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).