Majuscules and Minuscules – The Art of Using Capital Letters

WRITTEN November 30, 2017 Author: Rich Atkins

Using capital letters properly is a sign of respect for your audience and subject.

By not using, or misusing capital letters, your readers may think that you don’t know what’s correct (or even worse, don’t care). It may send a message to others that makes you look thoughtless. None of us would want that.

If you want to know when to use capital letters (majuscules) in writing, take a look at the guidelines below from Improving Communications.

Capitalize:

The first word in a sentence Use the materials sparingly.

Proper nouns (not common nouns) Stephen King (vs. writer) 

Names of cities, states, and countries Omaha / Nebraska / Ireland

Names of races, people, and languages Caucasian / French / Italian

Days, months, and holidays Tuesday / March / Independence Day

Words pertaining to the sacred God / Christ / Buddha / Allah

Important words in titles  “Let’s Groove” / Angela’s Ashes

Direction names (used as nouns) He lived out East. / The South is hot.

Words used as names Dad / Grandma The Boss

Titles referring to a specific person Doctor Jones (notthe doctor)

 

This may not seem like too many rules for using capital letters, but too often these simple guidelines are ignored. It is important to correctly use capital letters to show that you know what you are talking about, as well as informing your readers correctly on the topic. And be careful not to overuse capitals either. See the article link below about how capital letters can be seen as yelling!

“Capital idea, my boy! Capital idea!”

(The immortal words of Thurston Howell III)
Photo Courtesy: Northridge Alumni Bear Facts

 

 


This information is from our Business Writing curriculum. If you’re looking for ways to improve your communication skills, register for one of our public classes.

 


 

Other Resources:

 

How Capital Letters Became Internet Code for Yelling

Capital Letters: A Usage Guide

Why Does English Have Capital Letters?

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