Language Lessons: Capitalization

The season of fall seems like a nice time to review the rules of capitalization.

Rule #1: NAMES OF SEASONS ARE NOT CAPITALIZED!

Sorry! I didn’t mean to yell, but society has prompted me to provide a few pointers on the proper use of capitalization.

According to Hodges’ Harbrace Handbook, general rules of capitalization include proper names; the first and all important words in titles; the first letter of a sentence; and names of computer keys, menu items, and icon names.

Like the comma, capital letters can be overused. In today’s social media lingo, capital letters can be misconstrued as conveying anger, excitement, or a myriad of emotions.

Therefore, I advise setting a good example and trying to avoid using a capital letter unless the rules of grammar call for it.

Although e. e. cummings took poetic license to use unconventional rules of capitalization and punctuation, James Patterson once advised that we should know the rules before we break them.

Click below for a downloadable pdf of mistakes to avoid. Use this as a refresher course of any rules you may have forgotten. I am also providing a worksheet with answer key if you wish to use it for personal practice or for homeschooling help. (Both Hodges Harbrace Handbook and Warriner’s English Grammar and Composition were consulted for examples.)

“I’m a big believer in random capitalization. The rules of capitalization are so unfair to words in the middle.”–John Green

Galatians 6:11