• Capital letters in English are used to show the importance of particular words.
• They are always used for proper nouns (people’s names) ; at the start of sentences ; and for places and events of a public nature.
- He entered the room, accompanied by the actress Christine Bowman.
- John wrote a letter to the Bishop of Chester.
- We will visit Sherwood Forest at Easter this year.
• Capital letters are always placed at the beginning of a sentence.
•They are also used to indicate names and titles, as well as holidays and well-known public places.
• Don’t use continuous capitals in titles and headings. It looks unsightly.
• Capitals are used to denote the names of particular or special things.
|days of the week||Wednesday, Friday|
|rivers||the river Mersey|
|buildings||the Tate Gallery|
|institutions||the Catholic Church|
|organisations||the National Trust|
|months of the year||April, September|
• However, when such terms are used as adjectives or in a general sense, no capital is required:
the King James Bible but a biblical reference
Manchester University but a university education
the present Government but governments since 1967
• Capitals are used when describing intellectual movements or periods of history:
|Cartesian||the Middle Ages|
|the Reformation||The Enlightenment|
• They are also used in the titles of books, plays, films, newspapers, magazines, songs, and works of art in general.
• The normal convention is to capitalise the first word and any nouns or important terms. Smaller words such as ‘and’, ‘of’, and ‘the’ are left uncapitalised:
A View from the Bridge
The Mayor of Casterbridge
North by Northwest
The Marriage of Figaro
• Notice the difference between the same term used in a general and a particular sense:
The children’s Uncle Fred is seventy.
Their uncle is the oldest in the family.
Self-assessment quiz follows …
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