When do I capitalize TITLES for
people’s names?
Cap. titles and abbreviations for titles that
appear before and after people’s names:
Mrs. Barnhart
Dr. McKenna
Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.
When do I capitalize words such as
MOTHER, FATHER, AUNT, UNCLE, etc.?

Cap. words such as mother, father, aunt,
uncle, etc. when these words are used as
names or when they come just before a
name:
 Aunt Anna
 Uncle Steve
 “I’m coming, Mom.”
 “Dad, will you help me?”
When shouldn’t I capitalize words such as
MOTHER, FATHER, AUNT, UNCLE, etc.?

DO NOT capitalize words that name
family members if these words are
preceded by a possessive, such as your or
my, or by an article such as a or the.
 My aunt loves to ski.
 I love my mother.
 The father ran after his son.
Rules for RELIGIOUS WORDS

Cap. Words that name religions, sacred
beings, or religious scriptures. Also, cap.
Adjectives formed from those names:
 Allah
 Jehovah
 the Torah
 Islam
 Christian
 Buddhism
Rules for RACES/ ETHNIC
GROUPS

Cap. The names of races, ethnic groups,
languages, and nationalities. Also cap.
Adjectives formed from such names:
 Hispanic
 Colombian coffee
 African American
 French food
Rules for ORGANIZATIONS,
BUILDINGS, and STRUCTURES

Cap. all important words in the names
of organizations, institutions, buildings, and
structures:
 the Republican Party
 the American Red Cross
 Grand Central Station
 the Taj Mahal
 the Eiffel Tower
 the Great Wall of China
Rules for HISTORICAL EVENTS,
DOCUMENTS, and PERIODS OF
TIME

Cap. all important words in the names of
historical events, documents, and periods of
time:
 the Civil War
 the 1996 Summer Olympics
 the Declaration of Independence
 Gettysburg Address
 the Magna Carta
 the Renaissance
 the Ice Age
Rules for MONTHS, DAYS,
HOLIDAYS, and SEASONS

Cap. the names of months, days, and
holidays, but not the names of seasons:
 October
 Thursday
 Yom Kippur
 Labor Day
 winter
Rules for POETRY

Cap. the first word of each line of poetry:
 Roses are red,
 Violets are blue…
Rules for DIRECT QUOTATIONS

Cap. the first word of a direct quotation:
 Mr. Burns yelled, “Homer, you’re fired!”
Rule for INTERRUPTED
QUOTATIONS

Cap. interrupted quotations only when
the second part begins a new sentence:
 “Close your books,” said Mrs. Barnhart,
“and go to lunch.”
 “Remind me tomorrow,” said Sarah. “We
have to leave now.”
The 10 Rules for GEOGRAPHIC
NAMES
1. Cap. the names of cities and towns:
 Philadelphia
 Buckingham
 Doylestown
2. Cap. the names of counties and
townships:
 Bucks County
 Montgomery Township
The 10 Rules for GEOGRAPHIC
NAMES
3. Cap. the names of states:
 Pennsylvania
 Texas
 Maryland
4. Cap. the names of continents:
 Asia
 North America
5. Cap. the names of islands:
 Philippine Islands
 Staten Island
The 10 Rules for GEOGRAPHIC
NAMES
6.
Cap. the names of bodies of water:
 Lake Erie
 Delaware River
 Gulf of Mexico
7.
Cap. the names of sections of the country:
 the East Coast
 the Southwest
*NOTE: DO NOT cap. north, south, east, and west when merely
indicating direction:
 traveling east
 the north shore
The 10 Rules for GEOGRAPHIC
NAMES
8. Cap. the names of mountains:
 Black Hills
 Appalachian Mountains
 the Rockies
9. Cap. the names of streets:
 Elm Street
 Roosevelt Boulevard
 \West Third Street
The 10 Rules for GEOGRAPHIC
NAMES
10. Cap. the names of parks:
 Yellowstone National Park
 Pennypack Park
 Central Park

*NOTE: The COMPLETE NAME is capitalized.
Words like Street, Mountain, and River are cap.
because they are part of the proper name.
If these words are NOT part of a proper name,
they are not capitalized!
Compare:
 attending high school vs CB East High School
 in the street
vs. Main Street
Rules for SCHOOL SUBJECTS

DO NOT cap. the names of school subjects,
except course names followed by a number:
 Algebra I
 World Cultures II
 social studies
 math
*NOTE: Remember that the names of languages
are always capitalized:
 English
 Spanish
 Hebrew
Rules for PARTS OF A LETTER

Cap. all important/proper words in the
GREETING:
 Dear Dr. Jones
 Dear Sir or Madam

In the CLOSING, cap. only the first word:
 Yours truly
 Sincerely yours
ABBREVIATIONS

Cap. the abbreviations B.C., A.D., A.M., and
P.M.
 Homeroom begins at 7:30 A.M.
 Pompeii was buried by lava in A.D. 79.
Rules for TITLES

Cap. the first word and all important
words in titles of:
 Books—The Cay
 Newspapers—The Philadelphia Inquirer
 Plays—The Importance of Being Earnest
 T.V. Shows—The Brady Bunch
 Magazines—Vanity Fair
 Short Stories—“Seventh Grade”
 Songs—“With Arms Wide Open”
 Poems—“Pied Beauty”
Rules for TITLES
*NOTE: In the title, DO NOT capitalize
articles such as a, an, the; conjunctions such
as and, or, but, for; or prepositions such as on,
about, near, in, to, under, etc.

DO cap. articles, conjunctions, and
prepositions when they come at the
beginning of the title:
 “And Justice for All”
 “Under the Bridge”
 The Tin Man
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When do I capitalize TITLES for people’s names?