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This article is about capitalization in written language. For another meaning, see market capitalization.

For capitalization guidelines on Wikipedia, see Wikipedia:Manual of Style (capital letters).

For any word written in a language whose alphabet has distinct cases (such as the Latin, Greek, or Cyrillic alphabets), capitalization (or capitalisation) is the writing of a word with its first letter as a majuscule (upper case letter) and the remaining letters in minuscules (lower case letters). This is distinct from all caps and small caps, where a word is written entirely in uppercase.
Capitalized words may also be said to be in title case, since traditionally most words in titles of books, films, etc. are capitalized. In Unicode, a few letters have a separate title case form, where the Unicode character for the first letter of a capitalized word differs depending on whether the whole word is in upper case or just the initial letter (see Croatian and polytonic Greek below).


* 1 What to capitalize

o 1.1 Pronouns

o 1.2 Nouns

o 1.3 Adjectives

o 1.4 Others

* 2 How to capitalize

o 2.1 Headings and publication titles

o 2.2 Compound names

o 2.3 Accents

o 2.4 Digraphs and ligatures

o 2.5 Initial mutation

* 3 Online use

* 4 See also

* 5 References

* 6 External links
[edit] What to capitalize
Capitalization custom varies with language. The full rules of capitalization for English are complicated. The rules have also changed over time, generally to capitalize fewer terms; to the modern reader, an 18th century document seems to use initial capitals excessively. It is an important function of English style guides to describe the complete current rules, although there is some variation from one guide to another.
[edit] Pronouns
* In English, the nominative form of the singular first-person pronoun, I, is capitalized, along with all its contractions (I'll, I'm, etc).

* Many European languages capitalize nouns and pronouns used to refer to God: Hallowed be Thy name. Some English authors capitalize any word referring to God: the Lamb, the Almighty.

* Some languages capitalize the formal second-person pronoun. German Sie is capitalized along with all its declensions (Ihre, Ihres, etc.), the informal pronoun Du (and its derivatives, such as Dein) may also be capitalized in letters. Italian also capitalizes its formal pronouns, Lei and Loro, and their cases (even within words, eg arrivederLa "good bye", formal). This is occasionally likewise done for the Dutch U. In Spanish, the abbreviation of the pronoun usted, Ud. or Vd., is usually written with a capital. Similarly, in Russian the formal second-person pronoun Вы with its cases Ваш, Вашего etc. is capitalized, but only when addressing someone personally (usually in personal correspondence).

* In Danish, the plural second-person pronoun, I, is capitalized, but its other forms jer and jeres are not. This distinguishes it from the preposition i ("in").

* In formally written Polish (the same rules apply also in Czech and Slovak), most notably in letters and e-mails, all pronouns referring to the addressee are capitalized. This includes not only ty (you) and all its declensions (twój, ciebie etc.), but also any plural pronouns encompassing the addressee, such as wy (plural you), including declensions. This principle extends to nouns used in formal third person (when used to address the letter addressee), such as Pan (sir) and Pani (madame) [citation needed].
* In German, all nouns and noun-like words are capitalized. This was also the practice in Danish before a spelling reform in 1948. It was also done in 18th Century English (as with Gulliver's Travels).

* In nearly all European languages, single-word proper nouns (including personal names) are capitalized, e.g., France, Moses. Multiple-word proper nouns usually follow rules like the traditional English rules for publication titles (see below), e.g., Robert the Bruce.

o Where placenames are preceded by the definite article, this is usually lowercased, as in the Sudan, the Philippines.

+ Sometimes the article is integral to the name, and so capitalized, as in Den Haag, Le Havre. However, in French this does not occur for contractions du and au, as in "Je viens du Havre" ["I come from Le Havre"].

o A few English names may be written with two lowercase f's: ffrench, ffoulkes, etc. This ff fossilizes an older misreading of a blackletter uppercase F.

o Some individuals choose not to use capitals with their names, such as k.d. lang or bell hooks. E. E. Cummings, whose name is often spelt without capitals, did not spell his name so; the usage derives from the typography used on the cover of one of his books.[1]

o Most brand names and trademarks are capitalized (e.g., Coca-Cola, Pepsi) although some have chosen to deviate from standard rules (e.g., easyJet, id Software, eBay, iPod) to be distinctive.

* In English, the names of days of the week, months and languages are capitalized, as are demonyms like Englishman, Arab. In other languages, practice varies[1].

* Capitalization is always used for most names of taxa used in scientific classification of living things, except for species-level taxa or below. Example: Homo sapiens sapiens.

* A more controversial practice followed by some authors, though few if any style guides, treats the common names of some animal and plant species as proper nouns, and uses initial majuscules for them (e.g., Peregrine Falcon, Red Pine), while not capitalizing others (e.g., horse or person). This is most common for birds and fishes. Botanists generally reject the practice of capitalizing the common names of plants, though individual words of plant names may be capitalized by another rule (e.g., Italian stone pine). See the discussion of official common names under common name for an explanation.

* Common nouns may be capitalized when used as names for the entire class of such things, e.g. what a piece of work is Man. French often capitalizes such nouns as l'État (the state) and l'Église (the church) when not referring to specific ones.

* The names of gods are capitalized, including Allah, Vishnu, and God. The word god is generally not capitalized if it is used to refer to the generic idea of a deity, nor is it capitalized when it refers to multiple gods, e.g., Roman gods. There may be some confusion because the Judeo-Christian god is not referred to by a specific name, but simply as God. Other names for the Judeo-Christian god, such as Elohim and Lord, are also capitalized.

* While acronyms have historically been written in all-caps, modern usage is moving towards capitalization in some cases (as well as proper nouns like Unesco).

[edit] Adjectives
* In English, adjectives derived from proper nouns (except the names of characters in fictional works) usually retain their capitalization – e.g. a Christian church, Canadian whisky, a Shakespearian sonnet, but a quixotic mission, malapropism, holmesian and pecksniffian. Where the original capital is no longer at the beginning of the word, usage varies: anti-Christian, but Presocratic or Pre-Socratic or presocratic (not preSocratic)

* Such adjectives do not receive capitals in German (sokratisch, präsokratisch), French (socratique, présocratique) or Polish (sokratejski, presokratejski). In German, if the adjective becomes a noun by using an article or numeral in front of it (das Bunte (the colorful), eine Schöne (a beautiful)), it receives capitals. Same applies to verbs (das Laufen (the running), ein Spazierengehen (one / a walking)).

* Adjectives referring to nationality or ethnicity are not capitalized in French, even though nouns are: un navire canadien, a Canadian ship; un Canadien, a Canadian. Both nouns and adjectives are capitalized in English.
[edit] Others
Other uses of capitalization include:
* In most modern languages, the first word in a sentence is capitalized, as is the first word in any quoted sentence.

o In Ancient Greek they are not.

o For some terms a capital as first letter is avoided by avoiding their use at the beginning of a sentence, or by writing it in lowercase even at the beginning of a sentence. E.g., pH looks unfamiliar written PH, and m and M may even have different meanings, milli and mega.

o In Dutch, ’t, d’, or ’s in names or sayings are never capitalized, even at the start of sentences. (See Compound names below).

* Most English honorifics and titles of persons, e.g. Doctor Watson, Mrs Jones, His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh.

o This does not apply where the words are not titles; e.g. Watson is a doctor, Philip is a duke.

* Traditionally, the first word of each line in a piece of verse, e.g.:

Meanwhile the winged Heralds, by command

Of sovereign power, with awful ceremony

And trumpet's sound, throughout the host proclaim

A solemn council forthwith to be held

At Pandemonium, the high capital

Of Satan and his peers. […] (Milton, Paradise Lost I:752–756)

o Modern poets often ignore or defy this convention.

* The English vocative particle O, an archaic form of address, e.g. Thou, O king, art a king of kings.
In English, there even are few words whose meaning (and, sometimes, pronunciation) varies with capitalization. See: List of case sensitive English words.
[edit] How to capitalize
[edit] Headings and publication titles

The Times of India front-page house style emphasizes main headlines through boldface and sub headlines through capitalization of all words. For the title, it uses both all-uppercase letters and boldface.

The Times of India front-page house style emphasizes main headlines through boldface and sub headlines through capitalization of all words. For the title, it uses both all-uppercase letters and boldface.
In English-language publications, different conventions are used for capitalizing words in publication titles and headlines, including chapter and section headings. The exact rules differ between individual house styles. The main examples are (from most to least capitals used):

all-uppercase letters

The Vitamins Are In My Fresh Brussels Sprouts

capitalization of all words ("Title Case"), regardless of the part of speech

The Vitamins Are in My Fresh Brussels Sprouts

capitalization of all words, except for internal articles, prepositions and conjunctions

The Vitamins are in My Fresh Brussels Sprouts

capitalization of all words, except for internal articles, prepositions, conjunctions and forms of to be

The Vitamins are in my Fresh Brussels Sprouts

capitalization of all words, except for internal closed-class words

The Vitamins are in my fresh Brussels Sprouts

capitalization of all nouns

The vitamins are in my fresh Brussels sprouts

sentence-style capitalization (sentence case), only the first word and proper nouns are capitalized

the vitamins are in my fresh Brussels sprouts

capitalization of proper nouns only

the vitamins are in my fresh brussels sprouts

all-lowercase letters

Among U.S. publishers, it is a common typographic practice to capitalize additional words in titles. This is an old form of emphasis, similar to the more modern practice of using a larger or boldface font for titles. Most capitalize all words except for internal closed-class words, or internal articles, prepositions and conjunctions. Some capitalize longer prepositions such as "between", but not shorter ones. Some capitalize only nouns, others capitalize all words.
The convention followed by many British publishers (particularly scientific publishers, like Nature and New Scientist, and newspapers, like The Guardian and The Times) is the same used in other languages (e.g. French), namely to use sentence-style capitalization in titles and headlines, where capitalization follows the same rules that apply for sentences. This is also widely used in the U.S., especially in bibliographic references and library catalogues. This convention is also used in the International Organization for Standardization and Wikipedia house styles.
One of the very few British style guides that do actually mention a form of title case is R.M. Ritter's "Oxford Manual of Style" (2002), which suggests capitalising "the first word and all nouns, pronouns, adjectives, verbs and adverbs, but generally not articles, conjunctions and short prepositions".[2]
Book titles are often emphasized on cover and title pages through the use of all-uppercase letters. Both British and U.S. publishers use this convention.
In creative typography, such as music record covers and other artistic material, all styles are commonly encountered, including all-lowercase letters.
[edit] Compound names
* In Dutch, ’t, d’, or ’s in names or sayings are never capitalized, even at the start of sentences. They are short for the articles het and de (or the old possessive form des). Examples: ’s Gravenhage (from des Graven Hage), d’Eendracht (from de Eendracht), ’t Theehuis (from het Theehuis).

* In Dutch (though not Flemish), the particle "van" in a surname is not capitalized if a forename or initial precedes it. So

o "Onder de Franse zuiderzon maakt Vincent van Gogh zijn meest ophefmakende werken." without the forename Vincent would be

o "Onder de Franse zuiderzon maakt Van Gogh zijn meest ophefmakende werken."

* In English, practice varies when the name starts with a particle with a meaning such as "from" or "the" or "son of".

o Some of these particles (Mac, Mc, M, O) are always capitalized; others (L, Van) are usually capitalized; still others often are not (d', de, di, von). The compound particle de La is usually written with the 'L' capitalized but not the 'd'. [2]

o The remaining part of such a name, following the particle, is always capitalized if it is set off with a space as a separate word, or if the particle was not capitalized. It is normally capitalized if the particle is Mc, M, or O. In other cases (including Mac), there is no set rule.
[edit] Accents
In most languages which use diacritics, these are treated the same way in uppercase whether the text is capitalized or all-uppercase. They may be always preserved (as in German) or always omitted (as, often, in French and Spanish, though this was due to the fact that diacritics on capital letters were not available earlier on typewriters and is now an uncommon practice).
* However, in the polytonic orthography used for Greek prior to 1982, accents were omitted in all-uppercase words, but kept as part of an uppercase initial (written before rather than above the letter). The latter situation is provided for by title-case characters in Unicode. When Greek is written with the present day monotonic orthography, where only the acute accent is used, the same rule is applied. The accent is omitted in all-uppercase words but it is kept as part of an uppercase initial (written before the letter rather than above it).
[edit] Digraphs and ligatures
Some languages treat certain digraphs as letters. In general, where one such is formed as a ligature, the corresponding uppercase form is used in capitalization; where it is written as two separate characters, only the first will be capitalized. Thus Oedipus or Œdipus are both correct, but OEdipus is not. Examples with ligature include Ærøskøbing in Danish, where Æ/æ is a letter rather than a merely typographic ligature; with separate characters include Llanelli in Welsh, where Ll is a single letter.
* An exception is the Dutch letter IJ. Originally a ligature (ij/IJ), both components are capitalized even though they are now usually printed separately, as in IJsselmeer. A less-used practice is the letter Y as an alternative to the ligature, e.g. Ysselmeer. This is still used in cursive writing and in inscriptions.

* A converse exception exists in the Croatian alphabet, where digraph letters (Dž, Lj, Nj) have mixed-case forms even when written as ligatures[3]. With typewriters and computers, these "title-case" forms have become less common than 2-character equivalents; nevertheless they can be represented as single title-case characters in Unicode (Dž, Lj, Nj).

[edit] Initial mutation
In languages where inflected forms of a word may have extra letters at the start, the capitalized letter may be the initial of the root form rather of than the inflected form. For example, Slievenamon is in Irish written Sliabh na mBan ("women's mountain", where mBan derives from Bean, "woman"), even though the B is in fact mute in the derived form.
[edit] Online use
Many online communities tolerate or encourage greater deviation from capitalization conventions than their members would use in non-electronic media. The most common variation is to use lowercase letters exclusively, often with the intention of conveying a relaxed, informal attitude. More extreme styles also exist, ranging all the way to seemingly random capitalization of each individual letter (see StUdLyCaPs).
[edit] See also
* Letter case

* Sentence case

* Bicapitalization (CamelCase)

* Orthography

* Internet capitalization conventions
[edit] References
1. ^ Capitalization rules for days, months, demonyms and language-names in many languages from Wikimedia

2. ^ a b Oxford Manual of Style, R. M. Ritter ed., Oxford University Press, 2002

3. ^ Vladimir Anić, Josip Silić: "Pravopisni priručnik hrvatskog ili srpskog jezika", Zagreb, 1986 (trans. Spelling handbook of Croato-Serbian language)
[edit] External links
* Capitalization Rules for Song Titles

* University of South Carolina - capitalization guide

* Rules for Capitalization

* Wikipedia:Capitalization#Capital_letters, capitalization in Wikipedia's Manual of Style

* Text::Capitalize, a Perl module for English capitalization

* Capitalization Rules

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