The Write Stuff
Fall 2006 Volume 2 Issue 4
A Capital Issue
Never fear, I won’t be expounding on our government (that would be capitol); as you regular readers know, I like to address issues in this newsletter that seem confusing to my clients. Thus, as we get ready to fall back, it seems appropriate to discuss capitalization, something we were all introduced to in elementary school.
Many people seem to think it’s appropriate to capitalize words to give them emphasis. I say think again. I spend plenty of time lowercasing words like “city,” “bank” and “company”; they should only be capitalized when they start sentences.
When else should you employ capitalization?
- For proper nouns (names, places, organizations and sometimes things), such as John Smith, Chicago, American Medical Association and Wrigley Field
- For family titles (when used as proper nouns), such as Aunt Adrienne
- For titles that precede names, such as Mayor John Smith
- For directions that serve as names, such as the Midwest
- For days, months and holidays
- For countries, nationalities and languages
- For members of national, political, racial, social and athletic groups, such as San Jose Sharks, Democrats and French
- For periods and events, such as the Stone Age
- For trademarks, such as Coca-Cola
I don’t have enough space to go into all the words that shouldn’t be capitalized, but using the list above should give you some hints. For instance, titles after names are not capitalized (John Smith, mayor). So, use that shift key sparingly, and by all means, stay away from caps lock!
Have a colorful fall…and be sure to let me know if I can be of assistance for writing or editing projects.