual. Got two conflicting responses from teachers one said capitals and the other said no capitals? I am confused.

    Hope you can assist

    Cheers
    Anthony

    • tashword says:

      Hi Anthony,

      the general rule is to use capitals for proper nouns, the names of specific things. Some people probably consider teh inner child to be significant and important enought to need capital letters. However, it isn’t about importance but whether or not it is a proper noun.

      Your inner child, your personality, your arm, your sense of humour and your brain are all aspects of you and none of them needs capital letters.

      I just hope the disagreeing teacher isn’t marking your work!

  • Pingback: Why do small businesses start?

  • carly says:

    Hi there, please can you help me? I have put inverted commas around the words I think need a capital letter but I am not 100% My short paragraph is …

    There are many different acting styles of ‘Drama’ and many approaches, for example; ‘Applied Drama’, ‘Absurdism’, ‘Epic Theatre’, ‘Forum Theatre’, ‘Comedies’, ‘Tragedies’ and many more all fall into this category . There are also a variety of ‘Community’ ‘Theatre’s’ such as; ‘Remembrance Theatre’, ‘Puppet Theatre’, ‘Theatre and Disability’ and Theatre for Young People’.

    Have I got this right? Your help will be much appreciated.

    • tashword says:

      Hi Carly,

      If it is just a word in a sentence it doesn’t need a capital letter so there are many types of drama and community theatres.

      However, if we are discussing the name of something, such as a school subject (I am studying Applied Maths next year) we use a capital letter.

      I am not a drama expert but my understanding is that they are not proper nouns so would not have capital letters – for example, I would write about comedy, tragedy and melodrama, puppet theatre and classical theatre.

      So overall, I would use lower case letters for everything except ‘There’ in your paragraph.

  • Will's will says:

    Hi there. Interesting article and I’ve enjoyed reading the responses and answers. I’m on a quest to find out if “making your Will” should be a capital W or lower case W for the word ‘will’. I’m finding a lot of conflicting answers.

    • tashword says:

      Hi Will 🙂

      For someone’s name, it is always Will; for someone’s desire (‘where there’s a will there’s a way’), it is always lower case.

      Specifically, though, a last will and testament is written with both because many people have the idea that using a capital letter adds importance, and a will is a pretty important document. At the top of the page, most wills will have a title of “Last Will and Testament” so again it gives the impression that a capital letter should be used.

      Lawyers may have their own opinions (legalese is high on the ‘capital letter for importance scale) but a will is like any other common noun so it does not need a capital letter. “I wrote my will and I wrote my books after I wrote a letter.”

  • Leanne says:

    This site has helped a lot with my new job editing reports for insurance companies.

    I am confused with respect to the names of documents and forms ie: police report or Police Report, consent to interview form or rental agreement. Also Police Officer, Police Station if not referring to a specific officer or station.

    • tashword says:

      Hi Leanne, I’m glad my blog has been helping you – and congratulations on your new job!

      Names of documents is a tricky area – not because it isn’t clear how to do it but because people have different expectations – it comes back to some people thinking ‘this is important so needs a capital letter’ which is not a correct premise.

      The title of a document may be written in title or sentence case – with sentence case being the more accepted modern option.

      When referring to a type of document (eg “Put all the police reports in this folder”) capital letters are not required.

      Police station and police officer used non-specifically also don’t need capital letters (except to start a sentence as I have done here!)

      If you are writing a letter along the lines of ‘dear client please fill in these forms to complete your claim’ you will probably use the actual name of a document. In this case, I would indicate it is a title by italics (or quotation marks) and generally use lower case letters except for proper nouns (the other option would be to mimic the capitals on the form itself). However, this is where a company style guide should be referred to in case they have a specific way of doing this.

      So I personally would write it as “dear client, please complete the consent to interview form and rental agreement so we can finalise your claim.”

  • Pingback: Simplify your content

  • Karey says:

    If I am drafting a document regarding the San Juan Hospital Board of Trustees and I refer to this specific board in short by calling it “the board” would I capitalize “board” because “San Juan Hospital” is implied before the word “board” and “of Trustees” is implied after the word “board”, implying “Board” is a shortened version of the proper noun San Juan Hospital Board of Trustees? For Example- is this correct? The San Juan Hospital Board of Trustees wishes to thank you for your committment. Futhermore, the Board and administrative staff are honored to serve the San Juan community.

    Thanks for your help. I’m addicted to your Q&A!

    • Tash Hughes says:

      Hi Karey, thanks for commenting – and I’m grinning at you being addicted to this Q&A 🙂

      To break it down, yes you use capitals for San Juan Hospital Board as it is a specific name (or proper noun).

      San Juan being a place is always written with capitals for each word.

      Hospital and board are lower case unless they are with another part of a title (or start a sentence like I just did!) Although the title may be implied, it is not being used so the capital letters are not required.

      Parts of the title together can also have capitals. So I can write about the Hospital Board or the San Juan Board, but would go on to write about the board meeting last week. Or to use your example, ‘Furthermore, the board and administrative staff…’

      Another example is the Department of Silly Walks – when abbreviated it can be used as “according to Silly Walks”, “a memo from the department” or “I work in the Silly Department”.

      ** However, you may find some people get touchy about this and may insist of being called the Board or a Trustee as a sign of respect, despite the rules of grammar.

  • Gilli says:

    I’m at a loss writing a report. The health service loves to use capitals! Documents tend to be littered with them.

    In the document I am reviewing rather than continue to refer to ‘community health centres’ throughout the report ( a bit long-winded) I want to refer to ‘centres’ or the ‘the centre’. Should this be spelt with a capital throughout the document, although it is not referring to a specific community health centre, but is referring to the specifics of planning community health centres?

    • Tash Hughes says:

      Hi Gilli, and welcome 🙂

      Grammatically, it is definitely community centres, health centres, centres and the centre. Compared to the Melbourne Community Health Centre which is a proper noun so has capitals.

      Unfortunately, there are people who think adding a capital adds importance so they use capital letters too liberally – which generally ends up making the thing harder to read and everything less important from overuse!

      I hope that helps with your report 🙂

  • Philipo Insalaco says:

    I just discovered this great site. I think I’m addicted to CAPS. Reading your blog has enlightened me. Thank you.

  • Philipo Insalaco says:

    I am having some difficulty with not capping. As in:

    President Obama and the first lady attended congress with several congressmen and senators. The president also met with republican party members and the king visiting from Norway.

    I want to cap: First Lady, Congress, Congressmen, Senators, the President, Republican Party, and King. Is the sentence above correct with lowercase?

    • Tash Hughes says:

      What a lot of capitals that would be, Philipo 🙂

      ‘several congressmen and senators’ is talking about a group, like several students and children, so certainly no capitals requried.

      Used as a title, president and first lady need capitals letters so we write King Harald, President Obama and First Lady Obama or even President Obama and the First Lady. More generic generally use does not need a capital, such as ‘our president likes chocolate’ or ‘this car spot is reserved for the president’. However, for a current head of state (like President Obama, Prime Minister Gillard, Queen Elizabeth) the capital remains in all uses.

      In the use above, congress is a lower case – it gets a capital if part of a title (eg The Congress Library).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge