Resources for Capitalization, Italicization, Hyphenation, & Quotation Technique

Capitalize the Following:

1.  Personal names

Examples:  Mr. Ezell, Bruce Springsteen, Jada Pinkett-Smith, Shaquille O'Neal, Brandy

2.  The first word and all major words of a title (work of art, book, movie, awards, etc.)

Examples:  The Baptism, The Hand I Fan With, Gone with the Wind, A Time to Kill, Nobel Peace Prize

3.  States, countries, and continents

Examples:  Minnesota, Sierra Leone, Australia, San Francisco, Fulton County

4.  Abbreviations, initialisms, and certain acronyms

Examples:  Ph.D. or PhD, NFL, ERA, CPA, NOW, NASA, CEO

5.  Races, nationalities, and species

Examples:  Native American, black or Black, Indian, Caucasian, Homo sapien, Italian, Haitian

6.  Proper nouns (Proper nouns are specific, whereas common nouns [school, boulevard, university, etc.] are not specific.)

Examples:  Washington High School, Hollywood Boulevard, Dartmouth College, Tennessee State University

7.  Titles when they precede or follow proper names

Examples:  Ms. Bonnie Jones, Supervisor of Elections; Dr. Percy Goodman, Internist; Representative Buzz Ritchie; Carol Moseley Braun, U.S. Senator; Sheriff Jim Lowman; Professor Harry Stopp; Attorney Cheryl Howard; Anne McDowell, Director of Admissions

NOTE: Do not capitalize a professional title that does not accompany a name.

Examples:  sheriff, city councilman, director, physics professor, systems analyst, sales associate, administrative assistant, manager, accountant, judge

8.  Nicknames and stage names

Examples:  "Magic" Johnson, "Hammerin'" Hank Aaron, "Awesome Dawesome," Madonna, Boyz II Men, General Daniel "Chappie" James, the Dream Team

9.  The first word of a direct quotation

Example:  Attorney Cochran said to the jurors, "If it doesn't fit, you must acquit!"

10.  Trade names

Examples:  Realtor, Dictaphone, Ford truck, Styrofoam cup, Nike, Pay Day

11.  Titles which denote high rank

Example:  He is the President of the United States.

NOTE: Do not capitalize president in the following sentence:

He is president of the freshman class.

12.  Religions and religious terms

Examples:  Catholicism, Hinduism, Buddha, the Bible, Christian, the Ten Commandments, Baptist church, Mt. Zion Methodist Church

NOTE: Do not capitalize the following:

church, communion, atheist, agnostic, spirituality

13.  Compass directions only when they refer to regions

Example:  I live in the South, but I don't have a Southern accent.

NOTE: Do not capitalize general compass directions.

Example:  I live south of here.

14.  Political, social, athletic, and other groups

Examples:  Atlanta Braves, the Super Bowl, U.S. Olympics Gymnastics Team, NWBA (National Women's Basketball Association), the Dream Team, the Links Incorporated, League of Women Voters, Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity

15.  God in references to the one God of all monotheistic religions, but do not capitalize god in references to religions that recognize more than one god.

Examples:  Christians believe in God.  Thor is the Norse god of thunder.

16.  Specific courses

Examples:  Chemistry I, English Composition II, American History I, Student Life Skills, Black Women Writers, Professional Writing, College Algebra 1101

NOTE: Do not capitalize general names of courses.

Examples:  mathematics, biology, home economics, physical education, history

17.  Proper names used in other contexts

Examples:  brown Betty, oysters Rockefeller, German shepherd

NOTE: Do not capitalize tuxedo, rottweiler puppy, or leotards.

18.  Time periods, holidays, and events

Examples:  The Greek Age, the Renaissance, Presidents' Day, Election Day

NOTE: Do not capitalize seasons (winter, spring, summer, or fall) or academic classifications (freshman, sophomore, junior, or senior).